In his book "Remembering Partition", author Gyanendra Pandey raises a question about the use of the word "partition" to describe the events of 1947.
I raise the question of nomenclature at the outset in order to stress the fact that our very choice of the terms determines not only the images we construct but also the questions we ask about historical events. Shall we continue to think of 1947 as a constitutional division... Or shall we face up to the enormity of the violence and the incredible acts of rape, torture and humiliation? Shall we call it 'civil war', recognizing the fact that there were well organized local forces on both sides and a concerted attempt to wipe out entire population as enemies?... More to the point, the term captures something of the gravity of what happened in the subcontinent at this time that is not usually conveyed in the somwhat mild and, in the Indian context, hackneyed term, 'partition'.