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Lest we forget .....partition of Punjab

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    Lest we forget…. Partition of Punjab

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    Punjab is regarded as as the agricultural bread basket of India. It is a prosperous state, despite the great trauma it and its people have suffered since 1947. This is when partition of this great state began to occur, with two thirds of the population being Muslim, moving to the Punjab state of Pakistan, and the remainder, 60% Sikh, 40% Hindu moving to the Indian state of Punjab.

    The Partition of British India in 1947, which created the two independent states of India and Pakistan, was followed by one of the cruelest and bloodiest migrations and ethnic cleansings in history. The religious fury and violence that it unleashed caused the deaths of some 2 million Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus. An estimated 12 to 15 million people were forcibly transferred between the two countries. At least 75,000 women were raped. The trauma incurred in the process has been profound.


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    In India, there is no institutional memory of Partition: the State has not seen fit to construct any memorials, to mark any particular places - as has been done, say, in the case of Holocaust memorials, or memorials for the Vietnam War.

    There is nothing at the border that marks it as a place where millions of people crossed, no plaque or memorial at any of the sites of the camps, nothing that marks a particular spot as a place where Partition memories are collected.


    Partition was the dark side of independence: the question then is, how can it be memorialized by the State without the State recognizing its own complicity?

    It is true that hundreds of thousands of people died as a result of Partition. A half century later, you might well be able to read them as martyrs to the cause of forging a new nation. But alongside, there is also the other, inescapable reality that millions of people were killed and in many families where there were deaths, there were probably also murders.


    How do you memorialize such a history? What do you commemorate? For people, for the State, what is at stake in remembering? To what do you have to be true in order to remember?


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    It was not only that people killed those of the “other” religion, but in hundreds of instances, they killed people of their own families; it was not only that men of one religion raped women of the other, but in hundreds of instances, men raped women of the same religion.

    What can you do to mark such a history as anything other than a history of shame? No matter how much Indian politicians, members of the Congress, tried to see themselves as reluctant players in the game, they could not escape the knowledge that they accepted Partition as the cost of freedom. Such histories are not easily memorialized.
    In many countries in the world today, there are memorials to moments of conflict and upheaval. Either with State support or otherwise, scholars have painstakingly built up meticulous archives of people’s testimonies, of photographs, letters, documents, memoirs, books in which such historical moments are represented.

    Very little of this exists for Partition. Until recently, little attempt has been made even to collect people’s accounts. Visual representations of Partition - despite the rich archive of photographs that must exist in many newspapers and magazines - remain limited, and while a half century of Indian independence has called for all manner of celebratory events, little has been done to mark this important event in the history of India.

    But while there is no public memory of Partition, inside homes and families, the memory is kept alive through remembrance rituals and stories that mark particular events.

    When Mangal Singh and his two brothers came away from their village, carrying with them the burden of the death of seventeen of their family members, they built a commemorative plaque with all seventeen names on it, and had it placed in the Golden Temple in Amritsar. An annual forty-eight-hour reading of the Sikh scriptures was held to mark the occasion of their deaths, to commemorate their martyrdom.

    For the rest of their lives, Mangal Singh’s brothers attended the religious ceremony with him each year. After their deaths, he went to it, usually alone, but sometimes accompanied by Trilok Singh, the sole survivor of the family deaths.

    When I asked Mangal Singh, many years later, how he had lived with these memories, he pointed around him to the fertile fields of Punjab. He said: “All of us who came from there, Partition refugees, we have put all our forgetting into working this land, into making it prosper”.

    Source: PunjabPartition.com
     
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  3. dalsingh

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    This was a major event. Concensus figures of the time estimated the Sikh population to have been about 6.5 million. If roughly half of the supposed 2 million casualties of partition were Sikh (i.e. 1 million) , that means we lost a considerable percentage. Anyway, given the numerical odds Sikhs faced we should thank God that there are so many of us today.

    Sikhs yet again had to fight for survival and managed to do it in the face of heavy odds.

    WJKK
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  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Sikhs were just 15% population of Undivided punjab and casualities happened In Bengal too so If I assume That 1 million died in bengal while other 1 million In pUN jab then casulaties should have been 1.5 lakhs not 1 million
     
  5. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Here is some other information

    Did Hindus/Sikhs Voluntarily Leave Pakistan - iOi - India on Internet

    Driving Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan would bring great wealth into Muslim hands. This wealth has been estimated at fourteen hundred crores in value. It includes fifty-five lakh acres of rich land, good, firmly built houses, many factories and works, institutions, innumerable shops rich in merchandise and stores and godowns full of materials whose price runs into crores upon crores of rupees. Besides these there are hundreds of well established schools, many colleges, hospitals, charitable institutions and libraries. In the banks in West Punjab, Safe Deposit Lockers alone contained valuables worth about two hundred crores. All this was Hindu-Sikh property. And it had to be left behind.

    As against all this, the total Muslim assets in the East Punjab do not come to more than two hundred and fifty crores. It would have been madness for Hindus and Sikhs to have left their own magnificent possessions for the beggarly Muslim assets, and to make a gift of all that they had to Pakistan.

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    Sikhs have left their richest lands in West Punjab. It was their labour which turned the jungles (Bars) of Lyallpur, Montgomery, and Sheikhupura into rich wheat-producing land. The industry and tenacity of Sikhs made them masters of vast cultivated areas, many times those possessed by Muslims in Districts where Muslims were in a majority in population. Take the case of Lahore. Here Sikhs were only 18.32% in the population. Yet according to the settlement report of the Lahore District by Mr. G. H. B. Abell, I.C.S.

    “About 66.7% of the cultivated land (in Lahore District) is in the hands of the Jats, the great majority of whom are Sikhs. They are commonly of very fine physique and often blessed with brains as well. They represent a magnificent supply of human material. They could be and upto a point are, a very great asset to the District and the Punjab. The communal majority in the District belongs to the Muslims…… and the typical zamindar of the district is Sikh Jat.”

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    So Economically sikhs were the greatest losers of partition
    One of the main reason behind attacks on sikhs In partition and in 1984 was That sikhs were and still are a rich community.So whenever there is communal voilence against sikhs Many local Goons simply join because of reason that they too can get wealth.
     

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