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Kashmiriyat: Healing The Soul by Sushil Kumar Kaul, Arazbegi - 5

14 Jun 2022

Kashmiriyat: Healing The Soul by Sushil Kumar Kaul, Arazbegi - 5
Partition of India
The Partition of India involved division of pre-August 1947 British India into two independent sovereign countries India and Pakistan. Incidentally, the partition saw the division of two big states Bengal and Punjab, based on district wise Muslim or Non-Muslim majorities. The partition also involved the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury. The partition was outlined in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the Crown rule in India. The two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan legally came into existence at midnight on 15 August 1947.
Immediately thereafter began one of the greatest migrations in human history, as millions of Muslims trekked to West and East Pakistan (the latter now known as Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction. Many hundreds of thousands never made it. Across the Indian subcontinent, communities that had coexisted for almost a millennium attacked each other in a terrifying outbreak of sectarian violence, with Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other, a mutual genocide as unexpected as it was unprecedented. 
In Punjab and Bengal, provinces abutting India’s borders with West and East Pakistan, respectively, the carnage was especially intense, with massacres, arson, forced conversions, mass abductions, and savage sexual violence. Some seventy-five thousand women were reportedly raped, and many of them were then disfigured or dismembered.
The partition displaced between 10 and 20 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions. There was large-scale violence, with estimates of the loss of life accompanying or preceding the partition disputed and varying between several hundred thousand and two million. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that affects their relationship even to this day.
On 14 August, 1947, the new Pakistan came into being with Muhammad Ali Jinnah sworn in as its first Governor-General in Karachi. The following day, 15 August 1947, new India, became an independent country, with official ceremonies taking place in New Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru assuming the office of Prime Minister, and with Viceroy Mountbatten staying on as the country’s first Governor General. Gandhi remained in Bengal to work with the new refugees from the partitioned subcontinent.
Within British India, the border between India and Pakistan (the Radcliffe Line) was determined by a British Government-commissioned report prepared under the chairmanship of a London barrister, Sir Cyril Radcliffe. Pakistan came into being with two non-contiguous enclaves, East Pakistan (today Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, separated geographically by India. India was formed out of the majority Hindu regions of British India and Pakistan from the majority Muslim areas.
On 18 July 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that finalized the arrangements for partition and abandoned British suzerainty over the princely states, of which there were several hundred, leaving them free to choose whether to accede to one of the new dominions or to remain independent outside both. The Government of India Act 1935 was adapted to provide a legal framework for the new dominions. Following its creation as a new country in August 1947, Pakistan applied for membership of the United Nations and was accepted by the General Assembly on 30 September 1947. The Dominion of India continued to have the existing seat as India had been a founding member of the United Nations since 1945.
The trickiest part of the Partition plan was dividing the big provinces of Punjab and Bengal between India amd Pakistan. Punjab - the region of the five rivers east of Indus viz; - Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej, consists of inter-fluvial doabs (‘two rivers’) or tracts of land lying between two confluent rivers viz; the Sindh-Sagar doab (between Indus & Jhelum), Jech doab (Jhelum-Chenab), Rechna doab (Chenab-Ravi), Bari doab (Ravi-Beas) and the Bist doab (Beas-Sutlej).
In early 1947, in the months leading up to the deliberations of the Punjab Boundary Commission, the main disputed areas appeared to be in the Bari and Bist doabs. However, some areas in the Rechna doab were claimed by the Congress and Sikhs. In the Bari doab, the districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Lahore, and Montgomery were all disputed. All districts (other than Amritsar, which was 46.5% Muslim) had Muslim majorities; albeit, in Gurdaspur, the Muslim majority, at 51.1%, was slender. At a smaller area-scale, only three tehsils (sub-units of a district) in the Bari doab had non-Muslim majorities: Pathankot, in the extreme north of Gurdaspur, which was not in dispute; and Amritsar and Tarn Taran in Amritsar district. Nonetheless, there were four Muslim-majority tehsils east of Beas-Sutlej – in two of which where Muslims outnumbered Hindus and Sikhs together.
Before the Boundary Commission began formal hearings, governments were set up for the East and the West Punjab regions. Their territories were provisionally divided by “notional division” based on simple district majorities. In both the Punjab and Bengal, the Boundary Commission consisted of two Muslim and two non-Muslim judges with Sir Cyril Radcliffe as a common chairman. The mission of the Punjab commission was worded generally as “To demarcate the boundaries of the two parts of Punjab, based on ascertaining the contiguous majority areas of Muslims and non-Muslims. In doing so, it will take into account other factors.” Each side (the Muslims and the Congress/Sikhs) presented its claim through counsel with no liberty to bargain. The judges, too, had no mandate to compromise, and on all major issues they “divided two and two, leaving Sir Cyril Radcliffe the invidious task of making the actual decisions.”
Massive population exchanges occurred between the two newly formed states in the months immediately following the partition. There was no anticipation that population transfers would be necessary because of the partitioning. Religious minorities were expected to stay put in the states they found themselves residing in. However, an exception was made for Punjab, where the transfer of populations was organized because of the communal violence affecting the province, this did not apply to other provinces. 
The states which were most affected by the partition of India were - 
Punjab - The partition of British India split the former British province of Punjab between the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became Pakistan’s Punjab province & the mostly Hindu and Sikh eastern part became India’s East Punjab state (later divided into new Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh). Many Hindus and Sikhs lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and the fears of all such minorities were so great that the Partition saw many people displaced and much inter-communal violence. Some have described the violence in Punjab as a retributive genocide. Total migration across Punjab during the partition is estimated at around 12 million people; around 6.5 million Muslims moved from East Punjab to West Punjab, and 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from West Punjab to East Punjab.
The newly formed governments had not anticipated, and were completely unequipped for a two-way migration of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the new India-Pakistan border. Estimates of the number of deaths vary, with low estimates at 200,000 and high estimates at 2,000,000. The worst case of violence among all regions is concluded to have taken place in Punjab. Virtually no Muslim survived in East Punjab (except in Malerkotla and virtually no Hindu or Sikh survived in West Punjab.
Lawrence James observed that “Sir Francis Mudie, the governor of West Punjab, estimated that 500,000 Muslims died trying to enter his province, while the British high commissioner in Karachi put the full total at 800,000. This makes nonsense of the claim by Mountbatten and his partisans that only 200,000 were killed”. 
A study of the total population inflows and outflows in the districts of Punjab, puts the total of missing people, due to partition-related migration along the Punjab border, to around 2.2 million. Another study of the demographic consequences of partition in the Punjab region using the 1931, 1941 and 1951 censuses concluded that between 2.3 and 3.2 million people went missing in the Punjab.
Bengal- Partition of Bengal (1947) - The province of Bengal was divided into the two separate entities of West Bengal, awarded to the Dominion of India, and East Bengal, awarded to the Dominion of Pakistan. East Bengal was renamed East Pakistan in 1955, and later became the independent nation of Bangladesh after the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. The Muslim majority Murshidabad and Malda were given to India & the Hindu majority Khulna and the Buddhist majority (but sparsely populated) Chittagong Hill tracts were given to Pakistan by the Radcliffe award. 
Thousands of Hindus, located in the districts of East Bengal, which were awarded to Pakistan, found themselves being attacked, and this religious persecution forced hundreds of thousands of Hindus from East Bengal to seek refuge in India. The massive influx of Hindu refugees into Calcutta affected the demographics of the city. Many Muslims left the city for East Pakistan, and the refugee families occupied some of their homes and properties.
Chittagong Hill Tracts- Buddhist majority Chittagong Hill Tracts was given to Pakistan even though the British Parliament or the Indian Independence Act 1947 did not give mandate to the Boundary Commission to separate the Chittagong Hill Tracts from India. In 1947, Chittagong Hill Tracts had 98.5% Buddhist and Hindu majority. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, Indian province of Bengal was divided into West Bengal and East Bengal on religious ground. Chittagong Hill Tracts was an excluded area since 1900 and was not part of Bengal. Chittagong Hill Tracts had no representative at the Bengal Legislative Assembly in Calcutta, since it was not part of Bengal.
On 15 August 1947, Chakma and other indigenous Buddhists celebrated Independence Day by hoisting Indian flag in Rangamati, the capital of Chittagong Hill Tracts. When the boundaries of Pakistan and India were announced by radio on 17 August 1947, they were shocked to know that the Chittagong Hill Tracts had been awarded to Pakistan. East Pakistan viewed the indigenous Buddhist people as pro-India and systematically discriminated against them in jobs, education, trade and economic opportunities. The situation of indigenous people became worse after the emergence of  Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladesh government sponsored hundreds of thousands of Muslim settlers to migrate to Chittagong Hill Tracts with the purpose of changing the demographic profile of the region. Bangladesh government sent tens of thousands of armed forces personnel to protect the Muslim settlers and suppress the indigenous Buddhist resistance. Bangladeshi armed forces and Muslim settlers committed more than 20 massacres in Chittagong Hill Tracts, numerous rapes, extrajudicial killings, tortures, forcible conversions, land grabs.
Sindh- At the time of partition, the majority of Sindh’s prosperous upper and middle class was Hindu. The Hindus were mostly concentrated in cities and formed the majority of the population in cities including Hyderabad, Karachi, Shikarpur, and Sukkur. During the initial months after partition, only some Hindus migrated. However, by late 1947 and early 1948, the situation began to change. Large numbers of Muslim refugees from India started arriving in Sindh and began to live in crowded refugee camps. 
On 6 December 1947, communal violence broke out in Ajmer in India, precipitated by an argument between some Sindhi Hindu refugees and local Muslims in the Dargah Bazaar. Violence in Ajmer again broke out in the middle of December with stabbings, looting and arson resulting in mostly Muslim casualties. Many Muslims fled across the Thar Desert to Sindh in Pakistan. This sparked further anti-Hindu riots in Hyderabad, Sindh. On 6 January anti-Hindu riots broke out in Karachi, leading to an estimated 1100 casualties. The arrival of Sindhi Hindu refugees in North Gujarat’s town of Godhra in March 1948 again sparked riots there which led to more emigration of Muslims from Godhra to Pakistan. These events triggered the large scale exodus of Hindus. An estimated 1.2 - 1.4 million Hindus migrated to India primarily by ship or train. 
Despite the migration, a significant Sindhi Hindu population still resides in Pakistan’s Sindh province, where they number at around 2.3 million as per Pakistan’s 1998 census. Some districts in Sindh had a Hindu majority like Tharparkar District, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Badin, but these have decreased drastically due to persecution. Due to the religious persecution of Hindus in Pakistan, Hindus from Sindh are still migrating to India.
Gujarat- There was no mass violence in Gujarat as there was in Punjab and Bengal. However, Gujarat experienced large refugee migrations. Estimated 340,000 Muslims migrated to Pakistan, of which 75% went to Karachi largely due to business interests. The number of incoming refugees was quite large, with over a million people migrating to Gujarat. These Hindu refugees were largely Sindhi and Gujarati.
Delhi- For centuries Delhi had been the capital of the Mughal Empire from Babur to the successors of Aurangzeb and previous Turkic Muslim rulers of North India. The series of Islamic rulers keeping Delhi as a stronghold of their empires left a vast array of Islamic architecture in Delhi, and a strong Islamic culture permeated the city. In 1911, when the British Raj shifted their colonial capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the nature of the city began changing. The core of the city was called ‘Lutyens’ Delhi, named after the British architect Edwin Lutyens, and was designed to service the needs of the small but growing population of the British elite. Nevertheless, the 1941 census listed Delhi’s population as being 33.2% Muslim.
As refugees began pouring into Delhi in 1947, the city was ill-equipped to deal with the influx of refugees who spread themselves out wherever they could. They thronged into camps, colleges, temples, gurudwaras, dharmshalas, military barracks, and gardens. 
By 1950, the government began allowing squatters to construct houses in certain portions of the city. As a result, areas such as Lajpat Nagar and Patel Nagar sprang into existence, which carry a distinct Punjabi character to this day. However, as thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from Punjab fled to the city, upheavals ensued as communal pogroms rocked the historical stronghold of Indo-Islamic culture and politics.
Tens of thousands of Muslims were driven to refugee camps regardless of their political affiliations, and numerous historical sites in Delhi such as the Purana Qila, Idgah, and Nizamuddin were transformed into refugee camps. In fact, many Hindu and Sikh refugees eventually occupied the abandoned houses of Delhi’s Muslim inhabitants.  At the culmination of the tensions in Delhi, 330,000 Muslims had migrated to Pakistan. The 1951 Census registered a drop of the Muslim population in the city from 33.2% in 1941 to 5.3% in 1951.
The consequences of partition of India on religious lines as broadly outlined above led to hundreds & thousands of Hindus living in the territories now included in Pakistan to abandon their homes & properties & leave for India. Pakistan came into being as a new country with Islam as its state religion while India decided to continue with its state policy of secularism. Many Muslims living in India similarly were either forced out or chose to exercise their choice & left to be part of the Muslim Pakistan.
The partition of India led to a major communal conflagration & a human tragedy of humongous proportions. Hundreds & thousands of citizens of all sub nationalities & religious groups living in & along the newly aligned borders were displaced & rendered homeless. They were forcibly evicted from their homes, their properties looted & usurped. Women were raped, men brutalized & massacred, all in the name of new found separate national identities & religious preferences. 
In 1947 the majority sections of leaders of Congress were reportedly of the opinion that if India gets divided in the name of Muslim and Non-Muslim then all Muslim should leave India peacefully - exceptions are like Nehru , Gandhi and few other ultra-liberal leaders but it is rumoured that  Sardar vallabhbhai Patel, who was a highly futuristic and visionary leader among all, was in strong advocacy of complete transfer of Muslim population from India to Pakistan and Non-Muslim population from Pakistan to India. Mahatma Gandhi opposed this idea. 
Then all of a sudden riots started in Pakistan and a few trains, which came from Pakistan to Punjab were filled with dead bodies of Hindus and Sikh who were brutally massacred in trains. Something similar reportedly happened in East  Bengal where also the Muslim majority brutally killed some 3 to 5 lakh Hindus (burnt alive in their homes in villages) mostly women and Children. As a result in some part of India like Punjab, Delhi & some parts of Uttar Pradesh the Hindu majority also killed thousands of Muslims. 
Mahatma Gandhi however came in as an ultimate saviour of humanity & Muslims in India but unfortunately there were no Gandhis in Pakistan to save helpless genocide of Hindus. As a consequence of large scale violence many of the Indian Muslims, mostly poor, could not afford to leave India despite fear of living in Hindu majority area & opted to stay back in India. Whereas wherever it was purely Muslim villages they were completely free of fear of any reciprocal brutalities as were done in case of Pakistan. Due to strong protest of Gandhi, Savarkar, Patel and other congress leaders eventually gave up the idea of compete transfer of Muslim population from India to Pakistan.
Indian Muslims have lived in India for centuries and played a massive role during independence of India. When we Indians began to challenge the might of the British Raj, Muslim leaders had realized the importance of unity of Indian people, especially of Hindus and Muslims. One of the slogans of freedom fighters was reportedly “Deen Dharam Hamara Mazhab, Yeh Isai (meaning the British) kahan se aye (Islam and Hinduism are our religions, where these British came from)?
We should not forget the services of Maulana Azad and Sarhadi Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan to the cause of freedom of India. Both remained committed to India’s freedom till they breathed their last. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was the only leader who never reconciled with the partition of the country and consistently opposed it in the CWC even when leaders like Nehru and Sardar Patel accepted it as fait accompli. 
Maulana Azad’s statement why he is against partition is one of the finest one I have come across - “I am proud of being an Indian. I am part of the indivisible unity that is Indian nationality. I am indispensable to this noble edifice and without me this splendid structure is incomplete. I am an essential element, which has gone to build India. I can never surrender this claim.”
Choudhry Rahmat Ali, believed to be one of the first Muslim leaders to have pleaded for a separate nation for Muslims, had said in January 1933 that – “Our religion and culture, our history and tradition, our social code and economic system, our laws of inheritance, succession and marriage are fundamentally different from those of most people’s living in the rest of India. The ideals which move our people to make the highest sacrifices are essentially different from those which inspire the Hindus to do the same. These differences are not confined to broad, basic principles. Far from it. They extend to the minutest details of our lives. We do not inter-dine; we do not inter-marry. Our national customs and calendars, even our diet and dress are different”.
India, on the contrary, was created as a country, where all religious communities were to get equal rights. Our founding fathers never said India will be a Hindu country or governed by Hindu laws, we were to be governed by constitution. Jinnah didn’t believe Indian leaders, he said Muslim minority will be ignored in Hindu majority nation, despite all promises he decided that partition was in the best interest of Muslims and formed Pakistan as a nation based on religion. 
The Census of undivided India in 1941 before India’s Independence, reportedly enumerated our population at 31.87 crores. Subsequently the Govt of India did its first Census in 1951 when our population was calculated at 36.11 crores, an increase of 13.31% in ten years or an average increase of 1.33. % per year. The population in 1947 on this basis was interpolated as 32.81 crores. (Some other sources however say that the population of undivided India in 1947 was approximately 390 million. After partition, there were 330 million people in India, 30 million in West Pakistan, and 30 million people in East Pakistan - now Bangladesh). After independence as per the 1951 census, total population of India was enumerated at 36.1 crores and Muslim population was 3.5 crores. Incidentally, the population of Pakistan as per 1941 census was 2.80 crore and its Non-Muslim population was 56 lac i.e. 20% of population.
Similarly, as per 1941 census population of present Bangladesh was 4 crores and Hindus were 1.20 Crore i.e. 30 % of population. Now Muslims in Pakistan are 97.2% of total population, Hindus are 1.2% and Christians are 1.6%. The Muslims in Bangladesh, as per 2011 census are 91.8% of total population and Hindus is 8.2%. Presently population of Hindus is decreasing further in Bangladesh.
The 1951 Census of Pakistan is reported to have identified the number of displaced persons in Pakistan at 7,226,600, presumably all Muslims who had entered Pakistan from India; the 1951 Census of India counted 7,295,870 displaced persons, apparently all Hindus and Sikhs who had moved to India from Pakistan immediately after the partition. The overall total is therefore around 14.5 million, although since both censuses were held about 4 years after the partition, these numbers include net population increase following the mass migration.
About 11.2 million (77.4% of the displaced persons) were in the west, the majority from the Punjab of it: 6.5 million Muslims moved from India to West Pakistan, and 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from West Pakistan to India; thus the net migration in the west from India to West Pakistan (now Pakistan) was 1.8 million. The other 3.3 million (22.6% of the displaced persons) were in the east: 2.6 million moved from East Pakistan to India, and 0.7 million moved from India to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh); thus, net migration in the east was 1.9 million into India.
The huge human tragedy notwithstanding it might be interesting to note that despite the creation of a country exclusively for the Muslims (as per their wish & plan to bifurcate the united country) the number of Muslims who chose to stay back in secular India was much more than the number who migrated to Pakistan. Majority of Indian Muslims however believed our founding fathers and also believed they are part of India which is and will be secular. Hence most of the Muslims and other minorities, put their trust in our founding fathers and did not leave India, treated India as their motherland and pledged to fight for everyone’s right.
Incidentally, as per the 2011 census, total population of India was calculated at 121 crore and Muslims population was 17.5 crores. At present total Muslim population in Indian sub-continent is about 61 crore and Non-Muslim population is about 110 crore. n