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Jinnah's father Jinnahbhai Poonja born was the youngest of three sons. He married a girl Mithibai with the consent of his parents and moved to the growing port of Karachi. There, the young couple rented an apartment on the second floor of a three-storey house, Wazir Mansion. The Wazir Mansion has since been rebuilt and made into a national monument and museum owing to the fact that the founder of the nation, and one of the greatest leaders of all times was born within its walls. On December 25,Mithibai gave birth to a son, the first of seven children.
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Mountbatten, however, decided to keep them secret. How did Mountbatten contribute to the legacy of hatred that, 72 years laterstill informs the bitter relationship between India and Pakistan?
The bloodbath of partition also left the two nations that were borne out of it — India and Pakistan — deeply scarred by anguish, angst, alienation and animus. Untold s were maimed, mutilated, dismembered and disfigured.
A murderous orgy
This great-grandson of Queen Victoria — the first British monarch to be crowned Empress of India — was, ironically, given the task of closing the imperial shop, not just in India but around the world. As a South Asian whose life was affected directly by partition, and as a scholarit is evident to me that the one man whose job it was, above all else, to avoid the mayhem, ended up inflaming the conditions that made partition the horror it became.
However, maybe, today, on the anniversary of their birth, both India and Pakistan can take a break from simply bashing each other and recognize that at times history can deal you a bad hand in many different ways — in this case, due to the hasty and monumental errors of a British royalty. Bythe political, social, societal and religious complexities of the Indian subcontinent may have made partition inevitablebut the murderous mayhem that ensued was not.
All of India, and particularly those in Bengal and Punjab, waited with bated breath to find out how they would be divided. This piece was first published on August 15, and was updated to reflect the 72 years of partition of India and Pakistan.
Lord Louis Mountbatten, viceroy of India, met with Indian leaders to discuss partition. Countless lives were scarred.
Adil Najam does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Indeed, it does not matter which was worse. It was hardly a joyous moment: A botched process of partition saw the slaughter of more than a million people; some 15 million were displaced. Despite his protestations, Mountbatten gave him just five weeks to complete the job.
As dawned, the task before the British was to find the least worst way to retreat from India: to manage the chaos, to minimize the violence and, if at all possible, to do so with some modicum of grace. Which family would be left on which side of the new borders? They were not to be shared with Indian leaders and administrators until two days after partition. The violence was not, in fact, entirely unexpected. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Working feverishly, Radcliffe completed the partition maps days before the actual partition.
Could the genocide have been avoided?
I would argue, they could have meant the difference between a simply violent partition and a horrifically genocidal partition. Let us begin by recognizing the scale of barbarity that was unleashed by the mishandling of partition. Mountbatten arrived in India in February and was given until June — not — to complete his mission.
None was observed in the murderous orgy that shook India to the core at the dawn of independence. Nor can, or should, I believe, India and Pakistan blame the British and Mountbatten for all their problems.
Yet, Mountbatten, the man who would fret incessantly about what to wear at official ceremonies, made little effort to devise arrangements for how resources would be divided, or shared. Plymouth Contemporary — Plymouth, Devon.
What is important to understand is that partition is to the psyche of Indians and Pakistanis what the Holocaust is to Jews. Seventy-two years on, they have only themselves to blame for missing opportunity after opportunity to fix the troubled relationship they inherited. To decide the fate of million Indians and draw lines of division on poorly made maps, Mountbatten brought in Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister who had never set foot in India before then, and would never return afterwards.
Nowhere does the unfinished business of partition bleed more profusely than in the continuing conflict between India and Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir. Which village would go where?
Well before the August ofthose following the tumultuous political boil in India — including U. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman — fully understood that it was time for Britain — now a flailing power made bankrupt by World War II — to leave India. It was not just rivers and gold and silver that needed to be divided between the two dominions; it was books in libraries, and even paper pins in offices.
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But also recognize, it is on you to learn from history and fix it. Adil NajamBoston University. Would a little more attention and a few more weeks of effort in have spared the world a nuclear-tipped time bomb that keeps ticking on both sides? Impatient to get back to Britain and advance his own naval careerhe decided to bring forward the date by 10 months, to August he eventually did become first sea lord, a position he coveted because it had been denied to his father.