Zareena Parveen was 12 years old when British colonial India was carved up along religious lines. Two independent states were created: Hindu-majority India, and the Muslim-majority Dominion of Pakistan, which was made up of West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

As millions rushed to cross the new borders, violence erupted between Hindu, Muslim and Sikh populations that had coexisted for thousands of years. In the months that followed, an estimated 1 million people were killed, up to 15 million were displaced and between 75,000 and 100,000 women were abducted and raped.

With the 75th anniversary of India’s partition approaching, Parveen recalls seeing family members killed in front of her, the Sikh officer who pulled her from the rubble of her house, and her tortuous journey to Lahore.

‘A Sikh soldier pulled me out of the rubble’: survivors recall India’s violent partition – and reflect on its legacy

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