The Day India Burned: Partition

The Day India Burned: Partition

Ratings: 7.85/10 from 47 users.

The Day India Burned: PartitionDocumentary about the effects of Britain's withdrawal from India in 1947 which triggered one of the biggest migrations in history. 15 million were displaced and more than a million lost their lives. The story is told through the testimony of people who lived together for centuries, but were forced out of their homes as one of the largest and most ethnically diverse nations in the world was divided. Dramatized reconstructions evoke some of the mistrust, violence and upheaval that ensued.

Partition of India and provides a good overview of the fateful events leading to that cataclysmic decision by the British and the catastrophic suffering of ordinary people caught in the crossfire of communal hatred.

It describes in detail: British motivation for leaving India after World War 2 in a quick and face-saving manner; the underlying distrust of Hindus and Muslims of each other despite centuries of living together; Muslim educational and economic backwardness relative to Hindus and their fear of Hindu domination in a united India; the failure of the March 1946 Cabinet Mission in Simla on account of Nehru's refusal to a agree to a decentralized Subcontinent.

The beginning of the Hindu-Muslim communal riots with Jinnah's call for Direct Action in Calcutta in August 1946; the desperate attempts made by Gandhi to effect Hindu-Muslim unity via appeal to their humanity; and the pressure exerted on most Princely States to agree to ascension to India.

It also describes: the manipulation of people by political leaders in the name of religion; the slaughter, looting, raping, and mayhem among different communities at the village level; the deep reluctance of people to abandon their generational homes; the brave attempts of certain individuals to save their neighbors of other communities from forcible ethnic and religious cleansing; the horrific price paid by women for defending their honor;

The utter lack of governmental preparation for a mass migration of people; the needless human carnage caused by Mountbatten's decision to expedite the planned Partition; and the decline of hitherto culturally rich and cosmopolitan cities like Lahore by loss of other communities.

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Norman Keena
10 years ago

ahhh fuk it.. the 'partition' .. parocial bollix talk.. okey i'm stll watchin

10 years ago

Im all up for debates that come from moving documentaries like this, but some of you people beneath me believe that you have the grand solution to the worlds problems, whether it be confrontation of intolerant religious institutions or throwing off the shackles of the western world, you are the idealists like Nehru and Jinnah who if come to power will divide the planet in your own image. It is human nature to seek perfection and unity amongst mankind but in doing so only brings about destruction.

11 years ago

Great documentary. A good over-view that looks (briefly) at all events that contributed to the current situation - and challenges my preconceptions.

Qurrat Ul Ain Saleem
11 years ago

this documentary is biased portraying muslims killed hindus!

dhanalakshmi mohan
12 years ago

brilliant documentary..amazing insights by actual ppl whop were there when it happened

12 years ago

It is time for Indians (of both types) to grow up, frankly. I am not a Brit, but trying to blame them for India's problems three generations on is just stupid. India will not reach its deserved place as a world leader until it takes an objective look at the society that they have created and drag it into the 21st century.

12 years ago

muslims cry for "objectivity" here.. yea.. your whole life is a conformist extremism of reality but whenever someone pips against muslims they are "not objective". i would laugh if it wasn't so sad and taken a lot of good peoples lives.

objectivity comes hand to hand with a western set of values including democracy, freedom of speech and equality. yet muslims only support those rights when it's in their best interests and will violate them the minute after.

now it's time for the anti israeli ciber war of people who knows a little something from some book and try to convince me that we are all bible freaks with one task of ruling the world!!!!

ali naseem
12 years ago

seeing the comments below i really dont want to watch this doc anymore, its amazing how the blame game shifts side to side , well the fact is that pre 9/11 islam was too a peaceful religion, every one has his own view some might wish to see it violent but yet again the conversion rate in states is rising, what i believe is that influential people benefited the most and are the reason for soo many deaths both hindus and muslims !!

12 years ago

India did get one good thing from the British 'The Map of India' .

What happened was our mistakes.There are few families who control the total economy of Pakistan and most of them have posh villas in England and most of their black money in Swiss banks , Same is with India. They are the ones who decided the fate during partition.

West needs to do one thing to put world history back on the right track, close all the Swiss banks and return the money back to countries it belongs to until that time west will keep on getting blame for every damn thing happening in Asia. Until corruption exits there is going to be no solution to any problem on the earth.

12 years ago

two months to divide a country, so Britain wouldn't be 'sullied'.

and the world reaps the whirlwind of another success story from european colonialism.

12 years ago

Its good if we put this in religion section also.. It shows how religion can lead to inhuman behaviour ...

12 years ago

We should learn from history .. Learn not to repeat mistakes .. learn not to create divide in society again ...

12 years ago

seems like one more biased doc..not british themselves but hindus and muslims are to blame?.. nope.. i wont watch..
what about the title 'the day pakistan born :independence''

12 years ago

how about people just blame the people of india and pakistan for killing eachother and not the british. nations always say they want freedom , and this is what they do with it

12 years ago

The population of Hindus in Pakistan in 1947, at the time of Partition, was estimated to be anywhere from 15 to 24 percent. In 1998 the Hindu population in Pakistan was 1.60 percent.Whereas the Muslim population in India at time of partition was 12% and now it is nearing 20%.................It is not that Muslims are reproducing faster than Hindus.:)).............but
it is due to forceful mass conversion and genocide of hindus the no. has come down drastically.


12 years ago

This is a sad story. It shld be well known to this people that are calling themselves pakistani (muslim indians) that there was nothing like that before until the Arab muslims conquered ur forefathers and forced them to Islam and gradually changed that part of the Indian subcontinent to Islam nation. I'm sure those ur forefathers that were brutally killed by the Arabs will be shifting in their graves now to find out that the killings now have been passed on to their own children to kill their fellow indians now because of this same foreign Arab religion called Islam which brought nothing but suffering and division to anywhere it goes. Shame on all of u.

12 years ago

People are missing the point here. If the British had not come to Indian subcontinent, they would have fought anyway. It's apparent because the muslim Mughal empire killed more hindus and destroyed more temples than the British did.

It is apparent that there was peace only because the british were there.They saw british as one "common enemy". They apparent coexist under british because they saw the british as neither Hindu or Muslim, and this united them. The unity broke down when the center that united them( british) were leaving, so the old animosity rose up. It's like d Russian and America fighting against Germany only 4 them 2 fight each other later.

The british rule was responsible 4 the peace that existed between them for those years otherwise the muslim empire will have tried to continue their conquest and killing of Hindus. Ofcourse it wasnt the british that told the muslim to start the Calcutta killings which started the whole problem. The only place I blame the british is that they should have tried to stop these people from killin themselves and the guy that drew the map made a mess of it. At d whole d muslim were to be blamed( there is no sense in what they started at calcutta). If u have grievances,do u have to kill innocent people? Knowing fully well there will be reprisal attacks. I am yet to understand this tendency among some muslims to quickly pick up violence upon slight provocation. The religion still baffles me til 2day. But i guess d era of jihad is over

12 years ago

did India benefit from the British? yes
do the British Benefit from India? yes

do people in power (all colors) care about the Poor? NO

12 years ago

Communal violence is often due to two things in the contemporary world: economics and security. When people have a job to go to and are materially content, they are less compelled to go fight their neighbors. OR, if they know that they are likely to be rounded up by the police swiftly after the riot begins, they'll avoid it. Political disillusionment, economic malaise and a lack of law enforcement is what fuels communal tensions. Religion, race or ethnicity are simply the identity that rallies the crowd.

These three factors were certainly present in India 1947. There was uncertainty over the political system, tensions over how to divide resources, an imperial power that kept the country together who was dying to leave and no enforcement of any law and order. Add it all up in a country as diverse as India, and it's bound to happen.

It doesn't matter what religion or what race/ethnicity. If the same political and economic conditions were in Canada or the USA, I guarantee you the same thing would happen.

12 years ago

As usual it is the British to blame! Everywher they have been, only problems and wars after them!!!

You know why??? Diuve and Rule! this was the moto of the British in their colonies. They would assess the existing divisions in the target "colony" and create hatred among as many sides as possible. then it would be easier for them to control the area - how else could they rule a county like India with their small army?

They have used this strategy in all places where they rule - divide and rule! Another example is Cyprus - for hundreds of years the greek and turkish sides existed peacifully. Then the Brits came. When the greek side opposed the Brits, they formed a police force exclusivly of turkish miniroty and ordered them to put the greeks down. When the turks revolted, they formed a greek police force and asked them to put down the turkish revolt. When the Brits left, the 2 sides went to war! What did you expect?

They did the same with india. They recognised the differences and agravated them on purpose, it srved them well while they were there putting people against each other but when they left there was war and chaos...and all they have to say "it was not us we tried to help" drawing borders on a paper and forcing billions to leave according to the will of the english gay lord who happened to be there at the time???? Radiculous!

12 years ago

This is a tragedy where people's beliefs are turned against them. So many times in the past religion has been used to get people to turn against each other with equally horrific results.

The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Britain itself are now successful countries and civilizations because religious tolerance, understanding and harmony is the law of the land. Meaning that people can practice their own religion free from persecution.

It is only through tolerance and understanding of the differences of various peoples and their beliefs that countries can grow and prosper.

When the people of India and Pakistan understand this then they will prosper as one people as they did in the past.

Segregation simply does not work. Only tolerance and understanding will prevail to respect the differences that people have.

Why is this so? Because the more you segrate people the more differences they will find to divide themselves. It is the nature of humanity to be like this. So the more that tolerance and understanding is taught, then the more that different types of people can accept each other.

This is the basis for the success of the societies of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Britain.

This documentary shows what leaders of countries can do to instigate zenophobia turning ordinary people against one another because of their differences instead of using those same differences as attributes of strength and unity.

Many times it is simply about power, control, and money.

luvhandle luvhandle
12 years ago

I haven't seen this doc yet nor do i want. I am a 32 year old Indian lived all my life in punjab where in 1947 riots took place. We Indians deserved it.
we were always divided first muslim invaders looted this land then british.
I wonder why we Indians never went out of our country did the same.
I applaud British people as some where i read that England has never been invaded. they did because they could & we stupid Indians havent learnt the lesson yet. we are the most corrupt nation on the face of earth. here a court case goes for 20-25 years if it doesnt become a media trial. conviction rate is less than 6%. justice is joke here.
sometimes i feel compelled to believe that there may be some truth in race theory. where ever english people went & inhabited like new zealand, australia, canada these countries became rich & developed.
I am not jealous . I am sad.

12 years ago


'Possibly similar documentaries to The Day India Burned: Partition',


'Iran and the West'.

It should read:

'Iran and the Rest!'


12 years ago

good that they got massacred in Afghanistan these bastards .

12 years ago

I confess I am a bit of an anglophile, I love mclaren F1, monty phyton, the concorde, bob marley's accent, bentleys, castles and so on. I mean, people are usually afraid and greedy as individuals, as I am sure nobody would really care that much if a distant uncle died as long as you kept his 2 million dollar estate. Collectively it is the same story and the English is no exception: peoples of the world want the nice things don't they, and for whatever reason they rather create nicer roads in their neighborhood at the expense of african babies than drive around on gravel. As Hitchens would say: we are made imperfect and ordered to be perfect.... but I don't think we can be.....I think we as high apes instinctively live the economic version of survival of the fittest everyday, and compassion is still in the works.

12 years ago

Disgusting colonialism.

12 years ago

I liked this documentary, Currently I am watching the story of India. Very eye opening about how long their history is. Even the Caste system has a place. But even past rulers gave up everything to find Enlightenment thru Budda.
The English messed up with Partition here and also in the middle east where they drew arbitrary boundries for each of the major groups. Many smaller groups got lost in the shuffle and still do.

12 years ago

What an educational doc. Thank You V!! I will watch this several times before i dare to make an ignorant comment like i have been guilty of in the past!

12 years ago

it all happens cause of power, status, religion, rich and poor, all bull shit leaders who does not know secience

12 years ago

we will always remember this people of the UK

abdullah mohideen
12 years ago

the british came to india to add fuel and make vuolence between muslims and hindus .before the the british rule they were in peace

Krishan Kumar
12 years ago

intelect friends can somebody figure out who was responsible for this bloodshed?????????

12 years ago

Curiously Sudan a former british colony also officially split in two halves this week, one part muslim and one part christian, and left some millions dead. god's love is infinite isn't it.

12 years ago

The point that it DOESN'T make -- and most assuredly because it is a production of the BBC -- is that, if not for British colonial influence, nothing like this would have ever happened.

Sieben Stern
12 years ago

amazing documentary! it makes a point of seeing each other as people and not divided by religion. religion is not an ethnicity.

12 years ago

Ah yes, the Religion of Peace.... More like Religion of Pieces....

12 years ago

I don't like the Red Bull commercial in the corner. It sneaks on my Check Out the Recent Comments page.