In August 1947, a Ministry of Works carpenter unscrewed the plaque by the door on King Charles Street in London that read “India Office” and replaced it with one that said “Commonwealth Relations Office.” The jewel in Britain’s imperial crown had become independent India and Pakistan. The plaque was supposed to herald a new era of equality and friendship: a family of nations that had once been under British imperial rule but were now — with Britain’s belated blessing — moving into independence.
This family has had its ups and downs over the past 71 years, but the arrangement has been more or less maintained.… Seguir leyendo »
Seventy years ago this week, India and Pakistan became independent from the British Empire. The celebrations were cut short as the partition on religious lines ripped the subcontinent apart. Partition changed millions of lives, and the shape of the world, forever.
No one knows exactly how many were beaten, mutilated, tortured or raped in communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. The death toll has been estimated at 200,000 to two million. Between 10 million and 20 million people were displaced.
Who was to blame? Many in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (which was East Pakistan until 1971) and Britain have asked that question.… Seguir leyendo »