Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  57 minutes
Date:  1987
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Panjabi; Urdu; Hindi; Bengali
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Division of Hearts

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Ordinary people from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh recount their tumultuous experiences after the 1947 British subdivision of colonial India.

Division of Hearts

The 1947 British subdivision of colonial India into Pakistan and the independent Indian nation caused the loss of 500,000 lives and the relocation of millions-one of the most extensive movement of peoples ever.

After centuries of coexistence, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims became victims of mutual suspicion as violence swept through the countryside. The resulting mass relocations of these groups transformed village populations overnight.

In DIVISION OF HEARTS ordinary people from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh - cartdrivers, laborers, tradespeople, farmers - tell this history and recount their own tumultuous experiences. Their memories, combined with archival news film, bear witness to the traumatic birth of two independent nations.

'The real success of this well-produced film is that the refugees' repeated 'why?' and 'what was achieved by this division of hearts?' finds a responsive echo within our own hearts when we view the communal strife in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and in India itself where Sikhs were burnt alive in the haven to which they fled at Partition.' -The Sikh Messenger

'Tells the survivors' stories in graphic and realistic descriptions and visuals. Recommended.' -Landers Film and Video Reviews

'Poignant... an interesting video well worth viewing by South Asian scholars and students.' -W.W. Reinhardt, Choice

'Pick of the Day... An extraordinary slice of history.' -Elizbeth Cowley, Daily Mail (London)


Main credits

Chappell, Peter (film director)
Chappell, Peter (film producer)
Chappell, Peter (cinematographer)
Khanna, Satti (screenwriter)
Khanna, Satti (film director)

Other credits

Camera, Peter Chappell; editor, Martin Roche.

Distributor credits

A Video by Satti Khanna and Peter Chappell

Docuseek2 subjects

South Asia
Human Geography
Asian Studies

Distributor subjects

Cultural Anthropology
Global Studies
History (World)
Human Geography
South Asia


Pakistan; India; Bangladesh; partition; migration; forced migration; Indian; creation; South Asia; division; subdivision; 1947; upheaval; regional; refugees; documentary; film; video; subcontinent; Independence of India; raj; communal; violence; borders; DVD; regional geography; human populations; political history; historical geography; "Division of Hearts"; Icarus Films;

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