- BBC News World
Five weeks. British officials then commissioned lawyer Cyril Radcliffe to draw one of the most controversial borders in history: the divide between India and Pakistan.
This year 7 will be fulfilled5 Those years of separationThis is causing tension between Asian neighbors.
It all started at the end of World War II, when the United Kingdom granted independence to its former colony, India.
He also accepted the demand to create a separate country for the Muslims in that area.
It happened on August 15, 1947 Born Indian, Majority Hindu, and Pakistan, Muslim majority.
Ratcliffe, who was appointed as the Chairman of the Boundary Commission, published his organization only days after independence.
When the partition of India became known, millions of people had to flee their homes on both sides, and more than a million people died in the violence that resulted from the partition.
All communities that had lived together for centuries decided to move.
is rated as More than 12 million people crossed the Radcliffe Line in search of a new homeIt is remembered as one of the largest and deadliest migrations of all time.
The boundary drawn by Radcliffe extended 2,900 kilometers and is still disputed today.
The main controversy in 1947 revolved around two provinces with equal numbers of Muslim and non-Muslim settlements: BengalIn the east, and Punjabin the west.
Radcliffe had to decide how to divide those provinces, which had erupted into religious conflict that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Another problem area is Kashmir, an ethnically diverse Himalayan region. Famous for the beauty of its lakes, meadows and snow-capped mountains.
Even before the independence of India and Pakistan in August 1947, the region faced fierce competition.
Under the Partition Plan provided by the Indian Independence Act, Kashmir was free to join either India or Pakistan.
The Maharaja (local ruler), Hari Singh, initially wanted Kashmir to be independent, but in October 1947 he decided to join India against a Pakistani tribal invasion.
A war broke out and India sought help from the UN.
In 1949, India and Pakistan signed an agreement to establish a UN-recommended cease-fire line, and the region was divided.
A second war broke out in 1965. Later in 1999, India fought a brief but bitter conflict with Pakistan-backed forces.
AfterIndia and Pakistan Already Nuclear powers declared themselves.
Today, Delhi and Islamabad claim Kashmir in its entirety, but control only parts of it, internationally recognized territories as “Indian-administered Kashmir” and “Pakistani-administered Kashmir”.
With a population of nearly 13 million, the Kashmir Valley is today one of the hot spots of international controversy.
Radcliffe never visited British India When he agreed to lead the border committee.
According to his critics, he did not understand the social or political culture of the country.
He arrived in India on July 8, a month before the country’s independence was declared.
In his 1966 poem “Partition”—dedicated to Radcliffe’s work in India—the British author WH Auden opined:
“At least he was impartial when it came to his work, / He had never seen that land before his separation.”
Apart from lack of time, his task was more complicated Maps based on it are outdated. Even the censuses he usedn imprecise.
And he had to rely on advisers – two Muslim judges and two Hindus – who could not agree with each other.
Secret of Lahore
Years after completing his work, Radcliffe revealed a very significant historical fact.
He said it In its original constitution it gave the city of Lahore in the Punjab province to India.
“I realized that there would be no big cities in Pakistan, and I had already reserved Calcutta (in Bengal) for India,” the book’s author Kuldeep Nair told journalist Kuldeep Nair in 1971. Stories from Scoop, Share to Nowyou (“Exclusive, Sharing Stories to the Present”).
Today Lahore is the second largest city of Pakistan.
A final farewell
Radcliffe left India on completion of his work, burning all his notes before departure.
He never came back to India. One Pakistan.
He knows what the locals think of him. “About 80 million people come to me with complaints,” he said. “I don’t want them to find me.”
On his return to London he was appointed Knight of the Order of the British Empire.
Some versions state that he refused to accept the 3,000 pounds (about US$3,600 today) the government offered him for his work.
In his interview with Nair, Radcliffe was asked if he was satisfied with the boundary he had drawn.
“I have no choice“, he replied “The time they gave me was too short, it couldn’t have been better.”
However, he admitted, “If they had given me 2 to 3 years, I could have made some progress.”
is rated as Between 500,000 and one million people died as a result of religious violence It was unleashed after the partition of India and Pakistan.
And, 75 years later, the “Ratcliffe Line” – as many call it – continues to create discomfort between the two countries.
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