It was the year 1947. After the freedom struggle spanning over a hundred years, India had been freed of colonialism.
The Indian Independence Act was to replace The Parliament of the United Kingdom that stipulated the governance of British would come to an end in the country on 15 August. The Act also stipulated that the country would be split into two sovereign nation-states, as the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.
Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister by profession, was commissioned by the British to examine the territories that needed to be allocated for both countries. He was appointed as the Chairman of Boundary Commission that was to mark a border line – a line that would split one country into two independent nations.
The ‘Bloody’ Line Dilemma
The line has since then written and rewritten history. Today, we remember the line for its cross border firing, or the ceremonial lowering of flags by jawans from either side of the divide. But the Radcliffe line has been on director Ram Madhvani’s mind for the last 10-15 years.
Director of the national award winning aviation-thriller Neerja, Madhvani returned to screen with a nine-minute short film where he explores the plausible scenario of Radcliffe regretting the line he drew. The film, Madhvani said, was inspired by WH Auden’s poem on Partition, which is a sharp and sarcastic account of Radcliffe’s time in India.
Read the full poem here.