Categorized | Independence Day

Remembering 1947: India and Pakistan’s Independence Day

Posted on 14 August 2013 by admin

Kanwal Rafiq

Sometimes, Canadian South Asians need something like the Pakistani or Indian Independence days to remind us of our ancestors’ original heritage. Amidst our busy lives, these days help us to take out the time to celebrate our identity and how we came to carry this identity in particular.

Living our Canadian luxurious lifestyle, we sometimes forget the sacrifices made by people generations ago to create countries like Pakistan or India. And more importantly, we forget the struggles being faced to sustain or develop these countries today.

So let’s begin by briefly reminding ourselves with how these countries came to be in the first place.

The Independence days of India and Pakistan come from the withdrawal of the British Empire from India, coinciding with the division of India into two separate nations mainly due to religious differences.

Famous leader Mohandas Gandhi had created a peaceful “Quit India Movement” before the Second World War to gain independence from British rule. In response, British authorities had jailed Gandhi and several of his followers.

However, tensions after World War II grew as most of India held anti-British protests demanding the departure of British colonial authorities.

On August 15, 1947 the Indian Independence Bill came into effect, ending 200 years of British Raj.

But Pakistan gained independence from India a day earlier. In the June of 1947, the Indian National Congress party had finally reached an agreement with the Muslim League to create a sovereign state named Pakistan.

However, the partition between India and Pakistan proved to be one extremely violent mass migration. Thousands of people were massacred. Children lost their parents, wives their husbands, brothers their sisters, and vice versa. All of which occurred on both sides of the border.

Hence the bloodshed and sacrifices made by our people to develop the identity we so freely carry today should be remembered. It may be difficult to remember events we haven’t seen with our very own eyes, but believing that they took place should be enough, as the two countries stand today as a proof.

 So this Independence Day, let us not only celebrate, but thank those who lost their lives or families, and think of ways we can help our country even if we’re living in Canada to make it a better place for those living there.

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