Studying this map, it is pretty amazing to see how much progress India and to some degree Pakistan has made in the 69 years after partition. After 300 years, Britain finally left two independent nations of India and Pakistan in 1947. This division or partition of the sub-continent set off one of the greatest migration of humans in the history of the world and all based on religion. The Muslim people went to the east or to the west to divided Pakistan, and the;Hindus and Sikhs went in opposite directions.
The English were in a hurry to leave due to the financial difficulties they are in because of a huge debt from WWII. In their hurried exit, they left a mess in what was once called ” the jewel of the crown” of the English Empire. The map maker who drew up the new boundaries never even visited to see the culture and dynamics of the people he uprooted. Many repercussions are evident even today. To give a slightly more current example, think of the on-going problems in the Middle East with the boundaries drawn up by the West after WWI. We have lived, suffered, and fought with the aftermath of all these hastily drawn borders, even to this very day !
In 1947 in the subcontinent, 15, 000,000 souls were uprooted. 1-2 million died in transit. For Indians, it was their “Holocaust.” Sadly, Gandhi’s vision of a peaceful non-communal India didn’t survive. Instead two countries now remain , one based on religion, and the other secular. In place of one country where all the different religions and cultures had lived together for centuries, more or less peacefully, now cousins, friends, neighbors, and even brothers were turned into deadly, envious neighbors.
This film “Earth”, is about the city of Lahore, once a center of learning and sophistication that is turned into a place of hatred , distrust and anger. The characters in the film are Parsee, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh. . . . all friends or they used to be!
It is particularly sad, that after so many years ‘in country,’ the English had so little insight into the lives of the Indians. Or could it be that after all their enjoyment in the subcontinent and service from the Indian people, that the English just didn’t care?