August 14, 2023
At the midnight hour between August 14 and August 15 in 1947, the British partitioned the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. Pakistan at the time consisted of West Pakistan and East Pakistan, which later became independent Bangladesh in 1971. Pakistan celebrates its Independence Day on August 14 and India on August 15.
When the British granted India independence, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a British lawyer who had never been to the Indian subcontinent, drew the borders that divided the country along religious lines. The northwest and northeast went to Muslim-majority Pakistan. Secular India got the central and southern lands. Partition became the largest forced migration in history, with as many as 20 million relocating. The communal violence before, during, and after left millions dead. And thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands, remain missing or lost.
Today, we bring you a roundup of 15 of our stories on Partition and independence. Dive into our readers’ Partition memories, how a neon-green beverage became a national drink, Hollywood’s depiction of those fateful days in 1947, how much British colonization cost the subcontinent, and more.