'Remembering the horror of partition day': Distorting history and dividing people for electoral gains

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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India is much older than 75 years and hence its leaders need to speak the language of maturity and reasoning. Unfortunately, the prime minister and his government are least bothered about governance and more about elections.

To declare August 14th as the ‘remembering the horror of partition day‘ is nothing but deliberately creating an atmosphere of mistrust and disharmony. We all know the horrors of partition and there are issues that can be discussed.

History is becoming a tool to settle scores today and it seems Modi and his team are still not satisfied with the huge mandate they got. Both Muslims and Christians history in India is over 700 years old and we fought and we lived together. If there are examples of hatred, killings and communal disturbances, there are examples of mutual love, affections and caring. it is up to your which example you would like to pick up and narrate. Of course, people learn from the wrongs of the past but to harass and humiliate others for the historical wrongs which everyone has a different narrative, would only divide the society further.

Whether you agree with it or not, whether Jinnah was great or not, whether Pakistan succeeded or not, whether it is a democracy or not, it is a reality. A neighbour which we cannot really ‘delete’, even if we wish to. Don’t forget, Afghanistan is in a bigger crisis and will bring more headaches for India today than Pakistan. With the Taliban growing its head, India must prepare for a long-term strategy but this hates Muslim politics of Sangh Parivar will only defeat India’s foreign policy.

In 75 years, we have debated a lot as to who opposed partition and who did not. We discussed heroes and villains.

We all have our own narratives and feel good about that. History has become the biggest casualty. Our prime minister wants us to remember the ‘horrors of partition’ yes if we learn it correctly then the only way is to honour the rule of law, build an inclusive society and eliminate inequality and prejudices.

Yes, Partition brought horrors. Yes, we need to learn our lessons but is not it a fact that India decided to move ahead forgetting it. Our constitutional forefathers were aware of it and they never ‘accepted’ it.

India did not decide to become a Hindu Rashtra despite Pakistan openly become an Islamic state. The best lessons from both states are clear. Pakistan degenerated because the Muslim fanatics there ignored the wise words of Mohammad Ali Jinnah who wanted an inclusive Pakistan. India was fortunate enough where the visionary leadership of Jawahar Lal Nehru, who was the one individual among so many in the world, who ensured India remain a democracy despite all its flaws and faults. In this age when Nehru is being decried for everything, it is important to give the credit to him. If India is a democracy today or in whatever shape, you must give credit to Nehru.

Hence, it would have been a different thing if Prime Minister Nehru had said the thing that ‘remembering the horrors of Partition’ where he has the strength to condemn and reject the extremist of any variety whether Hindus or Muslim. He was the person who could stand in front of his car during the riots in Delhi and tell people to shoot him first before touching the minorities. Yes, a call in this regard from Nehru would mean, we should not allow history to judge people. We should not allow historical incidents to humiliate people. After all, the Sangh Parivar and its element had not played any glorious role to bring us freedom.

But when Narendra Modi wants us to remember these horrors of partition what does it mean. What is the meaning of it? And we all know that the only research the Sangh Parivar and its ‘experts’ are doing these days to bring the ‘Hindu-Muslim’ binary for the upcoming elections. That suits them well. So, you discuss the horrors and tell the world that Muslims created Pakistan. While this theory itself is questionable the point is what will you aim at humiliating your own citizens.

The problem is the prime minister does not speak. His party has uttered not a single word when an Indian citizen is wounded by hatred. Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Danish and so many murders, the humiliation that is happening in the name of cow slaughtering, beef-eating and so on and on. We have not heard a single statement of condemnation.

Let us forget who were the killers. Let us say that they were anonymous killers even then it is the duty of the state leaders to speak up against the incident. So, you are creating a partition in the minds of people every day which is much more dangerous than what would have happened in 1947. We were forgetting that countries don’t build upon a religious basis.

The story of partition only tells us that you cannot divide a civilisation on a religious basis. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs have their motherland here. They have lived for centuries. They contributed to our growth. Their identity is indivisible from the idea of India.

Pakistan became a nation on a religious basis but could not sustain it because East Pakistan decided to get away from it and we saw the rise of Bangladesh in 1971. Religious rights have made the life of common Pakistani’s hell.

The Islamic laws unleashed by General Zia ul-Haq only hurt Muslims and gave him the authority to rule the country. Before Zia, Pakistan was economically better off than India but today the Islamic zealots only destroyed Pakistan as its economy is in shambles and its elite class return to Pakistan from the US and UK to just fight elections and rule the country. Pakistan is the best example for all of us why a theocratic society destroys itself first. It won’t be able to do anything against the so-called ‘enemy’.

Yes, India grew because it did not become a Hindu Pakistan. It grew because its leadership opted for a secular socialist republican constitution that was inclusive and gave the opportunity to all. It grew because it did not impose one nation, one language and one culture on all. It grew because it was relatively governed through rule of law. It grew because there was an opportunity for all.

But where are we heading towards? When the people come close to each other and forget those painful tales, you decide to create more divisions. When polarisation and division become the only ‘governance’ then what happens? What will India gain if we too follow the path of General Zia ul Haq?  Pakistan failed because its leaders were obsessed with India. They wanted to prove that the two-nation theory was right but they could not do so because a large number of Pakistani liberals actually appreciated Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Today, we have become obsessed with Pakistan. 

The division and polarisation and rabble-rousing here only help those who shout in the same language against the Hindus. A theocratic society will only kill itself; it oppresses women and marginalises as feudal caste supremacists run the day. It creates multiple layers of powerful people whose only work is to keep the pot boiling so that they enjoy the power. In the end, it hurt the interest of the nation. If a nation is not at peace with itself, how will it progress? Merely rhetoric will not take us further. India will only progress and become stronger if it is inclusive and if the constitution of India is implemented in letter and spirit and where our political executive behaves more naturedly and respect the rule of law.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

August 15th, 2021

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