August 14; streets bleed green and white and the voices echoes “Pakistan Zindabad”. August 15; the voices of “Jay Hind” confined the environment. In 1947, the trains carrying the immigrants across the line drawn by British bleed red and red. In the midst of such uncertainty, chaos and turmoil the voices of “Pakistan Zindabad” and “Jay Hind” reverberated.
Speaking to the first constituent Assembly on 11th of August of embryonic state the tiring Jinnah said “you are free to go to your mosques, temples or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan”. Whilst the counterpart Jawaharlal Nehru told the Nation “ on the stroke of midnight, we would awake to life and freedom”. The year of 1947 for the subcontinent is defined as the desire for freedom, and yet this freedom in itself was something largely undefined.
Right to life and liberty
This freedom was hazy. It was imagined. It didn’t know it’s own borders. This freedom wouldn’t have recognized itself in it’s own reflection. The partition of subcontinent is something to regret about, or more specifically to be mourned upon. Partition as an actuality in history as it happened, the way it did, is something to regret.
The focus of my argument is primarily historical. Consider, the borders that are still disputed in Kashmir with three wars fought over Kashmir in post partition scenario. Consider how the two countries become the pawns of America and USSR in the cold war. Consider, how we feel about the animosities that still played India and Pakistan.
Indo-Pak Partition: Last laugh of British imperialism
In May 1946, the cabinet mission proposed a complex plan to Congress and the Muslim league. In essence they presented a three tied federation Government. This plan was agreed to by both the parties. But idea and reality can often become desperate and partitioned in themselves. The cabinet mission’s highly complicated plan was ill translated to the rest of India, a humongous country. The supporters of Muslim league thought that they had lost their Pakistan altogether.
Rumors, confusion, uncertainty and chaos, which meant that this plan collapsed. The Pakistan, that was eventually delivered was not the Pakistan of dreams, that the Muslims had envisioned but rather it was a moth eaten version.
Jinnah had said that the partition of Punjab and Bengal will be sowing the seeds for future’s serious trouble. This word “Pakistan” was also a word of political muddiness, fallen to the hands of those who were fear mongered. The freedom that we associate with independence and partition was not on Indian owe and Pakistani terms, rather it was the last laugh of British imperialism, even as they were sweating and recovering from sun burn.
Terms of our freedom were predominantly dictated by the British
How can we perceive to freedom when the terms of this freedom were shoddy and predominantly dictated by the British who had coughed India in the first place? The British exhibited the last pastilan of India by leaving behind a situation which was largely out of control. Lord Wavell, the former viceroy of India said, “it is ambit Britain’s best interest to stand back before lightening the touch paper”.
Surely a handover of power, also implies the physical and practical implications of handover. Mountbatten himself, the last viceroy of India gave instructions that any remaining British Military units were only to be used in emergencies for the British, and not for internal conflicts or frontiers”.
The logistical and practical disaster of partition can’t be calculated. The region that was thirteen times bigger than that of UK was split apart in a matter of month. The partition was done in the absence of local government, a severe lack of personal, resources. The man who decided the new borders was Cyril Radcliffe
. A judge by profession, was no a judge when it came to deciding the fate of Nation.
Read more: ISPR narrates ‘Story of Pakistan’ in multi-episode series on YouTube
He had never been to India before. The statistics which he used to create the new map was sic years out of date. Cultural, political and local people were not accounted for. He didn’t account for the majority areas in India, that were hundred miles away from Pakistani border. This disorientation embodies the disaster that was the actuality of partition. The consequences were heavy.
They say human body feels heavier in death
Trains traveling from Indian Punjab to Lahore carried this unprecedented heaviness of death and bulk. Railway platforms were witness to human monstrosities. The line that was drawn on the map by Cyril Radcliffe was not a line drawn in ink. It was a line drawn in blood. Villages pillaged, women and children wrapped, violently murdered, blood running through streets like gutter water, lover’s torn apart, identities distorted and what not. This violence was not merciful to anyone, of any religion, caste, class, age or gender.
The author is a student at the history department, Quaid e Azam University Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.