Forced Migration and Ethnic Cleansing in Lahore in 1947: Some First Person Accounts

Ahmed, Ishtiaq
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This paper examines the exit of Hindus and Sikhs from Lahore at the time of Partition in 1947. Until the beginning of the 1940s, Lahore was celebrated as a paragon of communal harmony. A religiously mixed and varied population had continuously lived in it ever since it fell to the Afghans in the early 11th century. According to the 1941 population census, the total population of the Municipality of Lahore was 671,659, out of which Muslims constituted a majority of 64.50 per cent. Except for a small Christian community and some individuals from other minor groups, the rest were Hindus and Sikhs who together made up 36 per cent of the population. In the Lahore District as a whole the situation was similar. Muslims were 60.62 per cent while Hindus and Sikhs together formed 39.38 per cent of the population. The Hindus and Sikhs, however, owned the overwhelming bulk of the property in the city and in the district.1 Communal tensions began to rise in the winter of 1945-46 when provincial elections were held. In March 1947 the first communal clashes took place in Lahore. When Partition took place, a few months later in mid-August, Lahore had been emptied of almost all the Hindus and Sikhs. The demographic consequences of such change were indeed profound and everlasting. Link -