From: Rajput < >
Rt. Hon’ble Mr. David Cameron, MP
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
10 Downing Street, London, UK
Subject: Chilcot Enquiry and Partition of India
Dear Prime Minister,
The enquiry by Sir John Chilcot into the causes and repercussions of the Iraq war, bring home with great clarity the need of another such enquiry into granting freedom to India in 1947. There are important similarities with Partition of India, for example-
- The military action in Iraq was launched without duly considering the other options.
- There was incorrect Intelligence about Saddam Hussain’s weapons of mass destruction and about his intentions.
- The aftermath of the invasion was not thought through in depth.
- Effects on social harmony were overlooked.
- The destruction and economic ruin of the country were not foreseen.
- The loss of human lives was not properly assessed.
- Absurdity of Partitioning India.
I wish to take up these points in the same sequence as they impacted on India in 1947 when Britain was ruling the country.
- Partition was declared without any regard to, or consideration of, all other options open. It was imposed on India with undignified haste and thoughtlessness.
- There was incorrect Intelligence about the likelihood of civil war or revolt by the apparently “infuriated” Muslim bullies. During all the previous long centuries, even during the British rule, there was never any sign of Muslim separatism or rebellion against the Hindus, the natives of the land who happen to be the majority in population, too. Most Muslims living across India at that time would have rejected Partition had a Referendum been held.
Muslim leaders like Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan and Poet Laureate Sir Mohammed Iqbal used to sing praises of Hindustan (India). I quote a verse by Sir Mohammed, “Saare Jehan se achcha…,” (Our Hindustan is the best country on earth. We are the nightingales and it is our garden!”)
But such sentiment of fraternity was indirectly destroyed by the British rulers who encouraged Barrister Mohammed Ali Jinnah, earlier President of All-India Congress Party, to which both Mr. Gandhi and Pandit Nehru belonged, in his separatist (treasonous) aspirations!
It is common knowledge that Jinnah’s sudden passion for separatism was not only tolerated, but openly encouraged by the British rulers enjoying absolute power over the colony.
There was incorrect Intelligence about the real commitment to Pakistan by the Indian Muslims. No poll was taken among them and the Muslim League governments in one or two provinces had not contested the elections with Partition in their manifesto!
In fact, in one Muslim majority province, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the vast majority of Muslims were opposed to the creation of Pakistan. But they were sidelined by the British and completely ignored by Mr. Jinnah, the leader of the campaign for a separate homeland exclusively for the Indian Muslims to be carved out within the Indian borders.
Thus the British Intelligence about the break out of a devastating civil war between the Hindus and the Muslims was totally erroneous and faulty.
Life would have returned to normal after a couple of seditious leaders were arrested and sent to jail, and warning issued to the few other trouble makers to follow the secular law of land.
- The aftermath of that ill-conceived, ill-founded “bogus” and sectarian “partition” of the sub-continent, without referendum, without a single condition, was not thought through properly. Anyone with some knowledge of Indian history and love of humanity could have foreseen the consequences of creating new ideological fault lines where none existed before.
- The disastrous effect on social harmony: People who had lived side by side as neighbors now became enemies and turned on each other.
(a) The Sikhs:
People of India were not divided into separate compartments. The Sikhs lived in harmony with the others. But they bore the brunt of Partition, losing their heartland in West Punjab with Lahore, the former capital of the powerful Sikh Kingdom under Maharaja Ramjet Singh that extended to Khyber Pass and included Jammu & Kashmir, the holy city of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh Faith, the educational and cultural center Gujranwala, the birthplace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and, finally, the district of Lyallpur with its prosperous Sikh farmers who had transformed the marshes into lush green farmlands due to their diligence and hard work, were all surrendered without taking the Sikh interests into consideration, or considering their well-being, even safety, into account.
In the event the small but hard working and affluent Sikh community, that valiantly fought in the battles against the Afghans in NWFP, earning high praises by Winston Churchill, then a subaltern, and in all the theatres of World Wars 1 and 2, winning several Victoria Crosses for courage and gallantry, was totally wiped out in West Punjab in 1947.
The betrayal of Sikhs at Partition was a historic crime by the then Labor Government of the United Kingdom. One does not forsake or let down a brave community like this!
(b) The Muslims:
Those who were allowed, even “encouraged”, to demand a separate homeland for the Muslims (Pakistan) should have been made to realize the disastrous results for them and their Pakistan in the long run.
The thrill & joy of killing the “Infidels”, abducting and raping Hindu and Sikh girls, the rush to grab lands, farms and houses vacated by the Hindus and Sikhs and the gold and silver buried in their homes, soon turned into despair by doubt and confusion when Jinnah suddenly died of tuberculosis, lung cancer and pneumonia on 11 September 1948.
He had been the ideological brain behind the idea of Pakistan. None of the others was sure as to why he had got away with High Treason so lightly!
The second blow to the newly established fundamentalist Islamic State came with the assassination of Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan in Rawalpindi on 16 October 1951. That event was followed by long terms of successive military dictatorships when, instead of democracy, the people of Pakistan were “driven” by “gun and whip” by their military rulers.
Pakistan was in turmoil again when prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the founder of “Pakistan People’s Party” (PPP), was hanged to death on 4 April 1979 under the orders of Gen Zia-ul-Haq, the military dictator.
The last traumatic assassination was that of the popular prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, the 11th and 13th Prime Minister of Pakistan, on 27 December, 2007.
The civil war in Pakistan that resulted in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, going her own separate way, caused much suffering to the people, main brunt being borne by the Hindus who were especially targeted by the Pakistani army and the local fundamentalist Muslims. The plight of Hindus in Bangladesh still remains pathetic with no guarantee of safety.
Today Pakistan is a lawless land whose citizens have carried out murderous attacks both in America, the United Kingdom and India. Some have even travelled to Syria to fight for the brutal “Islamic State” there. The United States has declared Pakistan a “terrorist state”!
There can be no doubt that all the Muslims in the sub-continent would have been living peacefully, enjoying their life in peace and harmony like everyone else, had there been no Partition.
Finally, we look at the Muslims who did not migrate to Pakistan in 1947. They can never be accepted by their Hindu neighbors as equals, or trusted, after they stabbed the country in the back with a dagger.
Our British rulers had to visualize the tensions and the sense of insecurity among the Muslims of the sub-continent who find themselves divided into three segments, living in three different countries though they share common history, traditions, customs and religion. Their natural aspirations to re-unite and live together as they had done in India until 1947, ought NOT to have been ignored or underestimated by the then Labor Government under Mr. Clement Attlee.
(c) The State of Jammu & Kashmir
Partition also meant the most devastating blow to this beautiful State known as the “Switzerland of Asia”. Its peace was shattered on 22 October 1947 when Pakistani army and irregulars suddenly invaded the State, looting, killing and raping as they moved towards the capital Srinagar. It was the first of the four Indo-Pakistan Wars fought between the two newly independent nations as a direct result of Partition.
(d) The Hindus
Partition was a lethal blow to the original inhabitants of the land known for centuries as “Hindus,” the inhabitants of Hindustan (India). India’s fate was sealed by a couple of natives who were pushed for a quick decision by the Viceroy who himself was in a hurry to leave India.
The fate of the ancient land, a sub-continent, was decided within days! Even to buy a pair of shoes one has to pay the price. What price was paid to India for her FIVE provinces that went to fundamentalist Islam “for a song”? Wasn’t it the height of “indecency and vulgarity” shown by Mr. Attlee and his cabinet in London when absolutely no thought was given to the safety of the Hindus in West Pakistan and the dignity of their girls and women in East Pakistan? Furthermore, the great distance between the two parts of Pakistan meant that civil war, or war with India, was inevitable. What happened to British statesmanship then?
India is the land of origin of the Hindu religion, which is universal for manakind. It is where all their saints, holy men and women, and their role model God’s incarnations like Sri Krishna and Sri Rama were born, lived and preached.
In addition, all the Sikh Gurus, too, were born there. Thus India was repository of all the Hindu/ Sikh /Buddhist/ Jain scriptures, their ancient temples and ruins. All Faiths that originated in India have the same core message of “oneness of mankind and love and respect to all the living beings including the animals.”
Accordingly, the Hindus have been most tolerant of all Faiths, including Islam, Christianity and Judaism that came from the Middle East. Hence there was no justification whatsoever to break up such a model of multi-culture and multi-ethnicity as provided by India.
The Hindus regard Bharat (India) their most sacred and revered “motherland” and wish her well by praying for her prosperity and victory over evil. The current prime minister of India ends all his speeches with the call, “Bharat Mata Ki Jaya!” (literally, “Victory to Mother India”!).
At the so-called “Independence” talks that soon degenerated into “Partition talks” the Muslims were given a special seat while the Hindus were shunned since the All-India Congress Party of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mr. M K Gandhi had claimed to represent all the people of India, including the Hindus!
But while agreeing to the demand for Pakistan by the All-India Muslim League, the Hindus were “kicked in the teeth” and forced to give up one third of India to the Muslims! There could not have been worse betrayal of the Hindus by Mr. Attlee’s government!
In view of the above, Partition of India was in reality “unconditional surrender” of secular India to the fundamentalist Muslims- all supervised and approved by Mr. Attlee and his government.
The question is, “Was Partition necessary?” Only Mr. Attlee, the Labor Prime Minister could give the answer! He badly tarnished the image of this country in the minds of one billion Hindus living in the world since there are no two opinions among them when it comes to respecting the territorial integrity of India. Mr. Attlee ought to be regarded a criminal who destroyed India and caused grave offence to the Hindus besides the massacres and uprooting of tens of millions of innocent citizens with bitter memories to last till the end of time.
- The destruction and economic ruin of the country were not foreseen.
Partition created two mutually hostile countries out of one whole. British rulers were expected to foresee that enabling the Muslims to capture such large territories without any price, condition or guarantee, was bound to encourage the Muslims to continue with their “anti-Infidel Jihad” in order to subjugate the rest of India, too. It ought to have been obvious that after such a bitter and acrimonious “divorce” the two communities could not live amicably and peacefully side by side. Why did Mr. Attlee and his government agree to, and approve of, this ludicrous and absurd ”divorce”?
All the wars between the two countries have cost billions upon billions of pounds (trillions of rupees) on armaments and weapons of mass destruction since both Pakistan and India have nuclear arsenal now, each regarding the other as primary target.
Thousands of soldiers have lost their lives in these wars and due to the ongoing terrorism and incursions from across the border since 1947. There seems to be no end to this “war of attrition”.
The astronomical amount of money spent by these two poor developing countries on armaments and wars would have provided clean water, better schools and hospitals, clean streets and better roads.
- The loss of human lives was not properly assessed.
A rough estimate puts the number of people massacred in just two years, 1946 and 1947, over two million. This resulted in creating millions of widows and orphans who were condemned to start their lives afresh, and re-live the shock and trauma of violence for the rest of their lives.
Violence that accompanied Partition has no parallel in history. The photograph (below) is from ONE town. Similar scenes were repeated in over a hundred towns, cities and villages across West Punjab in that year. And photos alone do not tell us about the proud Sikh fathers who killed their own daughters minutes before being murdered by the frenzied surrounding mobs, nor do these show the trains arriving at Amritsar railway station with not one passenger alive but all mutilated- their blood flowing out of doors, nor, indeed, the families “roasted alive” to death in Multan and Lahore, when the mobs set fire to their homes and hacked to death anyone who ran out to escape the fire, and nor, indeed, the girls and women, stripped of all clothing, and then marched through the towns surrounded by howling & jeering mobs that brought total discredit to them and their Faith.
Similar carnage took place in several towns and villages across West Punjab. The photograph shows the mutilated and charred bodies of the once happy residents, lying in the street.
Nearly 15 million people were forced out of their homes in panic and fear, leaving everything behind. Banks were looted or set on fire, destroying all records. Rich and wealthy people became penniless overnight.
- Absurdity of partitioning India.
The new borders did not follow any natural features like hills or rivers. They ripped through the towns and cities that had existed without borders for centuries. The only criterion was MUSLIMS on one side and THE REST on the other. It is beyond belief that Britain, a democratic, secular and tolerant country could apply the crudest medieval yardstick of Dark Ages to cut & chop through the Indian countryside, separating the Muslims from the Rest and split and separated people like the residents of East and West Berlin during cold war in Europe.
I pray that Her Majesty’s government set up a similar Enquiry as the one conducted by Sir John Chilcot to look at all sides of Partition of India in order to establish the criminal act committed by Mr. Attlee and his Government in breaking up India instead of upholding her secular tradition and tolerant system of government that had existed prior to the illogical and ruinous break up of India.
The Enquiry should ascertain the responsibility of the British government under Mr. Attlee and recommend compensation to the survivors of those massacres that occurred in the power vacuum created by Mr Attlee’s criminal decision.
Someone equally bold, objective, impartial and fair as Sir John ought to be appointed to conduct the enquiry into the illogical and sectarian break up of India in 1947
Sd. & dated: ……………….
10 July 2016