“From Amritsar, from Sialkot to Dhaka or from Calcutta to Delhi and Lahore to Khyber, the entire subcontinent was drenched in blood. In a word it had become one big slaughter house“
The land that was the land of Gandhi and Satyagrah, of non violence and co-existence had become the land of violence – a violence so brutal and so horrendous that words were inadequate to write it. How did this happen and what it meant for the two nations that were born out of the throes of partition?
Willem van Schendel described the violence of partition as necessary as the partition itself was a surgical procedure that cleaved a land, a nation into two. The grotesque violence that saw trains full of dead bodies sent from Lahore to Delhi & Amritsar was so unbelievable that historians chose to ignore it totally or to paint it into something that it wasn’t.
The seed of this violent partition was the idea that led to genesis of the world’s first fundamentalist state formed on basis of religious intolerance. Nehruvian historians chose to believe that Gandhi and his idea of non violent protest forced the British empire to capitulate and leave. They continue to peddle the idea that Gandhi had created a template of peaceful resistance. Resistance by its very nature is violent because one can resist a force with an equal force applied in the opposite direction. And no, not by an equal and opposite force- This idea was used to justify gandhian ahimsa. But violence cannot be answered by non violence. For non violence to succeed, it was essential that the perpetrator of violence choose to apply morality and law in dispensing violence. But enemy’s morality could not and will not make space so much that the opponent’s non violent opposition is allowed to win.
Because an individual can be non violent but a state can never be non violent. A state can function only by keeping and enforcing a monopoly on violence. A state has to enforce law, arrest criminals, maintain order in the state – all these require use of violence. Another example – A state cannot sit in protest outside an aggressor state’s embassy ie How absurd it would be if India sat on a dharna outside Pakistan embassy after 26/11 attacks?
Imagine a scene where the state represented by its police sits on a dharna outside a bank to force armed bank robbers to surrender. Another example is the state ( represented by the District Magistrate) goes on a hunger strike to stop an ongoing riot or force a terrorist to surrender.
Sadly there is no institutional memory of partition and its violence. India chose to sweep it under the rug, for to study the violence would mean facing the hollowness of the congressi claim of a syncretic culture ie Ganga Jamuna tezheeb, the Sanjhi Virasat.
The violence was not born on the day, the idea of Pakistan came into being. It was endemic into the foundation of the ideas that would become Pakistan – “Islamic Superiority & Absolute Hate”
The violence had put to grave the mirage of gandhian ahmisa and one sided accommodation of an enemy that knew only relentless hate which he manifested as grotesque violence. Sadly the cost of rosy eyed gandhian world view was paid for by 8 lakh Hindu lives – lost, killed, uprooted and destroyed. Ironically the Hindus of India are still paying the price of gandhian-nehruvian world view. And we will continue to pay the price for our ahimsa and one sided tolerance. For survival of our race we should reconsider and hopefully jettison the nonsense of nonviolence, passive resistance and extreme toleration
The violence of partition was primarily religious in nature and its inhumanity sought justification in religious edicts that claimed that such violence was righteous and responsibility of each believer. This violent birth of Pakistan has remained a defining character of that nation and its people. Sadly the violence has also defined behavior of Indian minorities behavior towards the majority Hindus – innumerable riots, targeted killings and forced exodus of Hindus from Kashmir, conversions, love jihad etc.
In face of such existential threats are we expected to follow the Gandhian dictum that if a muslim comes to kill you, do not resist and let him kill you. But as you die, you must not harbor any ill-will towards the murderer for it will offend the spirit of ahimsa.
What could be more asinine and idiotic? What was gandhi thinking when he asked the Hindu women to let muslims rape them and to hold their breaths during rape so that they could die?
Since the state has been perverted by the gandhian dictums would it not make sense that Hindus take a leaf out of their shastras and pick up shastr to defend Dharma?
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