With the recent unrest over Kashmir and ongoing India-Pakistan disputes, it is difficult to imagine a time when the two nations existed as one, in harmony and peace. However, History is proof of the existence of such times. And we believe that 15th August is the perfect time to ensure you’re aware of the details of the separation of India and Pakistan!
The Partition of India and Pakistan
The separation of these two nations is popularly known in history as ‘The Partition of India, 1947’ where India refers to ‘British India’ and not India as we know it today. ‘British India’ included not only India and Pakistan but also Bangladesh and other countries that were subsequently separated.
The Partition of British India in 1947 resulted in the creation of two independent dominions – India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India is today known as the Republic of India and the Dominion of Pakistan is today known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Pakistan came into existence as a result of the Pakistan Movement, which strived for the creation of an independent Muslim state in the north-western regions of South Asia. The movement was led by the All-India Muslim League under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The event was brought forth by the Indian Independence Act 1947 under which the Raj gave independence to the Dominion of Pakistan which comprised West Pakistan (Pakistan as we know it today) and East Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh).
The term partition of India does not cover:
the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971,
the incorporation of the enclaves of French India into India during the period 1947–1954,
Why the animosity between the two dominions?
Suspicion is a seed that once sowed cannot be uprooted. The partition displaced approximately 10-15 million people on religious grounds, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions. There was large-scale violence and the violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of antagonism and suspicion between India and Pakistan which continues to dominate the relationship between the two till date. Hence, the animosity between the two Nations!
Independence Day in India and Pakistan
Although the two independent Dominions came into existence at midnight on 15th August 1947, Pakistan's Independence Day is celebrated on August 14th and India's on August 15th. This is because - in 1947, the ceremonies for the transfer of power were held a day earlier in Pakistan, in order to enable the last British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, to attend the ceremonies in both Pakistan and India.
Independence Day Celebrations in India and Pakistan
Celebrations for Independence Day are similar in both Dominions except for the day of celebration and a few other differences.
Pakistan: The main Independence Day ceremony takes place in Islamabad, where the national flag is hoisted at the Presidential and Parliament buildings on 14th August. This is followed by the national anthem of Pakistan and live-telecasted speeches by the leaders. The usual celebratory events and festivities for the day include flag-raising ceremonies, parades, cultural events, and the playing of patriotic songs across the Nation. 14th August is a National Holiday in Pakistan.
India: On 15 August, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag at the historical site of Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gun shots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion. The Prime Minister then addresses the Nation and pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. This is followed by singing of the Indian National Anthem and march-past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. The usual celebratory events and festivities for the day include flag-raising ceremonies, parades, cultural events, and the playing of patriotic songs across the Nation. 15th August is one of the three National Holidays in India.