Wednesday, August 15, 2007

India: Partition of a soul

Millions were displaced and killed in the chaos after partition of India in 1947.

I can never forgive the colonist British for their final blow to the jewel in their crown. They proved a simple policy: If we cannot keep it, we will hand it to you in tatters.

People tell of millions of scared Hindus fleeing the suddenly declared ‘Islamic Pakistan’ side of Punjab. Someone said that the train loads of dead bodies kept on arriving till the Hindu leaders on the Indian side of Amritsar border sent a trainload of Muslims dead or near dead.

An article on provides glimpses into the mayhem during the partition.

The entire act was wrong, say papers unearthed by the son of the now deceased Mr. Beaumont who was private secretary to the then senior British judge, Sir Cyril Radcliffe (the chairman of the Indo-Pakistan Boundary Commission) in 1947.

Radcliffe was responsible for dividing the vast territories of British India into India and Pakistan, separating 400 million people along religious lines.

"The Punjab partition was a disaster," he writes.

"Geography, canals, railways and roads all argued against dismemberment.

"The trouble was that Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were an integrated population so that it was impossible to make a frontier without widespread dislocation.

"Thousands of people died or were uprooted from their homes in what was in effect a civil war.

As an Indian who has never experienced the pain of partition but has seen it in the eyes of hundreds of survivors, I feel even if the Queen were to apologize, it is not enough. Sindhis lost their entire motherland. The Sindhu river civilization is the oldest and most developed one in archaeological terms, mind you.

Mohenjodaro- The excavations pertaining to ancient India (Sindh) that once thrilled the archaeologists, now in an unconnected surrounding and hold- that of Pakistan.

Today’s Kandhahar, which was the erstwhile Gandhar province of Prince Shakuni of Mahabharatha, is in Afghanistan now. Manasarovar, the Hindu pilgrimage spot is in China held Tibet.

India was a religion, a brotherhood and a way of life…untill the mayhem of Mughal and Arabic invasions destroyed it and the British served the final blow.

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