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Last Updated: Wednesday August 15 2007 05:42 GMT

In pictures: India and Pakistan

British Empire in India

The areas that make up India and Pakistan today used to be part of the British Empire. That meant the British government got to make big decisions about what life was like there.

Mahatma Gandhi (right) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (left). Jinnah campaigned for a separate Muslim state

Lots of the people who lived there didn't agree with the British being in control. They wanted independence, which meant getting rid of Britain and running things for themselves. Mahatma Gandhi (right) led the independence movement.

The last Governor General, Lord Mountbatten, (centre) salutes the Indian national flag at an event to mark independence on 15 August 1947

Sixty years ago, in 1947, the area that was controlled by Britain became independent. At the same time it was split up (called 'partitioning') into two new countries called India and Pakistan.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (right) and Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru (left)

The people in India were mostly Hindu, and in Pakistan mostly Muslim. The new leaders were Nehru (left) of India and Jinnah (right) of Pakistan. Jinnah wanted partition, but it was the British who decided in detail how it would happen.

Refugees crowd onto a train - September 1947

The partition led to serious problems at the time. There was a lot of violence as people from the different religions fought each other. It's thought half a million people were killed.

Refugees with bullock carts  -  August 1947

Millions of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus found themselves on the wrong side of the new borders. Many of them became refugees, losing their homes and fleeing with just what they could carry.

Pakistan army on the Line of Control in Kashmir

The partition is still causing problems today in Kashmir, an area where India and Pakistan don't agree on exactly where the borders should run. This has led to wars in the past.




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