Partition Of India & Pakistan
Education News | Sep-03-2021
On 15th August 1947, India gained independence after years of destruction by the British. However, the cheers of victory were drowned by the cries of millions who forcefully traveled across the Radcliffe Line. More than a million people were killed and 14 million were displaced during one of the largest mass migrations in human history. The two countries were burning. Blood-laden trains would travel on tracks littered with bodies, drains were choked by corpses, and streets were lined up with ignited cars.
Women were the most vulnerable victims in this communal holocaust. More than 100,000 women were abducted. They were subjected to unbearable violence and brutality. Families killed their own daughters and wives in fear of what might happen to them if they were caught by the rioters. Many women committed suicide to protect their honor for instance the mass suicides in Thoa Khosla, Rawalpindi where 90 women jumped in the well to protect their prestige. Violence was perpetrated by men of opposite religious groups to threaten people of the rival community. This violence against women symbolizes that women were considered mere markers of Family, Community, or Nation pride.
After the riots subsided there was a flood of reports regarding missing family members especially women. This compelled the government on both sides to take immediate action and escort the survivors safely. However, the survivors had to go through another series of mental harassment by society. The purity and sanctity of the survivors were at stake, their children were looked at with the eyes of disgust as they were labeled illegal by the society, pregnant women had to go through abortion or give their children for adoption as they were considered results of "wrong" sexual unions. The Abducted Persons Act of 1949 is an example of the "Legal" injustice experienced by survivors of partition. This act gave the government power to remove the abducted persons from their respective countries and send them back home. While some women survivors were eager to go there were women who resented this decision simply in fear of rejection from their families and society.
The two nations are going to celebrate 75 years of independence and freedom in 2022. However, people on both sides who were subjected to these inhuman atrocities, continue to wait for justice which remains elusive. Besides the line of hatred which the partition created not only between the two communities but also between the two countries has created a permanent rift and distrust between the nations and the communities. For India, the day marks freedom from the destructive rule of the British, and for Pakistan, it marks the birth of their motherland, and thus the sufferings of the people during this tragic event is just a sacrifice for victory. For the survivors, ever since partition, the days have lost their brightness and the nights- “They are still dark”.
By: Ananya Jain
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