A GROUP of over-50s met at the National Science and Media Museum yesterday to learn about and discuss the partition of India in 1947.

The discussion aimed to shed more light on the process of creating an independent India and Pakistan and the atrocities and issues that took place during the split, and the effects it is still having today.

The event was organised in partnership between the National Science and Media Museum and the Bradford Peace Museum, ahead of a project the Peace Museum is holding on the partition.

At the meeting, the group discussed their memories of 1947, which included thick smog which hung over Bradford to the harsh winter which hit the UK, with one man saying he was stranded in Queensbury for six months because of the snow.

Project co-ordinator Samayya Afzal led the group with an explanation of the partition, which included explaining how India was split in two based on religion by the British, which caused mass violence and killings between different religious groups over land, and displaced between 12 and 15 million people.

The conflict continues to this day, such as in the Kashmir region.

Following this, Suraiya Khatun, who was six years old when the partition happened, described her memories of the event to the group.

She said: “People were becoming incredibly violent and there was a lot of commotion in the country.

“You could not go to school, work, or to pray, some people made plans to leave but poor people had to hide from the violence.

“My family went by boat from Bombay to Karachi which took three days with a lot of people packed onto the boat.”

She also explained how people travelling on trains were often murdered when the trains stopped at stations, and how many women committed suicide due to fear of being kidnapped.

After the meeting, Miss Afzal said: “I thought it was quite interesting to hear the group’s perspectives and what they thought about the event from a British point of view.

“The emotion on show was really heartening to see, people’s reactions were good to see.

“We talked about some really emotional and harrowing events, such as what happened to refugees, women and migrants.

“It was good to bring people together and discuss a topic not often discussed, especially in the elderly population.

“It is really important people know what happened during the partition, especially for young south Asians such as myself.

“We need to know about our families’ history, and if we do not know about this we are not equipped to learn about our future.

“We need to learn about the past to stop us from committing the same mistakes.”

One of the guests at the meeting was Susan Banks, from Brighouse, who admitted ahead of the meeting she did not know a lot about the partition.

She said: “I now know a much more about what happened. When I was younger I had a friend who was involved in the partition, but she did not speak about it. The world needs to know more about the atrocities that have happened previously to make sure they do not happen again.

“Listening to Suraiya’s story, it makes me sad that humans can do these thing to each other, and hearing a first hand account of what happened did answer a lot of questions about what happened and is still happening to people around the world today.”

The partition project opens at Bradford Peace Museum, Piece Hall Yard, in two weeks’ time.