The period in the 20th century when India attained its freedom is perhaps one of the most unforgettable ones in world history. However, while many Indians rejoiced the occasion of attaining freedom, several others had to suffer the wrath of one of the worst tragedies of the modern world – the partition. A separate state called Pakistan was formed for people of Muslim origin and approximately 7-million people migrated to this newly formed place. At the same time, those who resided in the present day Pakistan returned to India. The event caused a blood bath between religious communities and clashes resulted in the slaughter of millions of people. Thousands were orphaned and were left homeless due to the riots caused due to the division of the two countries. Here are 40 rare images from that horrific period in 1947, the eventful year when India and Pakistan were separated into two distinct nations.
1. Thousands of people migrated from India to the new formed nation along with their families and belongings. The sight was just horrific for many to even imagine.
2. The father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi meets Muslim refugees who have gathered at a camp in New Delhi. These individuals belonging to the minority group were proceeding to the newly formed nation, Pakistan.
3. Ground being excavated to accommodate the dead bodies of those who lost their lives in the partition battle.
4. A Muslim couple, along with their grandchildren, lies on the roadside after being exhausted by the travel. Hundreds walked past them, but none of the refugees attended to the plight of this family.
5. A young boy sits on what looks like a ruined wall of a fort
6. Those who were tired of walking had to be carried on the shoulders by the stronger members of the family.
7. The partition also paved way for riots, which killed hundreds of people belonging to the Hindu and Muslim religions. Scores of dead bodies were thrown in ponds as well as streams in the border regions of India and Pakistan.
8. Many miscreants used this turbulent political situation to the best of their advantage and created chaos across the cities, which included setting vehicles ablaze and ransacking shops.
9. Another important event of the partition was the riot which occurred at Calcutta, also known as the ‘Calcutta Mass Killings’. Many were killed and vultures fed themselves on the corpses of the deceased.
10. Thousands boarded the ‘North West Railways’ express trains to travel towards Pakistan. While travelling, many of them were attacked at stations such as Attari, near Punjab, located by the border region between the two nations and butchered to death.
11. People even accommodated themselves on train tops to reach their destinations.
12. Peasants using bullock carts as transport to ferry themselves across the border.
13. As a result of the massacre in Calcutta, many were butchered and their arms and legs lied buried under pieces of wood.
14. This couple lost their little bundle of joy as a result of the infamous partition of 1947. Many people, especially those living in the border regions of India and Pakistan had to pay a heavy price
15. A scene from a day in September 1947, when millions of people belonging to the Muslim community had gathered at this place. All of them intended to travel towards the Dot Purana Qila, an ancient fort in Pakistan which had become a refugee camp of sorts.
16. This is how families managed to survive the wrath of those difficult days.
17. It’s not confirmed whether he was run over by a train or killed by the mobs. However, this was one deeply disturbing moment from the bygone era.
18. A bottle of re-hydration solution helps an ill refugee overcome her poor state of health.
19. Many refugees belonging to the Hindu community arrive at a dockyard in a bid to board a ship. All these individuals were headed to Bombay to start life afresh.
20. An infant who became a victim of the horrendous set of events in 1947.
21. The aftermath of the blood bath at Calcutta. The news of Bengal being split into East Pakistan caused the fury in the city.
22. Officers and people bid adieu to the official train to the newly formed nation of Pakistan.
23. A foot of a victim lies in the junkyard at the end of the riot. Many witnessed this horrific sight in Calcutta as a result of the riots.
24. Bodies of victims being burnt in a funeral pyre by a few good Samaritans.
25. Barely a few of months after the independence of the two nations the first Indo-Pak war was declared by India. The picture shows Indian soldiers trying to silencing their enemies by firing from across the border.
26. Several belongings of refugees lied unattended at the corners of the roads and dead bodies were hastily buried.
27. People belonging to the Muslim community arrive at an ancient fort, which had turned into a refugee camp for millions of such refugees. Many of these unfortunate living beings camped at such forts for days.
28. Carcasses lying on the roads, being dumped into a truck for cremation.
29. Muhammad Ali Jinnah being sworn in as the first supreme of the republic of Pakistan in 1947.
30. Scores of decaying corpses lie abandoned at the sides of railway tracks. Many didn’t bother cleaning up the mess.
31. A dead body of a woman at a railway station becomes a meal for a stray dog.
32. Vultures feeding on the carcasses of the travellers rotting at a water source near the border region.
33. Many guest houses also turned into shelters for refugees who were commuting between the two countries.
34. The awful plight of those affected by the partition tragedy, at a shelter for refugees.
35. This is how the old and the sick were ferried across the border by the men in the family.
36. Not just people, books and many non-living objects were also distributed amongst the two nations.
37. A picture of the ‘VP17’, an aircraft of the Indian Air Force landed at the Poonch region of Jammu and Kashmir. It was aimed at ferrying defense troops as well as the refugees of the great tragedy.
38. Hundreds of tents were erected to help those who were affected by this great tragedy. Doesn’t this picture speak volumes about the impact the partition had made on the lives of the people?
39. A huge crowd tries to move across the border in a bid to reach their destination.
40. Another picture of Vultures feasting on the many bodies lying scattered on the streets after the mass murder.