Recorded Webinar: ‘Drawing the Line’: the 1947 Partition of India

By Dr Sarah Ansari, published 13th November 2022

The Partition of India

August 2022 marks 75 years since British India was divided at independence into two separate states: India and Pakistan (the latter including today’s Bangladesh). As with the 70th commemoration in 2017, this anniversary will trigger a great deal of collective remembering in Britain just as in South Asia itself.

Freedom from British rule in 1947 came at enormous human cost, when – thanks to Partition – as many as 14 million refugees crossed the new borders and up to a million people lost their lives in very difficult circumstances. This incredibly harsh reality means that Partition represents a key episode in the shared twentieth-century histories of South Asia and Britain, which makes it even more important to explore and understand why it happened, what happened, and what happened next. Moreover, on the one hand, Partition, as the flipside to the subcontinent’s independence, contributed directly to Britain’s post-Second World War decline as an imperial power. On the other, Britain today is home to over 3,000,000 people of South Asian heritage, and – since many of their forebears hailed originally from the Punjab and Bengal, the two regions most affected by the violent upheavals of 1947 – almost all their families will have been affected to some degree by the fall-out from Partition.

* Please note: while this webinar has been produced by the Historical Association, any opinions expressed by the presenter(s) are their own and do not necessarily represent HA policy.

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