On 15 August 1947, India became an independent country, with official ceremonies taking place in New Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru assuming the office of the prime minister, and Viceroy Mountbatten staying on as the country's first Governor-General.
Mahatma Gandhi had ensured that India achieved freedom from more than two centuries of colonial rule after a multi-faceted non-violent struggle for independence.
But the massacres began soon after the British announced partition. Leaders on both sides wanted the countries to be allies like the U.S. and Canada are. But the subcontinent descended quickly into riots and bloodshed.
Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan, a country that would be Muslim-controlled. About 14 million people are estimated to have fled their homes. Estimates of the number of people killed in those months range between 200,000 and 2 million.
The legacy of that violent separation has endured, resulting in a bitter rivalry between India and Pakistan.