Independence Day 2022: On 17th August 1947, just a couple of days after India's independence from the British, the Radcliffe Line was declared as the boundary between India and Pakistan. The line was named after Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who was commissioned to divide the two countries by 4,50,000 km sq of territory with 88 million people.
The line was drawn by Radcliffe, who was a British lawyer. Interestingly, it was his first ever trip to India. He was given a month's time to finish the job when he arrived in the country on July 8, 1947. He and his team demarcated the border on the basis of religious demography, along with other factors like strategic roads and irrigation patterns.
Radcliffe's team was responsible to create the boundaries over Punjab and West Bengal on the basis of ascertaining the contiguous majority areas of Muslims and non-Muslims.
Modern-day Pakistan provinces of Baluchistan and Sindh had a clear Muslim majority, and they were taken into the country. The issue was the two Indian states - Punjab and Bengal - which had 55% and 54% Muslim populations respectively.
Hence, the British team decided that the Western part of Punjab became part of West Pakistan and the Eastern part became part of India (Eastern Punjab was later divided into three other Indian states). Bengal was divided into East Bengal (which became part of Pakistan) and West Bengal, which remained in India. After Independence, the North West Frontier Province (located near Afghanistan) voted with a decision to join Pakistan.
Both Muslim League and Indian National Congress had put forward their demands before the commission, and when the division was finalised, both had to compromise. The new borders were formed and resulted in one of the biggest human migrations in modern history. Over 14 million people were displaced and more than one million people were killed.