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Refugee camps of the Partition

Refugee camps of the Partition

The Partition of India sparked one of the greatest mass migrations in modern history, with millions seeking sanctuary from the violence inside ancient tombs and forts, transforming them into sprawling refugee camps.

More than 15 million people were displaced following India s independence from Britain in 1947, with Muslims embarking for the newly formed Pakistan as Hindus and Sikhs moved in the opposite direction. At least a million died along the journey, the rest pouring into fetid camps erected in cities already pushed to the brink by violence, looting and food shortages.

In New Delhi, where law and order had almost completely broken down, tens of thousands of Muslims sheltered behind the 16th-century walls of Humayan s Tomb waiting for safe passage to Pakistan. Tents were erected in the fine gardens surrounding the spectacular mausoleum, the inspiration for the Taj Mahal, and spilled over to encircle the smaller tombs dotting the Mughal-era complex.

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