It is often easy to look back on an event that shaped history in a factual and dispassionate perspective.
Simple figures detailing deaths and tragedy can oftentimes grant a story factual innocuity and with so many issues that have happened and are happening in the world, you may find yourself desensitised to the theme of hardship and violence.
As a second-generation immigrant growing up in the UK, I had some (but still limited) knowledge on the1947 Partition of India.
I was moderately aware of the fact that the Partition must have affected my ancestors as I belonged to the subcontinent that was so directly affected – but I was also acutely unaware of how important and detailed the story was, and how Britain, the country I grew up in, was involved in this story.
The formal end to British involvement and colonisation of the Indian subcontinent is marked through the1947 Partition, a hastily-drawn border dividing the region into separate nation states.
The Partition of India led to one of the greatest mass migrations in human history, and over 10 million people were displaced and uprooted from their homes.
The book Partition Voices by Kavita Puri is an eye-opening account of this event and the impact it generated – it grants a voice to those who were directly affected by this event, and distances itself from celebrating the BritishEmpire and its turbulent history of colonisation and exploitation.
Partition Voices is a testimonial of the event, but also powerful and rich with emotion, as it highlights tales of love, friendship and unity, as well as those of hardship, loss and violence. These stories are vivid and compelling, and an essential read to understand more about the Partition, as well as how it affects us today.
As the author highlights throughout this book, Britain’s inextricable link to this major event means this story is a part of British history, as much as it is a part of South Asian history.
Tales such as this are still completely overlooked within school history classes and mandatory learning, but stories such as these are essential and important for us to study the BritishEmpire honestly and without parts conveniently left out.
And Kavita Puri’s book Partition Voices is a great place to start.