The Anniversary of the Partition of the Sub-Continent

Today is the birthday of Saleem Sinai, which means that yesterday was Pakistan’s Independence Day and today is India’s Indpendence Day. Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” speech is still worth reading and listening to.


Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

It is also the anniversary of the chaotic and bloody partition of the subcontinent, in which more than 14 million people were displaced into what they hoped would be safe majority states and in which somewhere between 200,000 and a million people were slaughtered in one of the regions more shameful episodes. The BBC website today has some photos of partition taken by Margaret Bourke-White.