Brief: 7 Days
The brief was to create an illustration based on the title ‘7 Days’. The brief was to be interpreted by myself and the medium for expressing that illustration was also open to my interpretation.
Key words – 7 Days
Response to words which also went into Generating ideas: a brainstorm produced a wide variety of ideas and these were jotted down and expressed in the images below.
Lord Mountbatten – He was the great grandson of Queen Victoria and the last Viseroy of India overseeing the transition of Independence.
Radcliffe – He was a British lawyer drafted in to create the division lines for the partition process. He was considered a neutral party in the process.
Gandhi – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – was the leader of the Indian Independence Movement and gained a reputation as a leading Indian nationalist, theorist and community organizer. In 1915 he joined the Indian National Congress and was a key figure in the drive for independence.
Jinnah – he served as the leader of the Muslim League from 1913 until 1947, when he then became the first Governor General of Pakistan until he died.
Nehru – He became the first Prime Minister of independent India and was a central figure in Indian politics. He opposed the division of India in the quest for independence but reluctantly agreed in the end.
08/08/1947 – Mirgration begins and 12-15million immigrants make the decision to leave their homes and move. Most think it will be only a temporary move and that they will be able to return at some point. Some family members decide to stay thinking that the situation in India will conclude quickly and life will continue.
09/08/1947 – Sir Cyril Radcliffe submitted his proposal for the divisional lines drawn for the borders for the new formation of an independent India and Pakistan. However, the uncertainty about the divisions create tensions and in Lahore a state of civil war ensues with rioting and no order. Seikhs make up 15% of the population and the divisions don’t seem to be including them as any border would divide their community in half.
Karachi becomes the new capital and trains full of immigrants making their way east and west before the division line is drawn are boarding these heading for it. With the Seikhs aware that divisions will divide their communities, their frustrations and anger decide to make a point by blowing up a train heading for the new capital. It’s the first time a train is derailed.
10/08/1947 – Karachi wasn’t ready for independence and as such the killing in Lahores rioting of Seikhs and Hindus has ordinary people seeking revenge.
11/08/1947 – People are dressing up as different religions to escape from the rioting and revenge seeking. Muslims are fleeing to Pakistan and Hindu and Seikhs are fleeing to India. Trains become the target for revenge with their direction giving their destination. Identity was reduced to religion and as such systematic religious violence.
12/08/1947 – Calcutta still not decided on in relation to what side of the border it was going to be on. Would it become Hindu or Muslim?
Riots begin in Calcutta and Gaudhi speaks to the Gundi Leaders in the area to try and alleviate the troubles. He ended up reaching some of the leaders and prevented further violence.
Lahore has a continued escalation of violent acts and nobody present is willing to try and calm the situation. Ordinary people are recruited to incur violence on those taking refuge.
14/08/1947 – Pakistan is officially separate with 1in5 people a refugee.
At midnight British rule ended and India became Independent.
An elaborate handing over ceremony in Delhi and the British were eager to demonstrate a smooth handing over of power, but the trauma and violence involved with the uprooting of many due to a border division created without careful consideration overshadows everything.
15/08/1947 – India is now Independent.
It is estimated that approximately 2 milllion people died as a result of the unrest due to the divison of India. Originally it was hoped that India would be Independent but whole.
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially.
At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, then an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”
Jawaharlal Nehru – first Prime Minister of India on the eve of India’s Independence, 14th August 1947
Indias move towards Independence started back in 1857.The Indian National Congress (often called INC or Congress) was founded in 1855 and Gandhi was an active leader of it in the 1920s. He pushed further for an independent India with peaceful demonstrations. In 1942 a ‘Quit India’ movement began was Congress. The Muslim League, headed by Jinnah, was also pushing for a clear Muslim state within this new independence. This put a lot of pressure on the country and on Britain.
Towards the end of the 2nd World War, Britain found its resources depleted and the fight for independence in India was further depleting resources. Britain realised that staying in India was too much of a burden on their dwindling resources so the plan for partitioning India was conceived. The Mountbatten Plan was quickly formed in a bid to relieve mounting tensions in India.
The issue however was the broad division the plan was putting forward. It would mean millions of Muslims living in what would become Hindu-majority India would have to move and and a large population of Hindus and Sikhs living in what would be Muslim-majority Pakistan would also have to move.
The Mountbatten Plan was drafted and approved by His Majesty’s Government in May 1947. It was then put to the various leaders supporting partition and given consent on the 3rd June 1947. Not everyone agreed with it however and from June until the final confirmed partition date, discussions over divisions with Pakistan and India continued.
The demarcation of the boundaries fell to a man outside of the discussions as a neutral party was preferred. Sir Cyril Radcliffe had never been to India and was given the task of outlining the division lines. The Indian Independence Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons on the 4th July 1947. It was passed within two weeks by both the Houses of the Parliament. It gave authority to the representatives of India and Pakistan to draft their own constitutions and was a loud confirmation of British rule being removed permanently.
The migration of people began before the official date of partition as it became clear through political parties that India and Pakistan were going to be the outcome from the push for independence.
People had to flee their homes to cross borders and seek refuge with similar religions. Muslims living in what would become India fled to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs living in what would become Pakistan fled to India. Violence erupted in many places with villages and towns butchered for being on the wrong side of the border.
People fled and many left their possessions hoping that perhaps it would settle and they could return in the future. People travelled great distances by foot, plane and many used trains. Starvation, disease and violence led to many deaths.
People that had lived in areas all their lives now found themselves in a dangerous situation from the division lines. Mass murders of villages and crimes against women and children became common. The number of those that died reached into millions.
About 14 million people are thought to have abandoned their homes in the summer and fall of 1947, when colonial British administrators began dismantling the empire in southern Asia. Estimates of the number of people killed in those months range between 200,000 and 2 million.
19th Sept 1947 – 3000 die on a train, slaughtered.
The numbers behind Partition
190 – The number of years the British ruled in India, first through the East India Company and then the Crown. The Company, however, had managed trading posts in India for more than a century before assuming more official control after 1757.
400 million – The population across British India – including modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh – at the time of Partition in 1947.
40 – The number of days British judge Cyril Radcliffe was given to draw the new boundaries that would divide the subcontinent into India and Pakistan.
3,800 – Miles (6,100 km) of new borders between India and Pakistan created by Partition. More than 1000 miles overland separated West and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
0 – The number of times British Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Lord Louis Mountbatten, Britain’s final Viceroy, uttered the word “Pakistan” when publicly announcing plans for the Partition of India on June 3, 1947.
48 – Hours after India declared independence on August 15 before British troops began sailing for home. Their withdrawal was completed the following February.
1 million – The widely-held estimate of the number of people killed in the brutal violence that followed Partition. Some estimates put the toll at double this figure.
83,000 – Women and girls raped or abducted by both sides during the violence of Partition.
15 million – The number who migrated, often by foot, during Partition – Hindus and Sikhs to India, and Muslims to Pakistan.
400,000 – The number of refugees walking in a single column from modern-day Pakistan to India.
200,000 – The number of miles covered by “refugee specials” – trains carrying evacuees between India and Pakistan – on the north-western line alone in 1947.
3 – The number of wars fought between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947.
- http://artsatl.com/review-exhilarating-%E2%80%9Cgoddess-lion-peasant-priest-modern-and-contemporary-indian-art-at-oglethorpe/13 09/09/17
- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/arts/potent-memories-from-a-divided-india.html 17 09/09/17
- http://www.1947partitionarchive.org/28 09/09/17
- http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/thrill-of-the-chaste-the-truth-about-gandhis-sex-life-1937411.html 44 09/09/17
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/partition1947_01.shtml 46 09/09/17
- https://www.dawn.com/news/1169309 18 09/09/17
- http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/makingbritain/content/1947-independence-and-partition 21 09/09/17
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr9mmxFnXlo15 10/09/17
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aaYTKuatqM30 10/09/17
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/15/indian-independence-day-everything-need-know-partition-india/36 01/10/17
- http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/partition-the-1947-partition-of-india-irish-parallels/39 04/10/17
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Partition_of_India-en.svg17 08/10/17
RESOURCES FOR CLASSROOMS:
Drawing ideas up/ Choosing ideas:
I wanted to go for a brochure and poster for a museum that were trying to expose secondary school students to the history of India. It is a part of history that is not well known and I had no knowledge on the amount of refugees created during the division process. My own realisation was how little I knew about it after watching the documentary put out recently by the BBC called ‘7 Days of Summer’ relating to the independence of India. The violence was heartbreaking and the train massacres were horrifying. The massacre of 2 million people was alarming to find out about, as prior to the announcement of a division, Muslims, Hindus and Seikhs lived in relative harmony with each other and religion wasn’t a main focus for conflict. The impression from school education regarding this period of history was that it was a peaceful handover of power and Gandhi peacefully protested while pursing his dream of an independent India. The truth was much more complicated and the subsequent research revealed a lot to me.
Pinterest inspiration: https://www.pinterest.ie/Superhilbo/assignment-5-seven-days/
Working within format/thumbnails: I drew up ideas for the brochure based on the template that I had for a brochure from the internet.
Based on the layout, I wanted each section to be a clearly separate piece in the brochure with a piece of information, but I wanted the whole thing to be coherent so that as a flat sheet of paper it would look good and the colours would look well together.
My ideas were largely trial and error as I wasn’t sure what type of brochure to create. The brochures I have come across in museums or small library displays, often depict pale colours and grey photos. They echo the past and try to give a reverent tone to the history being expressed.
I was very aware that the tone needed to be respectful and echo the past, but I wanted the colours to echo more of the India and Pakistan that would be readily recognisable based on our current knowledge of it. For school students at secondary level education, this would most likely be in the commonly displayed religious images and possibly the images associated with spiritualism.
Henna tattoos and elephants came to my mind and bicycles as a form of transport. So with this in mind I wanted to create some images that echoed this but that could be used as a pattern to support the main focus which was the history of the 14th August 1947 and the 7 days prior to Partition.
The patterns and colours are extremely vibrant here but very typical of what my impression of India is. Based on this I created a pattern using buttons, as often I associate India with clothes. Using 3 colours green, blue and red, I created a spiral effect and the map of India. From these images I then saved them as a png file so that I could alter them and use them in patterns for background details.
The next pattern I created was using lino and I cut out simple stamps of an elephant and a spinning wheel. The stamp for the bicycle was in my collection already so I used this to represent the transport. I then found a leaf stamp in my collection too so I used this as further decorative detail.
There were drafts that were simply not working because they were either too plain and boring or too garish and loud. I really wanted to go for a healthy balance so there were a number of do-overs.
I wanted to experiment as much as possible with this assignment and inject the lessons learned over the last while.
The key figures were an important aspect to feature so I printed off a number of google sourced portraits of the key figures.
Using a variety of portraits I then used a window and a page to sketch a loose image of the portraits. This was then photocopied to a5 and I used my bamboo slate to sketch over the image again and this png file was sent to my pc.
I then went about sketching various figures using photo references from the images from LIFE magazine that were captured at the time. These loose sketches were then scanned into the pc and a png file created for these too.
The patterns created were then adjusted and a mosaic effect or a pixel art form of the patterns, were created to mimic saris and material.
The process image shows you some of the images sourced for sketching and the patterns created using the various forms of png files from stamps and buttons. The images used were all sourced from a google image search for LIFE magazine images and Pinterest boards.
The final artwork is a combination of a lot of research and a process of adjusting the colours and tones with layers and masks. All the patterns are my own and the combination result is something I am very proud of. I found the process of creating the brochure fun and a little daunting at times.
The daunting aspect came when I got bogged down in the information that was to be included. The volume of research conducted for this was huge, and the information overload became apparent when I got to the end. I simply ended up unclear as to what was important information to include and what wasn’t.
For the brief having such a huge potential for interpretation, it was really important to note how much I really needed to get clear in order to finish the job. I tried not to focus on the ‘finishing the job’ type thinking and thought that if I was to ever create anything like this for real, the text would not be the focus.
However, I really wanted to do the telling of this part of history is the best way possible as I felt it was really important to make every attempt to get it right. I hadn’t been aware of the full extent of the violence and horror of this part of Indian history as it was glossed over in secondary school education as a ‘successful handover of power’.
From a visual perspective I wanted the illustrations to be friendly, accessible and honour the tone and vibrancy of a nation that has such colour and energy.
The final brochure and accompanying poster achieve this balance of a delicate expression of a difficult history while echoing the India we recognise today.