Mohammed Ali Jinnah and M.K Gandhi (left to right) - a photograph from 1944 Image Credit: Wiki Media

India and Pakistan became two separate countries in August, 1947, with Pakistan celebrating their Independence Day on August 14 and India celebrating theirs on August 15.

Having been under the rule of the British Empire for almost 200 years, 2017 marks the 70th year of independence and partition for the nations. Here's a fun quiz to brush up on your history.


1. In 1941, Karachi, the first capital of Pakistan had a 46.7 per cent Hindu population, who fled the city during and immediately after the partition.

2. Around the same time, Delhi’s entire population included one-third Muslims, most of whom were displaced in 1947.

3. The borders of Pakistan were drawn up two days after partition, on August 17th of 1947.

4. At least 15 million people were uprooted and displaced in one of the largest human migrations in recorded history.

5. Around one to two million people were killed during the implementation of the partition.

6. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the man behind the creation of Pakistan as a separate country, was a secularist.

7. Bangladesh was called East Pakistan, located over 1700 kilometres away from West or present-day Pakistan.

8. As of August, 1947, the subcontinent was divided into parts lying in 4 different countries, some of which are still under dispute after 70 years, most notably the state of Kashmir.

9. During the iconic pre-independence speech by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of free India, in Delhi, the viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, was watching the Bob Hope movie ‘My Favourite Brunette’ with his wife.

10, Kingsway Camp, Delhi’s largest refugee camp at the time, was home to about 300,000 people, when at its maximum.

11. Disney films were screened in some of the refugee camps, with as many as 15,000 people watching.

12. As Hindu, Muslim and Sikh vigilantes hurt all sides killing and maiming at all sides, British soldiers were confined to their barracks. They had been ordered by Mountbatten to save only British lives.

13. There were trains of only corpses going to and fro the new countries – bodies of people who were killed or died on the way to their new homes.

14. On August 14, just hours before Nehru’s speech, a great riot had broken out in the streets of Lahore. The main Sikh temple or ‘gurudwara’ was in flames, while around 100,000 people were trapped in the burning city without water or medical help.

15. Gandhi was absent from all proceedings during this time; he was in Calcutta, the city was torn by riots. Bengal had been divided into two parts – one that would be part of free India and had Calcutta, while the other that had become East Pakistan.

16. Over 25 films have been made set in the partition of India and Pakistan, while many others allude to the migration, displacement, communal tension and revolts of the time.

17. The independence and partition was originally planned to be before June 1948.

18. The first capital of independent Pakistan was Karachi.

19. 1857 saw the first war for independence when the nation revolted as one against the British Empire. 

20. British India had 17 provinces before partition.

21. The partition was announced in India by Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy General of India.

22. Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a British lawyer, drew up the borders for the newly independent Pakistan, completed on August 17, 1947.

24. Clement Atlee was the British Prime Minister who oversaw the withdrawal of the Empire from the sub-continent. 

25. Until 1948, Pakistan used Indian currency bank notes, over-stamped with 'Pakistan' on the notes. New coins and banknotes of Pakistani rupees were circulated in 1948.