‘It was not inevitable. India’s independence was inevitable; but preservation of its unity was a prize that, in our plural society, required high statesmanship. That was in short supply. A mix of other reasons deprived us of that prize – personal hubris, miscalculation, and narrowness of outlook.’
A G Noorani, Frontline volume 18, issue 26, 2002
On this day in 1947, the modern India and Pakistan were born. Partition triggered one of the world’s largest forced migrations, with the brutal and bloody displacement of almost 20 million people, resulting in more than one million deaths. All because of the drawing of a line on a map.
‘I had also been overwhelmed by an agonising feeling of sympathy for the country which was not only my twin in birth but also joined to me (so to speak) at the hip, so that what happened to either of us, happened to us both. If I, snot-nosed and stain faced etcetera, had had a hard time of it, then so had she, my sub continental twin sister; and now that I had given myself the right to choose a better future, I was resolved that the nation should share it too.’
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children