How this border transformed a subcontinent | India & Pakistan


This is the Golden Temple. People come here from all over the world to
bathe in its waters, to look at the Holy Book that
is inside of this middle Golden Temple and to just experience the holiness of
this place. This place is the epicenter of Sikhism. It sits right here in
northern India in a city called Amritsar. Close by there’s another important Sikh site
called Kartarpur. It was established by the founder of Sikhism
more than 500 years ago. It’s the place where he spent the last years
of his life and it is the second holiest place in Sikhism. For centuries, Sikhs have been able to make pilgrimage between these two sites to move freely throughout their heartland. But in 1947 a British lawyer drew a border here turning what had been British India into
two new countries, India and Pakistan. I could only call it one of the most bizarre
lines, which were ever drawn across a map It went right here with the Golden Temple
on one side and Katarpur on the other. Thanks to this border Sikhs in India are now
cut off from their holy site. So many come here to a platform that the Border
Patrol set up. The platform looks across the border
where with the help of telescopes, Sikhs can look at their holy place just three
or four kilometers away. In addition to cutting off communities from
their sacred sites, this border separated families, cut across
rivers, forests, farms, railroad tracks. Today this border is heavily fortified with
nearly all 3,000, plus kilometers fenced. It’s lit so well that you can see it from space and barely anything or anyone crosses over it When we talk about the drawing of the line, what was the most painful was the division
of families which took place and that is a very big reality. This is the story of a violent
separation. One of the most traumatic events of the 20th century It’s the story of how a hastily drawn line
on a map separated one people into two. This is a horror story. What we saw was a town soaked with the stench of death. In the train of murder and arson, come the
refugees. Their suffering is the new tragedy of India. Many will never reach their new land. These are the things that are setting the
heart burning on either side of the line. The sun is setting and I’m walking along one
of the oldest roads in Asia One that used to connect this region but today
a border runs through it and instead of connection and trade what you
see here is this: There’s barbed wire, there’s fences, there
are officers everywhere and yet, there’s also ice-cream and popcorn
and paraphernalia. This feels like a sporting event. You can buy keychains of machine guns. Thousands of spectators file in, filling this stadium
that looks down on the border. On the other side Pakistanis are doing the
same. Then, both sides start their different show. Two hours of chanting and dancing Then the finale, a face-off between the
two sides. They strut back and forth in this coordinated
choreography and it all ends with the lowering of
each flag and the closing of this gate. This bizarre border show plays out every
evening. But this ceremony, this fence, this intense
nationalism If you rewind just a little in time, none
of this existed. The British controlled parts of
India for nearly 200 years but by 1947, a strong movement of independence
was swelling across the subcontinent while back in Britain, the country was in
massive debt after fighting World War II and didn’t have the resources to
hold on to their colony so they started making plans to leave India. British officials thought that a proper transfer
of power would probably take around five years but when the British leader in charge arrived
in early 1947, he hastily decided to shrink their exit timeline and so what needed five years would now
need to be done in just four months. British India was to be split into two
independent nations, a mostly Muslim Pakistan and a Hindu majority,
but officially secular India. To do the actual drawing of the border, the
British brought in a lawyer from London. He arrived the month before the British
were supposed to leave India. He hadn’t been to British India before and
didn’t know much about the region. He had no idea about India, no idea about
Indian geography, no idea about Indian politics. And yet, he was the one drawing the lines
on the map that would affect millions of lives. During his visit, this British
lawyer looked at maps and census data, focusing on the maps that showed
religious identity of people in India. India has a wide variety of religions
and based on these census maps, you can see that people of all religions lived
amongst each other all over the region. So to draw the line the British lawyer
looked at individual districts putting any district that had a Muslim majority
population into the new country of Pakistan, while Hindu and Sikh majority
districts would be kept within India. Based on this method the lawyer began to
see what a border might look like. He only had five weeks to do this. He later wrote that it would have taken years
to settle on a proper boundary and that’s because this method
of drawing the line conceals that within these districts there were
sizable communities of all religions that had been living side-by-side
for centuries all throughout India. August 15 1947, Independence Day for India
and Pakistan The British lawyer left that day. He would never return to India again. Two days after independence the borders were
made public, prompting more than 14 million people to leave
their homes, their lives for what was now their side of the border. We were told that you have to cross the border
to India. Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan moved into
India and many Muslims in India moved into the new
Pakistan. These were people who were indeed forced to lose their entire homes, their memories, their childhood and the things they saw. It was one of the largest
forced migrations of people ever and it was chaos, a chaos that led to widespread
unspeakable violence cities on fire, sexual violence against women,
trains, full of dead bodies. The survivors I talked to were just
children when all of this happened. The division of the sub-continent became
known as the partition of India. A phrase synonymous with trauma fueled by the reckless mismanagement of an imperial
power. I’m in a small village right near the border on the Indian side that used to be a Muslim community before
partition. And in the middle of town is this shrine where residents would conduct ornate Muslim
burial practices on these graves. Look at the original maps at the British drew
up when they were trying to draw this line. This town was actually in Pakistan in most
of the maps. But in the end the British lawyer
decided to draw the line here. The people here discovered that they
were now a part of the new country of India and so many of them fled just across the border
to the new state of Pakistan and they left this place empty. But just as Muslims were leaving this
village for the new Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan were coming
across into India and some ended up here. The Hindus and Sikhs that now live in
this community have taken it upon themselves to continue the Muslim traditions
that this community was based off of. They continue to maintain these graves and
these symbols even though they don’t necessarily pertain
to their own religion. This is a sign of respect, of common
identity in spite of the border. But this is just one side of the story. The sub-continent echoes and shudders to
the sounds of a full-scale undeclared war. Within just a few months of drawing this border, India and Pakistan were fighting an all-out
war. One that centered on this region in the north,
which both sides claimed as their own. The new countries would fight several
more wars over the years, a border fence would eventually fortify
the majority of this boundary, and both countries would acquire nuclear weapons turning up the tensions and deepening
the division. But if you take away the geopolitical bluster,
the nukes, the barrier, the trauma of partition, you can still see how much these two countries
have in common. I’m at a school in Delhi. Students are skyping with a school in Pakistan. These kids are speaking a similar
language and it takes them just minutes to dive into the common roots of their
culture. This shared identity with these kids are
feeling isn’t uncommon in India and Pakistan. Same language, same taste, same food Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs used to live
together, attend each other’s social
functions, marriages, everything. We have this divide now. If you stand in the wall
city in Amritsar and you stand in the walled city in Lahore believe me, the smells, which is a kind
of giveaway are the same. I’m visiting a group of Sikhs coming off
the train. They were able to get a visa to go visit this
religious site that most have to see through a telescope. So with all these cultural similarities, all
these happy faces, shared interests? How do you explain this? You see, it is a politician, who poisons
people’s minds. The divide is created, nurtured, fostered
because it suits a certain politics. Over the years, politicians on both sides have
exploited tension with the other side to stoke feelings of nationalism. Back here at this viewing platform, there
are construction vehicles everywhere. For years, the Sikhs have lobbied for
easier access to their holy site and after years the two governments
finally agreed to build a little notch into this border, a corridor that will allow Sikhs
to freely access their site without a visa. These four kilometers will restore a small
part of what was once the Sikh heartland. But for millions of Indians and Pakistanis
who continue to live with the repercussions
of the traumatic events of 1947, this fortified and volatile border remains
unchanged. If anything, it’s getting thicker. Seventy years later, the shadow
of partition continues to divide families, halt trade, cut connection,
stop cooperation, instill fear, promote hatred and the people who live in its shadow on
both sides, old and young, continue to live with this division that’s superimposed
upon their history of deep connection.

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100 thoughts on “How this border transformed a subcontinent | India & Pakistan

  1. Hi everyone. I hope you liked Ep1! If you want some behind the scenes on Vox Borders, become a member of the Video Lab. This Thursday I'll be doing a live Q&A with the whole Borders team to talk about how we make these episodes: http://bit.ly/vox-video-membership
    Also, Borders producer Christina Thornell's video recommendations are available to watch in the Lab now, as are a bunch of goodies from past seasons. Go check it out!

  2. Please come to Pakistan
    And cover the Sikh holy sites from this side as well.
    At least 50000 Sikhs arrive from world to pay respects

  3. With No YOUTUBE🔥 and their Videos Britishers would Still Portray own as f**kng PEACEFUL NATION 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️💥

  4. This line created on the basses of “Two nation theory” and time has proved that was right because you can clearly see that what’s going on with Muslims in india. Where hindus are slaughtering Muslims bcz of there faith.

  5. Perhaps politicians from both side should watch this beautiful piece of work … and hope some sanity comes in their policy making and rise above petty political mileage … Kudos to u gentleman 👌🇮🇳 🇵🇰 ✌🏻❤️

  6. no thank you – i am glad my grandparents migrated otherwise i be getting lynched for eating beef and being told to say jai sri ram.

  7. 2 days ago in my hometown in assam, a hindu man died, but he got no relatives, so the muslim neighbours living near him did the dead ceremony according to hindu religion. It was also in news..thats the love we have

  8. if you see 1940s videos no india politician wanted partition, it was only muslims leaders who wanted partition you can go throw old videos…..if you go through gandhi jis videos, nehru ji, sardar patel, baba sahab ambedkar all were againsts partitions only muslims leader wanted partitions

  9. Great work…. You told us so many new things … I visited Amritsar and attari , wagah border once … And I have great respect on Punjabis

  10. 👋Hi sir plz explain kashmir and POK (pakistan occupied kashmir)matter more peoples are could not know the matter.

  11. vry intresting video…n sad also..ppl of tht tym were soo simple n inovent no comunication no education ..most of them didnt knw wat to do n where to go…bcoz of one person who draw the line .. milions of ppl n their genrations suffer … specially punjab n jammu

  12. Some Muslims believed they wouldn't be treated well in India so they created Pakistan.
    Guess what India still has sizeable number of Muslim population and we are still one country.

  13. Really sad story, I work with both Indian and Pakistani nationals it's really sad to see the man made hate amongst these two nations. People who look the same talk the same sound the same however act as if they are different I think this documentary should be translated to hindi and played all over India and Pakistan

  14. A clarification they are not chanting long live India they are chanting long live "hindustan". Hindu means the religion Hinduism and stan means land so they are chanting long live the land of the Hindus. Let's be clear about India not being a secular state. As ppl dnt kn the language it's easy to met out misinformation pls dnt do tht. Call it as it is. Thank you.

  15. Don't live in the past, live in the present.
    What was done has been done, that can't be undone.
    But we have our present, let's not let that carried away.
    Vandemataram.

  16. So sorry,,,,,we English kids(I am 71)had no idea nor has the uk education informed us or our children,yet Indian and Pakistan citizens have been part of our lives for a long time no questions,until now maybe,,,the world needs to be together.I now live in Portugal and very grateful to this country for opening my mind,although I have no belief in any god I have belief in being human beings being one with ourselves,,,,

  17. I mean the school part was never showed by any Indian Media house
    I mean the Media is just disgusting it is so wrong
    Thank you Vox for covering this

  18. Feeling disgusting and evil political leaders who don't want peace but their own positions and benifit.Shameless!!!

  19. I would like to let people know that borders between both the countries have been guarded by Gorkha soldier of Indian army at majority parts.

  20. The video is presented as if the people of both nations are so gullible that any politician can stoke animosity without reason and people wouldn't realise what's happening to them for a century now! There are very important reasons why the partition happened and ignoring them completely is… not helpful at best. Another preachy VOX video without any facts whatsoever! As an Indian I am offended at their lack of understanding or desire to understand, but that is hardly surprising.

  21. The point to remember is that a British person draw up the border lines.

    Britain's history of colonisation has a large part to pay for the way the is world is fracturedworld today.

    India and Pakistan have the responsibility and chance to change this. Allowing the borderlines to be re-drawn to best suit India and Pakistan better.

    Be part of a global citizen and work together.

  22. Why we divided didn't you show you next vidoe now Indian isn't liveable for minorities hindutawa is killing all Muslims and sikh in the name of religion thanks ALLAH we've got Pakistan and safe over here

  23. Thankful for Pakistan. I wouldn't want to live as minority under these RSS goons who still harrass Muslims in India.

  24. I like this video , because it is too close to history except a blame, by a sikh person. He say's it is politician who divide us . In my opinion it's not true ! it's Islam who divide us .

  25. If not for the last two minutes I would have shared this video with all my community..
    You don't talk about terrorist attacks now in India by Pakistan..
    Indian leaders don't want war..
    We don't have a choice..
    We Ethier get killed by their terrorists..
    Or we have to deal with them so we survive..

  26. Why didn't you show imran Khan threatening India with a NUCLEAR ATTACK ???
    Modi's statements were in retaliation to Pakistan's terrorism

  27. What BJP and Modi did to India truly justified the creation of Pakistan. The unjust rule of majority Pakistan's forefathers was afraid of and this proved by the Modi and BJP.

  28. Before British came India was divided, unlike China. British soldiers fought and died to create one India for their Queen. Indians did not do the same. Before or after British. Compare Chinese history.

  29. All because of Hindu extremists the Punjab was divided otherwise whole of Punjab should have been part of Pakistan 🇵🇰

  30. Migration was not because of border but because of hatred among the communities. At that time Hindu extremists ignited hatred among the people.

  31. Please show the video of lynching of innocent Muslims and Dalits by Indians which will tell you the true story behind partition

  32. I hope you will do a story about division of Kashmir and how Nehru manipuled Red Cliff to get Kashmir forcefully to be Part of India

  33. It was biasness of Red Cliff towards Hindus which made them divide Punjab into East and West Punjab. Otherwise the whole Punjab including Delhi would have been part of Pakistan and hence there would have been no riots. Similarly it is also on record that riots were preplanned to suppress Muslims and the only way they came to an end when Muslims retaliated in the same brutal manner.

  34. You added video of Modi claiming Pakistan export terrorist but the truth is India has been exporting terrorist to Pakistan. Recently Kulbhoshan Singh was declared Indian terrorist by International court of justice. Your choice of video clip shows your biasness towards Indian version

  35. We still havent learnt the lessons that hate taught us. India is headed wrong way on a one way track. god help us all.

  36. It's true the Problem started with Jinna and nehru but,India always want peace but if your neighbor always try to send goats to To your farm,we don't have any other choice but to fight

  37. I loved this video….all I hear these days are hate speeches but thank you for this….we need love and not hate. Love and brotherhood and no borders is the ultimate solution ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  38. its not politicians who are responsible for tis …ediots it was Pakistan asking for more peice of land where it all started…. and pak promoted terrorism!! what else do you expect indian politicians to do..whn thy bomb our country mercilessly

  39. Basically, Britain was paranoid about India's former Muslim civilizations regaining any power in the subcontinent. So they artificially tried to maximize territory awarded to the Hindu dominated regime of India. In this effort, they ripped up and partitioned Punjab and Bengal along supposedly "religious lines." And then they stepped aside and allowed the British supplied Indian army to occupy Muslim dominated areas like Kashmir and Hyderabad. This resulted in the homeland of 200 million Muslims being occupied by the Hindu regime… and endless wars.

  40. Pakistan has always given a hand out to dove the problem of Kashmir according to the UN resolution we have always allowed our Sikh brothers and sisters to come to Pakistan and visit their holy sights Imran Khan has gone to the extent that for kartarpur corridor Sikhs don’t have to obtain a visa and come what else can Pakistan do we want peace not war please make a video about kartarpur when Sikhs come to Pakistan for 550 anniversary of the great and honourable guru namak although we are Muslims we respect him and take care of his shrine as well and I thanks our Sikh brothers for looking after our ancestors grave in east punjab

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