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Campaign to be launched to mark India’s Partition as national day in UK

The campaigners believe commemorating the day British India was divided into the independent nations of India and Pakistan would help honour the contribution of South Asians to British society.


Campaign to be launched to mark India’s Partition as national day in UK
“One of the reasons I made the original film was because I was really shocked how few people knew about this period of history,” Rani said. (Image Credit: Twitter)

A new campaign to commemorate India's Partition in 1947 as a national day in the UK is set to be launched here later this week.

Led by BBC's UK-born Indian-origin television presenter Anita Rani and backed by veteran Indian-origin MP Virendra Sharma, a delegation is set to lobby parliamentarians in the House of Commons complex on Wednesday to mark August 15 as a national day.

The campaigners believe commemorating the day British India was divided into the independent nations of India and Pakistan would help honour the contribution of South Asians to British society.

"It's become this dark stain, but an event such as this could change that. It's a way of involving not just the South Asian community but everyone in Britain in a reflection on the past and a conversation about what happened and where we are now," Rani told the 'Observer' newspaper.

The presenter, who won the 2018 Royal Television Society Award for her BBC documentary on the subject of Partition called 'My Family, Partition and Me' aired last year, believes there is an urgent need to remember an event that saw more than 15 million people uprooted in what is known as one of the largest and most violent human migrations in history.

"One of the reasons I made the original film was because I was really shocked how few people knew about this period of history," Rani said.

"After Partition, India was too busy celebrating independence, Pakistan was celebrating the birth of a nation, Britain was relieved to have been able to cut and run, so no one talked about how they'd got there and what had happened," she added.

Among the participants of the documentary wasBinita Kane, whose family were the only Hindus in a predominantly Muslim village in what would later become Bangladesh. Forced into hiding, they were saved by a Muslim boy who risked his life to smuggle them to safety.

"My hope is that a day of commemoration will stimulate a much-needed conversation," said Kane, who is spearheading the campaign for a national day.

"Before I took part in the documentary I was a fairly typical second-generation British Asian in that I hadn't taken much notice of my roots. I knew my father's story but I hadn't considered the human cost or how enormous the consequences of Partition were," she said.

Lady Kishwar Desai, UK-based author and Founder of the Partition Museum in Amritsar, believes there should be no attempt to cover up the past.

"A country should never forget the lessons of the past. In forgetting lies the possibility of making the same mistakes again," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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