Friday, March 26, 2021

Unforgivable inhuman atrocities of partition

 Unforgivable Inhuman Atrocities of Partition

Partition of India was a sad chapter of Indian History. Jinnah agreed for Cabinet Mission Plan of weak Centre and autonomous Provinces with divorce provision after ten years, and also the independence of princely states. Congress initially said yes but with the press our of Nehru in Mumbai of Liberty to change denied their agreement on a weak Central Government with four subjects only. Jinnah on other side was demanding no less than a Pakistan and declared that he held Constitution in one hand and Pistol in another. It had moved the Muslims on one side in favour of the independent nation and riots started following his Direct Action Day call of 16 August 1946. Kolkata killing of Hindus and Muslims followed by killings and atrocities over Hindus in Noakhali, followed by killings and atrocities over Muslims in Bihar, a chain of action reaction started. 

Muslim League won 73 of 86 Provincial Seats in Punjab (United) Assembly elections in 1945. 50 General seats went to Congress and 23 Shikh reserve seats went to Akali Dal. 10 other seats of SC, Chritian, Anglo-Indian were won by respected parties. Unionist Party of Punjab won only 14 seats. The party that won 101 of 179 seats in 1937 was shrinked to 14 seats in 1945. The communal agenda of Muslim League succeeded but couldn’t win the majority. Congress opted for the Government under Sir Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana. The political and communal atmosphere was hot in Punjab after the riots of direct action. Muslim League and its National Guards were active started agitations of protests and shouting slogans against Tiwana calling him dog, etc. Few incidents of violence took place in Lahore and Amritsar. On 26 February 1947, the PM of England Clement Attlee declared the transfer of powers by June 1948. The PM Tiwana then demoralised as he was dependent on British support. He, without taking anyone into confidence, resigned on the night of 2nd March 1947 at 10 PM. The State was left without head and went into anarchy. Master Tara Singh then on 3rd March 1947 at 10 AM moved out of assembly and shouted slogans of Pakistan Muradabad. One Hindu student was killed in police firing. Stabbing started in wall city of Lahore and fights started in Amritsar. On 5th March Nagar Sheth Kalyandas was killed with his family in Multan and his guest freedom fighter Saifuddin Kitchlew was left after checking his circumcision. Riots started in Rawalpindi on 5th March. Shikhs had upper hand on the first day in the city, but Muslim League changed its plan and encircled 100-200 Shikh villages around Rawalpindi and executes large scaled one sided brutal killings for seven days from 6th March to 12th March 1947. No police or army sent by the British Governor. 7000 to 10000 innocent people were killed. Women were rapped, their breasts were cut.. Some 40000 families were moved to Rawalpindi and some of them were migrated to East Punjab. 

The Sikhs and Hindus were owner of land and properties and were holding businesses in East Punjab. Banks were brought by British but due to the directives of Quran, Muslims opted to borrow or deposit money with their Hindu Sharafs. It was one of the temptations of debt relief and getting land and properties of Hindus if Pakistan was created. 

Partition was inevitable. Breakdown Plan prepared by Viceroy Wavell was ready on 27 December 1945 and Demarcation Plan of Borders based on census 1941 was also ready with the Viceroy Wavell on 7 February 1947. The same was mostly finalised by the Boundary Commissions made of HC Judges and Sir Cyril Radcliffe prepared the Partition Map and submitted on 9 August 1947, split Punjab and Bengal almost in half. Gurudaspur was marked with India in both the documents to attach Amritsar with India leaving one of the four tehsils Sakkargarh to Pakistan. It is to note that land of Golden Temple Amritsar was granted by Emperor Akbar and the foundation stone of the temple was laid by Sufi Muslim Saint Miyan Mir. Muslims were in majority in Amritsar city but Sikhs Hindu were in majority in the district. Lahore city had majority Shikh and Hindu population but they were only 30% in the district. Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Cant, Firozpur had majority Muslim populations in cities but Sikhs and Hindus were in majority in districts. Murshidabad was a Muslim majority district and Rajshahi was a Hindu majority district but on the principle of contagious boundary Murshidabad came to India and Rajshahi went to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Sylhet went to East Pakistan by referendum. 

Lord Mountbatten came to execute the will and wish of British paramountcy safeguarding the interests of British in the Indian continent. They didn’t want Russian Red Army to move towards warm water of Arabian Sea. Broken very badly in WW-II, they were in need of the support of strong and big Indian Army, in case of future wars. They didn’t want to divide Indian Army and were therefore against the partition initially but when Cabinet Mission Plan failed, and saw India was going under Nehru who was considered pro Russia, they opted out for Jinnah’s Pakistan with British Air-Army base in Pakistan with an access to Karachi port. Leaders of both the parties agreed for their membership with Commonwealth. It was planned to have one Governor General for both the Countries to see smooth transfer of powers, but Jinnah denied Mountbatten and he became the GG of Pakistan. That made somewhat Mountbatten favourable to Indian affaires as a Head of the Goverment of Independent India. 

Mountbatten did try to organise a meeting of Muslim League and Shikh leaders to talk on united Punjab in August 1947 and Jinnah did offer a blank cheque to Maharaja of Patiala to have their independent Shikh State with Army of own but to join Pakistan, and promised that no atrocities would happen to Shikh as Jinnah’s word would be respected as the words of Allah in Pakistan. But Shikhs realised that if it was so than why his words didn’t prevent the killings of innocent Shikhs around Rawalpindi in March 1947. They didn’t opt for 8% space in the population of Pakistan but opted for 2% space in the population of India. As Indian Army was made of 40% of Muslims and that mostly went to Pakistan after the partition, it was Shikhs in the army, who protected India against the western attacks. 

The Partition Plan was ready on 13 August 1947, but was announced on 17 August 1947 after the ceremonies of newly formed two dominions got over. Then the mass migrations started with communal violences and massacre of some 8 lakh people in both the parts east and west Punjab. Except few thousand Muslims in Malerkotla saved by the words of Guru Gobind Singh (the Nawab of Malerkotla Bayazid Khan disobeyed the order of Emperor Aurangzeb and didn’t arrest the sons of Guru Gobind Singh), large scale killings of Muslims carried out. It was a revenge of Rawalpindi killing of March 1947 and post independence killings of Hindu and Sikhs in west Pakistan. It was estimated that some 3 lakh or more Hindus and Shikhs were killed in West Punjab and some 5 lakh Muslims were killed in East Punjab. 1.45 crore people were displaced. Humans of the same race, blood and ancestors were cruel and fanatic under the influence of the religion. Were they human? 

It was not only a partition of land but was a partition of hearts and minds.. It was a partition of two cultures, Punjabi in the East and Bengali in the West. When will the continent re-unite under the umbrella like Cabinet Mission Plan in SARC format and spend their budget more on development and less on defence? With three independent nations having independent governments, can’t they unite and operate like European Union with one currency and trilateral opening up of trade, commerce, education and tourism? 


19 May 2020


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