Memories of Partition, from Our Readers

We asked The Juggernaut readers to share their family’s memories of Partition. These are their stories, in their words.

The Juggernaut Editorial Team

August 19, 2021

Memories of Partition, from Our Readers
Shawni’s grandmother Jyoti Bhattacharjee (center) with her sisters-in-law, who grew up in various parts of Sylhet (Shawni Bhattacharjee)

This year marked the 74th anniversary of the Indian Independence Act of 1947, which gave birth to two sovereign nations — India and Pakistan — and freed them from British rule. However, the act also spawned Partition, one of the biggest, and bloodiest, migrations in human history.

Partition divided the subcontinent into two independent nations: Pakistan, which was formed as a Muslim country, and India, a secular state. The British split the regions of Bengal and Punjab based on Muslim or non-Muslim majorities.

As many as 17 million people lost their homes as they migrated in opposite directions, Muslims to West and East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) and many Hindus and Sikhs moving from present-day Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh to today’s India. As many as 2 million may have died along the way.

The effects of Partition still linger today, across generations, and across countries. Partition has affected every family differently, and as the generation that survived the era ages, it’s becoming harder to preserve their stories.

We asked The Juggernaut readers and subscribers to share their family’s stories and memories of Partition. These are their stories, in their words.