Today marks the 70th anniversary of the independence of India, which saw the British Raj partitioned into the majority-Hindu India and the majority-Muslim Pakistan on 15 August 1947, just two years after the conclusion of the Second World War.
But the push for independence had started much earlier, arguably with the massacre at Amritstar in 1919, in which a British garrison open fired on a non-violent protest, led by Mahatma Gandhi, which sought to show Indians' opposition to the Rowlatt Act; a law which punished anyone for plotting against the British Empire. More than 300 protesters were killed and over 1,000 injured. This is seen by many historians as the turning point which led to a great up-swell in nationalist sentiment in India.
That process took nearly three decades to reach fruition and finally saw the country split into India and Pakistan, largely along religious, rather than geographical lines. The split led to huge numbers of people being displaced as entire communities rushed to migrate to either the majority-Muslim Pakistan, or the majority-Hindu India. Both countries are still feeling the impact of partition 70 years on with families and communities torn apart.
This has not stopped India from rapidly developing since 1947, with its economic growth currently outperforming much of the developed world as the benefits of its huge population are felt. The relationship between the UK and India has also developed into a partnership of equals, through each country's membership of the Commonwealth and the evergreen cricketing rivalry that the two countries still enjoy!
To mark the anniversary, ROSL has held a series of events throughout the summer highlighting the ties that bind the UK and India, which are also being celebrated in both countries as 2017 also marks the UK-India Year of Culture. Events such as the ROSL Summer Ball, in which the clubhouse was bedecked in colourful flower garlands reminiscent of an Indian wedding, and featured UK-Indian cuisine, Bollywood dancing and sitar playing. Members have also enjoyed lectures on modern India from Abhaey Singh, Founder of the Indian Debating Union, as well as Indian wine tasting and a concert from Dev and Sam, world-renowned sitar and tabla players.