As India and Pakistan celebrate 70 years of independence this week, the legacy of the August 1947 Partition of British-ruled India that resulted in the birth of these two nations is something both are still coming to terms with.

August 14 is a national holiday in Pakistan. All major public and private buildings, roads and avenues have been decorated with illuminations, national flags, posters, and banners for the Independence Day festivities.
August 14 is a national holiday in Pakistan. All major public and private buildings, roads and avenues have been decorated with illuminations, national flags, posters, and banners for the Independence Day festivities. ()

It's been 70 years since India and Pakistan became two independent nations, ending British rule in the Indian subcontinent.

The British ruled in India --including modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh -- for 190 years. This 1911 file photo was taken when King George V and his spouse Queen Mary were on their tour of India.
The British ruled in India --including modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh -- for 190 years. This 1911 file photo was taken when King George V and his spouse Queen Mary were on their tour of India. (Getty Images)

Gaining independence from Britain took almost 30 years of effort. 

The British created and perpetrated a religious antagonism in the Indian subcontinent, just like they did in the Middle East. 

This was part of their colonial strategy that is known as "divide and rule."

Until that times, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were used to live together in the same territories for hundreds of years.

Indians thought that the British would leave their territories if they help Britain in the World War I. In this picture, troops from India who fought for the British in France pose at the Marble Arch Pavilion in London, where they watched the film 'The Somme.'
Indians thought that the British would leave their territories if they help Britain in the World War I. In this picture, troops from India who fought for the British in France pose at the Marble Arch Pavilion in London, where they watched the film 'The Somme.' (Getty Images)

During  World War I, the British promised to leave India if Indians fought on their side as allies. 

Indians did do so for their colonizers, but independence was elusive.

Mohandas Gandhi’s reputation as the Indian spiritual and political leader who coordinated and led a successful national struggle for independence against British imperial rule on the strength of a non-violent movement survives largely intact.
Mohandas Gandhi’s reputation as the Indian spiritual and political leader who coordinated and led a successful national struggle for independence against British imperial rule on the strength of a non-violent movement survives largely intact. ()

The British again made the same promise during  World War II. Some Indians, led by Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, refused to fight for them this time. 

However, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, initially concerned for the protection of minorities and a champion of Hindu-Muslim unity, convinced Indian Muslims to fight for the British. 

This move was interpreted as Jinnah wanting British support for a future Muslim state. 

Jawaharlal Nehru, who led the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Gandhi, ruled India from the independence in 1947 until his death in 1964. Today, he is known as the founder of the modern-day Indian state.
Jawaharlal Nehru, who led the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Gandhi, ruled India from the independence in 1947 until his death in 1964. Today, he is known as the founder of the modern-day Indian state. ()
The idea of
The idea of "Pakistan" was not thought of until the late 1930s. Some say Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League at that time, simply wished to use the demand for a separate state as a bargaining chip to win greater power for Muslims within a loosely federated India. He is now known as the founder of Pakistan. ()

After World War II ended, British rule in India was marred by communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.

Hindu Indians were angry at Muslims for their desire to break up India, while Muslims feared their treatment as a minority. 

Tensions escalated further after the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946, which killed thousands of people.

The tensions escalated further after the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946, which killed thousands of people.
The tensions escalated further after the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946, which killed thousands of people. ()

The British decided to exit what had become a mess, and left the continent one year earlier than planned.

Mass migration followed, marred by violence and bloodshed, as about 15 million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, fearing discrimination, swapped countries in a political upheaval that cost more than a million lives. 

Around 70,000 women were raped, with torture and mass killings rife.
Around 70,000 women were raped, with torture and mass killings rife. ()

While around 7 million Hindus and Sikhs fled towards India, around 7 million Muslims made their way towards Pakistan, their newly created homeland.

Hindus were afraid they would not be welcome in the newly declared state of Pakistan, and Muslims worried they’d suffer at the hands of India’s Hindu majority. In this September 1947 file photo, hundreds of Muslim refugees crowd atop a train leaving New Delhi for Pakistan.
Hindus were afraid they would not be welcome in the newly declared state of Pakistan, and Muslims worried they’d suffer at the hands of India’s Hindu majority. In this September 1947 file photo, hundreds of Muslim refugees crowd atop a train leaving New Delhi for Pakistan. ()
This late 1970's photo from the Naqvi & Zaidi family album shows Fahmida Hasan Zaidi, second right, with her mother Alamdari Begum, left, daughter Kahkashan Naqvi, front, younger sister Khurshid Zaidi, nephew Shiraz Zaidi, right, and young AP reporter Muneeza Naqvi in Lucknow, India. Zaidi lives in New Delhi while the rest of her seven siblings live in cities across Pakistan.
This late 1970's photo from the Naqvi & Zaidi family album shows Fahmida Hasan Zaidi, second right, with her mother Alamdari Begum, left, daughter Kahkashan Naqvi, front, younger sister Khurshid Zaidi, nephew Shiraz Zaidi, right, and young AP reporter Muneeza Naqvi in Lucknow, India. Zaidi lives in New Delhi while the rest of her seven siblings live in cities across Pakistan. ()

But the boundaries were arbitrary; the division of the Punjab, Bengal and Kashmir paying no attention to existing ethnic and tribal communities. 

The enmity between India and Pakistan continues on to this day.

Since 1947, the two have fought three wars. And they still haven’t agreed a border.

At least 130 suspected militants and 39 soldiers in Kashmir have died in clashes so far this year, officials say.
At least 130 suspected militants and 39 soldiers in Kashmir have died in clashes so far this year, officials say. ()

Two of the three wars were for Kashmir, a Himalayan region divided between the rivals and claimed by both. 

This territory is still locked in a state of conflict with near daily clashes and shelling across the Line of Control (LoC), the official name of the disputed frontier.

India and Pakistan agree to a UN Security Council resolution calling for a referendum in which Kashmiris would determine their future. The vote never took place.
India and Pakistan agree to a UN Security Council resolution calling for a referendum in which Kashmiris would determine their future. The vote never took place. ()

Tens of thousands, mainly civilians, have died in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir in the past 30 years while demanding independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.

Wagah, near Amritsar, is the only functioning border post between the rivals.
Wagah, near Amritsar, is the only functioning border post between the rivals. ()

Another fall out from the borders had catastrophic consequences. In 1971, Pakistan and India went to war, this time over East Pakistan, which later became the independent state known as Bangladesh.

At that time, India provided training and weapons to Bangladeshi guerilla Mukti Bahini who fought for the independence of Bangladesh.
At that time, India provided training and weapons to Bangladeshi guerilla Mukti Bahini who fought for the independence of Bangladesh. ()
In December 2015 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a surprise visit to Pakistan, meeting his counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The meeting between the two nations' leaders was heralded as a turning point in relations. But, tensions have soured yet again.
In December 2015 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a surprise visit to Pakistan, meeting his counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The meeting between the two nations' leaders was heralded as a turning point in relations. But, tensions have soured yet again. (AP)