The 14th and 15th of August 2017 marked a monumental turning point in the history of the Subcontinent. It saw the division of nation with ‘hastily and ineptly’ drawn lines by a man who had never set foot in the region.
“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.”
These were the words of Jawaharlal Nehru on August 15th 1947, marking a new era in the history of the Subcontinent. In the United Kingdom, we celebrated by coming out into the streets with our green and tricolour jhandas, a cup of chai in hand and our music blaring alongside a dhol player in the background. But as these celebrations come to a close, and our flags are put away until the next India vs Pakistan cricket match, the silence is a time for reflection.
Looking back 70 years on, The Grand Trunk Project asks the question: is this India, Pakistan and Bangladesh our founding fathers had once envisaged? In recent years, India has seen riots, lynching and the unprecedented rise of the extreme right wing. Furthermore, the persecution of minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh are now an unfortunate reality of the subcontinent.
While the legacy of The Partition is one of bloodshed and burnt bridges, The Grand Trunk Project does not seek to dwell on this or place blame but ask where do we go forward as a community. How do we rebuild these bridges that should not have been burnt in the first place?
The South Asian Diaspora living in the UK have enough challenges when trying to assimilate into British Society but it is now time to acknowledge the divisions amongst ourselves in order to move forward as a stronger and wiser community.