The midnight of August 14, when India was waking up ‘to life and freedom’, there was a small town in West Bengal that was going through confusion and sadness.

Indian Express

The residents of the place could not believe what they had just heard on the radio.

Parts of their town, Malda, were now a part of East Pakistan.


In an interview given to the Times of India, a witness from that time Kamal Basak said:

It was perhaps the worst of times. When we heard the radio announcement on the midnight of August, there was confusion all around. We could not believe our ears when we heard that some parts of Malda were going to be under Pakistan. 

Everything was unclear, actually. 

According to the reports, it was not certain as to which side of the border the district will go because partition award, announced by Sir Radcliffe, did not make any direct point regarding the matter.


Finally, after efforts from a few representatives of the public, it was announced on the night of August 17 that the district will come over to West Bengal.

India Rail Info

However, one of the sub-divisions called Nawabganj was given to East Pakistan as a part of Rajshahi district which now falls in Bangladesh.


It is doubtful when the district celebrates Independence Day, with some sites saying it’s 17th of August and others saying it’s the 18th.

WB Publibnet

It is clear, though, that for a few days a few hundred Indians were terrified by the prospect of getting a new nationality. 


During the time of confusion, it was natural for people to have the fear of communal violence. Talking about it Basak said:

We were told to boil water in large pots so that we could protect our families, especially the women, from a possible attack.
The New York Times

Partition was a difficult time for people on both the sides of the border and these lesser known stories are just a reminder of that.