History TV to screen documentary on Partition today
TORONTO: A documentary on the partition of the Indian subcontinent billed “The Road to Partition” airs on Thursday in India and Pakistan, one day after the 60th anniversary of the partition, on History Television’s “Turning Points of History”.
The documentary traces the events leading to the partition, and the issues involved in the decision-making process. It recalls the leading personalities involved, particularly three British-trained lawyers who spearheaded the movement to force the British out of India: Jawaharlal Nehru, who became India’s first prime minister; Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder and first governor-general of Pakistan; and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whose non-violent philosophy and political strategy inspired the world.
Witnesses to the actual event, including McGill Professor Emeritus Baldev Raj Nayar, Dolly Ahluwalia of Markham, Salahuddin Haqqi of Brampton, and Dr Faqir Khanna of Edmonton, recount their memories, as around 14 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs uprooted themselves on short notice, many of them murdered en route or even before they could leave.
Archival film and photographs provide graphic reminders of the greatest migration in recorded history. Such South Asian authorities as Sukeshi Kamra of Carleton, Vasudha Dalmia and Munis D Faruqui of the University of California in Berkeley, Stanley Wolpert, author of “Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India”, historian Thomas Metcalf (“Ideologies of the Raj”), and Douglas Peers, University of Calgary, add their insights.
One million died and hundreds of thousands more were savagely mutilated in what Wolpert calls “Total, total barbarity”. Many blame the British for the carnage, and name one man - the last viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten, whom Wolpert describes as “a man of great ego, as well as of very little intellect”.
The documentary has been written and directed by Alan Mendelsohn, who said, “Political assassinations, the independence of Bangladesh, and the rise of both Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan and Sikh nationalism in India all have their origins in the 1947 partition. These are issues that resonate 60 years later - not just in the region but throughout the world.” The film is produced by Episode 21 Productions Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Barna Alper Productions Inc. Executive producers are Laszlo Barna and Steven Silver. ppi