Partition

There's been a ton of programmes about the India/Pakistan partition of 1947, almost all of them excellent. I feel substantially wiser, and grateful to all the people who've clearly taken this as an opportunity to invest time, thought and money in public education. Lord Reith, for once, might be smiling. Gurinder Chadha's "India's Partition:The Forgotten Story" was possibly the best of the lot, coming towards the end of the sequence, but offering a stunningly clear account of how different elements combined to produce this exceptionally bloody result. There was a lot of rather silly (apparent) toing and froing, from the UK to India, back to the UK and then to a different part of India, as though Chadha,, was jumping on and off various buses around London. But the quality of the programme was the expert witnesses it gathered to explain precisely what was going on, at each stage of the process, and from them we got the sense of how impersonal forces combined with individual personalities (Nehru, Gandhi and Jinna in particular, but also the Brits involved) to produce a toxic juggernaut which by the end was unstoppable - though it could certainly have been handled more wisely - i.e. by taking time, calculating likely consequences, rather than staying out of violent clashes and getting the hell out as fast as possible. There may be parts of our colonial record we should celebrate, but this isn't one of them.