he period following the Second World War saw much change throughout the whole world. New nations formed while old ones rebuilt after the devastation brought to them by the conflict. A country that was impacted by both of these was the United Kingdom. Due to the German Blitz, much of London had to be rebuilt, this was very significant as before the United Kingdom was one of the largest colonial powers in the world, and London was seen as the central point of its empire. The political and economic integrity of the country and its colonies depended on this one city. This combined with the large contribution towards the war effort by many of the British colonies meant that many of the lands under British control sought more autonomy. This was especially true of the British Raj.
15 August 1947
On this day 72 years ago the political tension between the British Raj and the United Kingdom boiled over to where the Labour government at the time announced that control of the British Raj would be given to an independent parliament as soon as possible. Representatives from both the Sikh and Muslim communities were brought in to decide what the borders should look like. This was the opposite of what was wished by the prominent independence activist Mahatma Gandhi. As a result, what followed was a period of uncertainty for the whole subcontinent. Infighting between religious groups would result in large amounts of casualties of both faiths. Many regions with similar religious beliefs would be split in half, leading to even more conflict this time between people of the same faith. In the end, it was decided that the northern Muslim majority region of the Raj was to be given to the new nation of Pakistan with the rest of the predominantly Sikh and Hindu regions going to the newly formed Union of India.
Once again bloodshed followed as thousands migrated towards a region where their faith compromised the majority. Panic was rife, but Gandhi would try to combat this by traveling to many of the regions where unrest was present. His presence calmed down the unrest in these regions. Even so, it is estimated that between 250,000 to 500,000 people died in the period following the split from the empire, with some estimates even putting this number up to 1,500,000.
The region would stay in conflict as a war between the two newly independent states was started only months later over the region of Kashmir which continues to this day.
As well as a day of celebration for all Indians and Pakistanis, today must also be a day of mourning for both nations. The sacrifice of Indian and Pakistani soldiers in the Second World War, as well as the needless deaths of those who were caught in the crossfire of the religious wars between the two regions, should never be forgotten. Today should also be a day where both nations look back and unite after such a period of conflict to celebrate and come together, something dearly needed as the tension between both sides continues to grow over the fate of the region of Kashmir. This is especially important due to the recent takeover of the region by the Indian army. If a solution to the Kashmir problem isn’t reached soon the border between India and Pakistan will see more bloodshed than it has ever seen. Many fear that if tensions escalate far enough, this conflict could mean the start of a Third World War. In conclusion, the international community must work together to resolve this conflict in the best way possible for the sake of the innocent citizens of Kashmir as well as for the sake of the whole world. The treatment received by the citizens of Kashmir highlights the significance of this mission and the importance of its success.