The British Raj in the Indian subcontinent would have continued unabated for a few more decades, if the Second World War had not weakened the Empire, providing pro-independence movements the desired impetus. Hindus and Muslims - the two main communities residing in India - had separate agendas. The Muslims had ruled the subcontinent till the British dominated them. The Hindus, in majority, desired to take over the reins from the British and suppress the Muslims to avenge nearly their 300 years of subjugation. Against this backdrop, the Muslims knew that the departure of the British would only mean a change of rulers, while the Hindus would be more brutal than the British. Thus, Muslim leaders, like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Allama Iqbal and others, proposed a separate homeland for the Muslims, which the Hindus opposed tooth and nail. On the other hand, Hindu leaders like Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, aligned themselves with the British attempting to stop the creation of Pakistan or, in the worst case scenario, accede to a truncated Pakistan that would not survive long and could be gobbled up by India. The Radcliff Commission, charged with the duty of determining the boundary, was coerced by the last British Viceroy to India at the behest of Pundit Nehru, who had developed very close relations with the Lord and Lady Mountbatten. The partition, promulgated in theIndian Independence Act 1947, resulted in the dissolution of theBritish Empire; and a mass exodus of humanity, displacing up to 12.5 million people in the former British Indian Empire, with estimates of loss of life up to a million, since marauding bands of Hindu and Sikh fanatics set upon the refugees with Muslims retaliating.The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of mutual hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that plagues their relationshiptill this day. The Radcliff Commission amended the approved plan to award Gurdaspur to India, providing it with a land link to the valley of Kashmir, enabling it to physically occupy the land, resulting in the First Kashmir War of 1947-48, creating the core issue of Kashmir, which has become a festering sore and flashpoint between the two nuclear weapons States. Also, the partition deal included the division of State assets, including the British Indian Army, the Indian Civil Serviceand other administrative services, the Indian Railways, and the central treasury. Unfortunately, Pakistan did not receive even an iota of the assets assigned to it, which led to major problems for the fledgling state. Then in 1971, due to its own follies and Indian machinations, East Pakistan after a bloody war, became Bangladesh. Sixty-four years since partition, if one were to take a pragmatic look, one can see that India set the pace for democracy. Bangladesh, after an initial period of turmoil, strife and bloody coups, has settled down on the path of democracy. Pakistan was unfortunate that it lost both Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder, and Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan, his able successor, in the initial years. Their replacements were virtual pygmies, lacking both vision and statesmanship, resulting in constant military takeovers, which further stifled the process of democratisation. Myopic policies have made Pakistan a client State of the USA, which has used and abused it depending on its own agenda. Meanwhile, Britain - the main country - that should have taken an interest in the unresolved problems it had left behind at the time of partition, has remained oblivious to them and has been toeing the US line in the region. In Pakistan, the common man has been totally ignored by subsequent military rulers, who were more intent on extending their reign, and the corrupt civilian leadership, which has been bent upon lining its own nest and leaving the military to dictate both the defence, as well as the foreign policies of Pakistan, while the masses suffered. It was, perhaps, in this scenario that Faiz Ahmed Faiz, in his memorable poem, Yeh who seher to nahin, commenting on the partition stated: This blighted dawn, this darkened sun. This is not the dawn we had waited for The night's burden has not diminished, The hour of deliverancefor the eye, and the heart has not yet arrived. Face forward For our destination is not yet in sight. Six and a half decades on, instead of despairing, we must pick up the cudgels to strive and fix the problems and make Pakistan the homeland that our Founding Fathers had dreamed of. The writer is a political and defence analyst. Email: