One of the completest cases of ethnic cleansing — that entailed the murder of ,, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs — took place in in the Punjab Province of British India. Until now very little research had been conducted on it though in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi literature the horrors of the partition have figured extensively, mostly in short stories but also in novels and poetry. The trauma of a gory and shattering destruction of the demographic structure and culture in Punjab has never been absent from the public conscience although the generation that went through it is now on the way out. However, once the Punjab was partitioned it was impossible for an Indian citizen to visit the Pakistani Punjab and do research and likewise a Pakistani scholar stood no chance of doing the same in the Indian Punjab. International research on the Punjab partition had also been limited — confined to some cities and districts. As a Swedish national of Pakistani origin, I did manage to visit both Punjabs and do extensive field research. It is theoretically and empirically a very distinctive study, because it seeks to solve the Punjab partition puzzle as part of a general phenomenon that has appeared elsewhere in the world as well.
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Today, Indians comprise about 1. They make up the largest subgroup of British Asians and are one of the largest Indian communities in the Indian diaspora , mainly due to the Indian—British relations including historical links such as India having been part of the British Empire and still being part of the Commonwealth of Nations. The largest group of British Indians are those of Punjabi origin, accounting for an estimated 45 percent of the British Indian population based on data for England and Wales , followed by other communities including Gujarati , Malayali , Konkani , and Marathi communities.
Official figures demonstrate that Indian employees have the highest average hourly pay rate among all ethnic groups in Britain.
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The Indian Independence Bill, which carves the independent nations of India and Pakistan out of the former Mogul Empire, comes into force at the stroke of midnight on August 15, In the northern province of Punjab, which was sharply divided between Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-dominated Pakistan, hundreds of people were killed in the first few days after independence. In the s, the British government made some concessions to the Indian nationalists, but during World War II discontent with British rule had grown to such a degree that Britain feared losing India to the Axis.
British colonial authorities responded by jailing Gandhi and hundreds of others. Anti-British demonstrations accelerated after the war, and in the Indian National Congress reluctantly accepted the creation of Pakistan to appease the Muslim League and conclude the independence negotiations. On August 15, , the Indian Independence Bill took effect, inaugurating a period of religious turmoil in India and Pakistan that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, including Gandhi, who was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in January during a prayer vigil to an area of Muslim-Hindu violence.
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British Broadcasting Corporation Home. What issues were left unresolved at the time of India’s partition in , and how have they continued to plague both India and Pakistan since independence? India and Pakistan won independence in August , following a nationalist struggle lasting nearly three decades. It set a vital precedent for the negotiated winding up of European empires elsewhere.
Unfortunately, it was accompanied by the largest mass migration in human history of some 10 million.
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The U.K. needs to build on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s repentant gesture at Not just confined to Punjab, the pain of the carnage forms the.
But the process of partition was attended by mass migration and ethnic violence that has left a bitter legacy to this day. Indians increasingly expected self-government to be granted in return for their wartime contribution. But with this came serious inter-communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. Violence escalated and the threat of civil war loomed. In August of that year, six British battalions had to be deployed in Calcutta.
They took nearly a week to restore order. The violence quickly spread to Bombay, Delhi and the Punjab.