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20th January 2010

Old Member publishes account of Indian Independence

In 1947 Muhammad Zahir (1959, Rhodes Scholar) witnessed the turmoil and drama of Indian Independence. Caught on the wrong side of the division between India and Pakistan, Zahir’s family tried to leave by train to Pakistan. The train was ambushed and almost all the Muslims killed on the spot – Zahir himself (then a 10-year-old boy) and most of his family were saved by a young Hindu, who risked his own life to save theirs.

The violence surrounding India’s independence from the British Raj, and the division of India from Pakistan, caused what has been described as “the greatest loss of civilian life in human history, in the absence of war or famine”. Now, 60 years later, Dr Zahir describes the events leading up to Independence, and his new life in the fledgling country of Pakistan. 1947 is an opportunity to explore these events through the memoirs of one who was there.

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