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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > August 2017 > In Pictures: Indian Independence and Partition

In Pictures: Indian Independence and Partition

On the 70th anniversary of Indian and Pakistani independence, Alice Barnes-Brown explores the bloody end of colonialism on the subcontinent
DEVASTATED A Muslim boy sits precariously on the walls of Purana Qila fort in New Delhi, overlooking a vast refugee camp, 1947


Ever since the East India Company had set foot on the subcontinent in the 17th century, their rule had wrought heavy taxes, corruption, violence and devastating famines to boot. A major turning point came in 1857, when a mutiny (caused by the use of cow and pig fat in weapon cartridges, offensive to both Hindus and Muslims) led to the British government establishing direct control over India. The violence and calls for self-government only grew stronger. In 1919, a massacre of Sikhs celebrating a holy festival in Amritsar destroyed Britain’s fragile reputation. Gandhi organised his first mass campaign the next year, and soon, the people of India would accept nothing short of total independence.

DRAFTED IN Troops of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps go on parade in England
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