Millions of Indians flee their homes from India to a newly-formed Pakistan, or in the opposite direction.
In August 1947, around 12-15 million people fled their homes from one side of a new border within the former British colony of India to the other. The direction they took depended on their faith: Hindus and Sikhs came together and separated from Muslims.
What became known as partition gave birth to a new nation called Pakistan, conceived by a Muslim political party for India’s minority Islamic community. But it was fraught with problems from the moment the British hastily drew the borderline.
This took place as Britain, India’s imperial ruler, was handing back power to its colonies. The fight to gain independence for India was a tense yet tireless one for political leaders such as Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, Jawarharlal Nehru, who became India’s first prime minister, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who became the founder of Pakistan.
But how exactly was the British colony split into the nations of India and Pakistan? And what led to one of the most harrowing events of the 20th century? Here are some of the key events that led to one of global history’s most defining moments.
Seventy years have passed since India was divided and Pakistan was born. And tensions have persisted between the two nuclear powers, especially over the disputed region of Kashmir - a picturesque region in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges.
Four wars have been fought since 1947. The conflict in 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh, formerly known as East Pakistan, was the bloodiest of all, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives.
But there have been glimmers of hope. When he was elected in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made various attempts to strike a bond with his country’s neighbor. He invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration ceremony in 2014. And the following year, a surprise stopover made him the first Indian PM to visit Pakistan since 2004.
Partition was about enabling peace. But after seven decades, this goal is yet to be achieved.