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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Full coverage: India and Pakistan's independence days

A full round-up of all we've written on the two countries' independence days


                  <p>An Indian girl who has colors of the Indian flag painted on forehead smiles to camera near the venue of Independence Day parade in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. India commemorated its Independence in 1947 from British colonial rule, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)</p>
<p>An Indian girl who has colors of the Indian flag painted on forehead smiles to camera near the venue of Independence Day parade in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. India commemorated its Independence in 1947 from British colonial rule, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)</p>

On Sunday, the day before Pakistan's independence day, Pakistan's ambassador to the UAE, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, wrote that the country had "so much to be proud of".

"Even though, in the history of nations, 70 years is but a flicker of time, it does signify in our context the coming of age of a nation that was birthed in the face of existential challenges, and has confronted and surmounted tremendous odds," he wrote.

Read more: Pakistan independence: 'we have every reason to look to tomorrow with optimism'

On Monday August 14, the day of Pakistan's independence, we marked the occasion with a special report from journalist Taimur Khan, who recounted his grandfather's role in Partition and explored how Pakistan has fared, 70 years after its birth.

"As India won independence from Britain, the state of Pakistan came into being, a nation carved out of the subcontinent as a homeland for India's Muslims," he said.

Read more: Pakistan: 70 years after Partition

We gathered the best moments of celebrations from around the world and across Pakistan.

"Pakistan kicked off a day of celebrations on Monday marking 70 years of statehood and independence, the festivities beginning with gun salutes in the capital, Islamabad, and in each of the four provincial capitals."

Read more: Pakistan marks 70 years of independence - in pictures

Pakistan marks 70 years of independence with gun salutes and festivities

The younger generation should know the stories of sacrifices made in the struggle for freedom, says one reader. Asif Hassan / AFP
The younger generation should know the stories of sacrifices made in the struggle for freedom, says one reader. Asif Hassan / AFP

The following day, on August 15, it was India's turn to celebrate.

Our correspondent in India, Samanth Subramanian, filed a special report on the country's achievements since breaking free from British rule - but how it has still not fulfilled its essential duty of uniting its citizens.

"Celebrations of India’s independence are always laced thickly with sorrow, but especially so this year. The struggle that won India its freedom from the British on August 15, 1947, was conducted in the name of non-violence, the central pillar of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy. And yet, when freedom arrived, it did so awash with blood," he wrote from India.

Read more: India: 70 years of independence

We then invited politician and acclaimed author Shashi Tharoor to write about India's past and its present. Mr Tharoor charted a journey from India in the 1800s, to where it is today, and all the changes inbetween.

"British colonial rule ended at the moment of what India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, hailed as its “tryst with destiny”. What had once been one of the richest and most industrialised economies of the world, which together with China accounted for almost 75 per cent of world industrial output in 1750, had been reduced by the depredations of imperial rule to one of the poorest, most backward, illiterate and diseased societies on Earth by the time of independence in 1947."

Read more: Profound transformation and extraordinary stories: India's incredible journey from independence to modern nation

Indian students perform in a cultural program during India's Independence Day celebrations in Bangalore, India. Jagadeesh NZ / EPA.
Indian students perform in a cultural program during India's Independence Day celebrations in Bangalore, India. Jagadeesh NZ / EPA.

Our columnist Rashmee Roshan Lall explored India and Pakistan's rivalry, noting while the two neighbouring nations share much in common, rivalry has grown more resistant to reconciliation efforts in the decades since independence.

"India and Pakistan ran into the 70th birthday blues this week, which is to say a milestone that has none of the excitement or life-changing portentous of a 21st, 50th, 75th or a 100th anniversary. In fact, for a 70th birthday to be significant at all, it should have been achieved in the Mark Twain way, 'by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else'."

Read more: Pakistan and India at 70: Is this a moment to be proud or to mourn lost opportunities?

We then compiled a collection of the best visuals from across India, as people took to the streets in celebration, and Prime minister Narendra Modi said 'security is India's top priority' during his Independence Day address at the Red Fort in New Delhi.

Read more: India marks Independence Day - in pictures

We also covered the news of the new museum on the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in Amritsar - the first of its kind, dedicated to the stories and memorabilia of those who survived that chaotic and bloody chapter in history.

'If you look at any other country in the world, they've all memorialised the experiences that have defined and shaped them. Yet this event that has so deeply shaped not only our subcontinent but millions of individuals who were impacted has had no museum or memorial 70 years later,' said Mallika Ahluwalia, the museum's chief executive.

Read more: India opens first Partition museum, 70 years after bloody event

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