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Books > History > Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in The Punjab 1947
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Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in The Punjab 1947
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About the Book

This volume is a reprint of an old book compiled in 1947 by Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib, Principal of the Lyallpur Khala College, Jullundur, and published in 1950 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. It records the story of 7-million Hindus and Sikhs who were uprooted from their homes in the West Punjab, the North-Western Frontier, Sind and parts of Kashmir, and the atrocities of this period-the carnage. Killings, abductions and forced conversions that took place, forcing Hindus and Sikhs to leave their hearths and homes and start on the "biggest mass migration of humanity," as the author describes it.

Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib mentions a broader dimension also and connects the events of the forties with the League polities itself with the larger Muslim politics. He does not develop the point, but he does more than most other authors whose vision remains confined in the best of cases to the League's activities and who provide a narrow and even distorting framework. The fact is that League polities did not initiate Muslim politics but was itself a part of this larger Muslim politics; it was neither the latter's beginning nor its end but its continuation. Muslim politicians and Scholars in Pakistan see it this way.

Muslim politics, in turn, is grounded in Muslim theology. Islam believes in one God (their God) but two humanities: the believers and the infidels. Islam teaches Jihad or holy war against the infidels. It is not that the infidels have done any harm to Islam or Muslims but it is simply because holy war against the infidels "is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said in the Koran, 'Slay the Infidels'. "So the believers are at war it the infidels all the time, though, in practice, a war may not be possible of a particular time.

For those who know this framework, the chapter of Muslim history which this book discusses is not new; to them, it is an old chapter and also the one which has not yet closed, not even its carnage and exodus. Hindus have been subjected to these forces for centuries, and these forces continue to operate unabates even now. In this larger persective, Pakistan itself is not a new phenomenon, nor does the story end with its creation, on the other hand, old politics continues under more unfavourable conditions for India.

Pakistan is emerging as an important focal point of Islamic fundamentalism and it is seeking new alignments in the Middle East in conformity to its new role. While holding out the threat of nuclear blackmail, it is more than a willing ally of any country or group which has any quarrel with or grouse against India itself, Pakilarge support, not among Muslims who have always had a soft corner for it and who, in fact, had an important role in its creation, but also among Hindu intelligentsia, the country's left and secular elite who control its media and polities. India is being subject to a war of subversion and aggression, a war hot and cold, active and passive. Pakistan has become an instigator and supplier, a trainer, an arsenal and a safe rear of many guerrilla and militant forces.

But Hindu India remains confused and even unconcerned. It has been a poor student of history; it has therefore also neglected its lessons; it has failed to read properly the forces, particularly ideological forces, that have been and are still at work to keep it down. In fact, it does not even acknowledge them. It still stubbornly clings to its old assumption that the League politics came out of the scheming head of one Jinnah who was aided and abetted by the british, and that Muslims and Islam had nothing to do with it; that, in fact, they were reluctant victims of this politics and were pushed into it by an intransigent Hindudom.

All this we believe partly because it involves doing nothing, anticipating nothing, planning nothing, and we can continue to live from day to day. A more realistic and faithfull appraisal will impose on us duties of a different kind and scope, duties which we therefore shirk. We have learnt to live without thinking and we have got used to the idea of a shrunken and shrinking India. We can now think without Afghanistan, without the North-West Frontier Province, without Punjab and Sind, without East Bengal, the future. Why assume avoidable responsibilities?

Or perhaps the sickness is deeper. Long back Sri Aurobindo saw the "root cause of India's weakness," not in foreign yoke or povery o dearth of spiritual experience, but in the "decline of thinking power." Everwhere he saw "inability or unwillingness to think, which is a sign of tragic dcadence."

Preface

This book is intended to reveal the grim and tragic story of the uprooting of more than seven million Hindus and Sikhs from their homes in West Punjab, in the North-Western Frontier Province, in Sind and in raider-occupied Kashmir. The outlines of this story are well-known all over the world, and have formed the subject of debate before the representatives of the major potion of makind, assembled in the United Nations. This biggest mass migration of humanity in history under extreme duress has received the attention and active sympathy due to it from the rest of India, and the world is keenly aware of the existence of this large portion of uprooted humanity.

What, however, is not very well-known or fully borne in mind is the fact that this tragic migration was the last culminating episode in a conspiracy that had been under planning for more than a decade before it actually occurred-the conspiracy of the Muslim League in India to establish a Muslim State which should not be encumbered with any such-Muslim populations as would be a likely factor in diluting to any extent its purely Muslim character. This conspiracy needs being unmasked by recalling the history of the Indian Muslim League over the period in which its inception and maturing occurred-so that responsibility for this tragedy is fixed where it properly belongs.

Muslim League propaganda has sought to blame the Punjab happenings of 1947 on the Sikhs and in a secondary degree on the Hindus. A distorted and fragmentary picture, drawn up with completely bara-faced lying, has been presented to the world of a Sikh "Plan" to attack and drive out Muslims from Punjab. And for a time a part of the world swallowed the lie, and the Sikhs got an unenviable reputation. But the pendulum of opinion slowly swung round in the right direction, and the Sikh name now has been fairly cleared of the supposed crime of a "Plan" against Muslim. That the Sikh (and Hindu) attack on the Muslims in East Punjab Was retaliation under terrible and unbearable provocation is now admitted to be a fact by all impartial people; though it is not known everywhere of what horrible nature, of what prolonged duration and diabolical character was the provocation offered to Sikhs by Muslims over a period of several agonizing months-beginning from December, 1946. There was a war unleashed by the Muslim population of the Punjab to cow down Sikhs, and as a means that, to carry on among them a total campaign of murder, arson, loot and abduction of women. Sikhs passed through the experience of this war as a people for months; and not thousands, but millions of them were forced to quit their homes for safety in the process. Without a clear knowledge of this part of the story a just and balanced view of the situation cannot be formed.

The details of atrocities committed on Sikhs and Hindus given in these pages are not full or even a fairly large proportion of what actually befell. They are only representative episodes of what happened in a few villages and towns all over West Pubjab and other West Pakistan areas. Imagine such things happening in thousands upon thousands of villages and hundreds of towns, and you will then be able to take in the proportions somewhat close to what the reality was-which, in the last analysis must, however, remain inexpressible in its full horror. The facts drawn upon are statements of sufferers of these horrors, recorded from complaints made to the authorities, form reliable press reports and from statements recorded with scrupulous fidelity and signed by those who made them, in the refugee camps in East Punjab.

Sikhs left behind their homes, the richest land in the Punjab, their factories and prosperous business, their holy shrine, Schools and college-all under the pressure of the Pakistan terror, so that according to unbiassed estimates 40% (and these perhaps the most enterprising section of the community) were rendered refugees. They came out of their homes-harassed, despoiled and in unending trudging caravans. This vast human tragedy is too large even for the imagination to take in without the help of facts presented in a telling way.

This record is intended in the first place to rehabilitate the Sikh name, makigned by false propaganda of the leaders and press of Pakistan, and secondly to serve as part of the material for anyone who should set out to write a full history of the Punjab of these terrible 1947 months.

Introduction

The volume in hand is a reprint of an old book compiled in 1947 by Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib, Principal of the Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jullundur, and published in 1950 by the Shiromani Gurd- 'wara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). It records the story of 7-mil- lion Hindus and Sikhs who were uprooted from their homes in the West Punjab, the North-Western Frontier, Sind and parts of Kashmir. It tells the story of political parleys that preceded this event, their inevitable failure, and the barbarity that immediately followed - barbarity that had elements of pre-planning. The book records the atrocities of this period - the carnage, killings, abductions and forced conversions that took place particularly in 1946-47, forcing Hindus and Sikhs to leave their hearths and homes and start on the "biggest mass migration of humanity," as the author describes it.

At the end of the book, the author gives an Appendix, 100 pages of about 50 eye-witness accounts of those atrocities. It contains statements of those who saw themselves attacked, their houses burnt, their kith and kin killed, their womenfolk abducted but who themselves survived to relate their account. The section also includes press reports and other first-hand accounts. For example, one report which appeared in The Statesman of .April 1~ 1947 narrates an event that took place in village Thoha Khalsa of Rawalpindi District. It is a story of tears and shame and also of great sacrifice and heroism. The story tells us how the Hindu-Sikh population of this tiny village was attacked by 3000-strong armed Muslims, how badly outweaponed and outnumbered, the beseiged had to surrender, but how their women numbering 90 in order to "evade inglorious surrender" and save their honour jumped into a well "following the example of Indian women of by-gone days." Only three of them were saved. "there was not enough water in the well to drown them all," the report adds. The author also gives an 85-page long "list of atrocities," date by date and region by region, that took place during the months from mid-December 1946 to the end of August 1947 And these represent only "a small fraction of what really happened," and they have to be multiplied "a hundred-fold or more ... to get the right proportions," the 'author says.

From this It would appear that the book deals only in atrocity stories albeit true ones. But if there was nothing more to it, the events it chronicles could not hold long-range interest and it was perhaps better that the wrongs were forgotten and forgiven. We must also bear in mind that these atrocities alone could not make the full story. Even during the midst of all this carnage, there must have .been many cases of humanity and chivalry and there must also have been people who rendered neighbourly help not without some risk to themselves. Let us not forget this chapter and let us be thankful to this innate goodness in man which binds humanity together and rises above the crusading ideologies that teach inhumanity.

But it would not do to neglect the other chapter dealing in unpal- atable facts, particularly if those facts have a deeper story to tell and a continuing pattern to reveal, and if they disclose a larger ideational framework or ideology at work. Luckily for us the author does more than chronicle gruesome events. He goes behind them and explains why they happened. He tells us that the mass exodus did not happen as if by chance but that it was "the last culminating episode in a conspiracy that had been under planning for more than a decade before it actually occurred," that it took place because it was "the conspiracy of the Muslim League in India to establish a Muslim State which should not be encumbered with any such non-Muslim population as would be a likely factor in diluting to any extent its purely Muslim character." Therefore, the Hindus and Sikhs, the minorities in the new Muslim homeland, were not to be suffered to stay there. This "minorityism", the name for Hindus and Sikhs, was "the major enemy of the Milltat," as Rehmat Ali, one of the early League leaders and intellectuals and coiner of the word Pakistan, said.

According to its original conception, Pakistan itself was to be larger than it turned out to be; it was to include Kashmir, Assam and Bengal in the East and Hyderabad and Malabar in the South and many independent Muslim states whithin the rest of the Indian territory. India, or whatever remained of India, was itself to be considered Dinia, an important Islamic concept. The author explains that it means it "would be the continent which, if not at the moment the home of an Islamic State, was such in immediate conception, waiting to be converted and subordinated to Islam through the proselytising and conquering zeal of its sons."

This was broadly the approach of the generality of Muslims though there were also differences of emphases and in exceptional cases even disagreement with the main thesis. Some of them, particularly of Ulema class, sounded a waming that Pakistan might impede the establishment of Dinia by arousing unnecessary resistance among the Hindus; therefore, they stayed away from the Pakistan campaign and some of them even opposed it. They came to be known as "nationalist Muslims."

Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib mentions this broader dimension and connects the events of the forties with the League politics and the League politics itself, through Dinia, with the larger Muslim politics. He, however, does not develop the point and it remains no more than a hint. But he does more than most other authors whose vision remains confined in the best of cases to the League's activities and who provide a narrow and even distorting framework. The fact is that League politics did not initiate Muslim politics but was itself a part of this larger Muslim politics; it was neither the latter's beginning nor its end but its continuation. Muslim politicians and scholars also see it this way. Bhutto tells us that the "starting point of Pakistan goes back over a thousand years to when Muhammad bin Qasim set foot on the soil of Sind and introduced Islam in the sub-continent." History of Pakistan: Past and Present, a typical textbook taught in Pakistan's schools, begins the story of Pakistan with the "Advent of Islam", giving exactly nine pages to "Pre-Islamic Civilization", negatively presented as Jahiliya, an important Islamic concept and a name for all pre-Islamic period. Muslim scholars have also their own idea and version of Muslims' freedom struggle and they equate it with the Muslim Empire. It began when Muslims lost their empire after Aurangzeb and partially ends with the establishment of Pakistan. Pakistan's official "History of the Freedom Movement of Muslims in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent covering the period from the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 to the Establishment of Pakistan in 1947" reveals their approach.

II
Muslim politics in turn is grounded in Muslim theology. Islam believes in one God (their God) but two humanities: the believers and the infidels. Islam teaches, at least according to its most pious and learned men, Jihad or holy war against the infidels. It is not that the infidels have done any harm to Islam or Muslims but it is simply because holy war against the infidels "is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said in the Koran, 'Slay the Infidel'," according to Hidayah, an old and important work widely esteemed in the Muslim world.

Similarly, it is not a question of self-defence against any aggression or any unprovoked war but it is simply because the infidels by being infidels incur "the destruction of the sword," although "they be not the first aggressors," to put it again in the language of the Hidayah, which derives it "from various passages in the sacred writings which are generally received to this effect." It reveals not only what the Islamic sacred writings say but, what is still more important, what the Muslim pious men and scholars believe these writings do. There has been a wide consensus among them about the message of these writings.

To this theology of holy war belong two related concepts: dar al- harb and dar al-islam. According to this theology, dar al-harb is a country of the infidels, a country not ruled by Muslims; Muslims have to wage a war against it and convert it into dar al-islam, a country governed by Muslims. Again, it is not a question of majorities and minorities but of believers and unbelievers. A country of a majority of infidels but ruled by a small minority of Muslims, as India once was, is dar al-is lam and is perfectly legitimate and conforms more truly to the divine injunction and is superior in Allah's eyes to a country ruled by its own people but who are infidels. Similarly, it is not a question of "equal rights" for all citizens irrespective of their religions. Such concepts are un-Islamic. Under Islam, non-Muslims, if they are allowed to exist at all, are non-citizens or zimmis; only Muslims are full citizens.

It also means that, theoretically, the believers are at war with the infidels all the time, though, in practice, a war may not be possible at a particular time. The actual shape of the war will depend on many external factors, not the least of them being the stage of preparedness of the believers for the venture. But they must continue exerting and planning and looking for opportunities. This is the essence of Jihad. It has been widely discussed in Islamic books on religious laws.

But it does raise some problems on the practical level. For ex- ample, when Europe ruled and the whole Muslim world was on its knees and Muslims were not in a position to wage an effective war, what would they do? Then the concept of Jihad had to be diluted and in India another concept was added, the concept of dar al-aman. According to this concept, it was sufficient if Muslims had the liberty to give their azan-call (which was banned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh), to offer their namaz and keep their fast, and it was enough for them to be most loyal to a Christian power. There are also other complicating problems in a world where nationalism has become a new ecognised value and a citizen is governed by his country's laws and owes his first allegiance to his country. But Islam is essentially panIslamic and pan-Islamism must override the demands both of territorial nationalism and of universal humanism. In this sense extra-territorialism (and also religious exclusivism) is fundamental to Islam. If the contending parties are Muslim, nationalism could still have a meaning; but when of the two contending parties, one is Muslim and the other infidel there is no dilemma for the Muslims of both countries and their duty is clear. The Muslims living in dar al-harb must support a Jihad against their Government.

This is the ideational framework from which the events of 1940s derived. For those who know this framework, the chapter of Muslim history which this book discusses is not new; to them, it is an old chapter and also the one which has not yet closed, not even its car- nage and exodus. Hindus have been subjected to these forces for centuries, and these forces continue to operate unabated even now. Take for example, the exodus from West Pakistan, the subject of the present book. Hindus have known many such exodus in the past. Repeated Muslim invasions created repeated Hindu exodus. Speaking of the "wonderful exploits" of Mahmud Ghaznavi (A.D. 997-1030), Alberuni tells us how "Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions." All along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and also along old trade-routes passing through North-West and Central Asia, there were prosperous Hindu settlements. All these inhabitants became refugees. Exodus continues (besides extensive infiltration) from Bangla Desh and the Kashmir Valley even today. The only thing unique about the 1947-exodus was that thanks to its Sikh component it was not a one-way traffic.

In this larger perspective, Pakistan itself is not a new phenomenon, nor does the story end with its creation. On the other hand, old politics continues under more unfavourable conditions for India. Pakistan is emerging as an important focal point of Islamic fundamentalism and it is seeking new alignments in the Middle East in conformity to its new role. Muslim fundamentalism is a danger in the long run both to the West as well as the East, but it is not yet fully realized. Meanwhile, Pakistan is using its new position of leadership against India. While holding out the threat of nuclear blackmail, it is more than a willing ally of any country or group which has any quarrel with or grouse against India. In India itself, Pakistan enjoys a large support, not only amongst Muslims who have always had a soft corner for it and who, in fact, had an important role in its creation, but also amongst Hindu intelligensia, the country's left and secular elite who control its media and politics. The motives are complicated into which we cannot go here. But meanwhile India is being subjected to a war of subversion and aggression, a war hot and cold, active and passive. Pakistan has become an instigator and supplier, a trainer, an arsenal and a safe rear of many guerilla and militant forces.

But Hindu India remains confused and even unconcerned. It has been a poor student of history; it has therefore also neglected its lessons; it has failed to read properly the forces, particularly ideological forces, that have been and are still at work to keep it down. In fact, it does not even acknowledge them. It still stubbornly clings to its old assumption that the League politics came out of the scheming head of one Jinnah who was aided and abetted by the British, and that Muslims and Islam had nothing to do with it; that, in fact, they were reluctant victims of this politics and were pushed into it by an intransigent Hindudom.

All this we believe partly because it involves doing nothing, an ticipating nothing, planning nothing, and we can continue o live from day to day. A more realistic and faithful appraisal will impose our us duties of a different kind and scope, duties which we therefore shirk. We have learnt without thinking and we have got used to the idea of a shrunken and shrinking India. We can now think of India without Afghanistan, without the North-West Frontier Province, without Punjab and Sind, without East Bengal, and we can do the same without Kashmir and other parts in the future. Why assume avoidable responsibilities?

Or perhaps the sickness in deeper. Long back, Sri Aurobindo saw the "root cause of India's wakness," not in foreign yoke poverty or dearth of spiritual experience, but in the "decline of thinking power." Everywhere he sae "inability or unwillingness to think, which is a sign of tragic decadence.

Contents

1Prefacev
2Pakistan-Birth and Objectives1
3The Cabinet Mission and the Muslim League Direct Action24
4Prelude to Genocide of Hindus and Sikhs North-Western Frontier Massacres, Muslim League Agitation in the Punjab52
5March, 194772
6Note on Attack on Gurdwara Dehra Sahib108
7The Gandhi-Jinnah Appeal from fro Peace110
8Frontier Province and D. I. Khan115
9Round About August 15, 1947123
10Amritsar139
11West Punjab Ablaze167
12Sind210
13Did Sikhs (and Hindus) voluntarily leave Pakistan?215
14Did the Sikhs have a 'Plan'?-An Over blamed people241
15Appendix:258
16Tables of Incidents359
17Postscript445
18Glossary of Indian Terms449

Sample Pages





















Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in The Punjab 1947

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About the Book

This volume is a reprint of an old book compiled in 1947 by Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib, Principal of the Lyallpur Khala College, Jullundur, and published in 1950 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. It records the story of 7-million Hindus and Sikhs who were uprooted from their homes in the West Punjab, the North-Western Frontier, Sind and parts of Kashmir, and the atrocities of this period-the carnage. Killings, abductions and forced conversions that took place, forcing Hindus and Sikhs to leave their hearths and homes and start on the "biggest mass migration of humanity," as the author describes it.

Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib mentions a broader dimension also and connects the events of the forties with the League polities itself with the larger Muslim politics. He does not develop the point, but he does more than most other authors whose vision remains confined in the best of cases to the League's activities and who provide a narrow and even distorting framework. The fact is that League polities did not initiate Muslim politics but was itself a part of this larger Muslim politics; it was neither the latter's beginning nor its end but its continuation. Muslim politicians and Scholars in Pakistan see it this way.

Muslim politics, in turn, is grounded in Muslim theology. Islam believes in one God (their God) but two humanities: the believers and the infidels. Islam teaches Jihad or holy war against the infidels. It is not that the infidels have done any harm to Islam or Muslims but it is simply because holy war against the infidels "is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said in the Koran, 'Slay the Infidels'. "So the believers are at war it the infidels all the time, though, in practice, a war may not be possible of a particular time.

For those who know this framework, the chapter of Muslim history which this book discusses is not new; to them, it is an old chapter and also the one which has not yet closed, not even its carnage and exodus. Hindus have been subjected to these forces for centuries, and these forces continue to operate unabates even now. In this larger persective, Pakistan itself is not a new phenomenon, nor does the story end with its creation, on the other hand, old politics continues under more unfavourable conditions for India.

Pakistan is emerging as an important focal point of Islamic fundamentalism and it is seeking new alignments in the Middle East in conformity to its new role. While holding out the threat of nuclear blackmail, it is more than a willing ally of any country or group which has any quarrel with or grouse against India itself, Pakilarge support, not among Muslims who have always had a soft corner for it and who, in fact, had an important role in its creation, but also among Hindu intelligentsia, the country's left and secular elite who control its media and polities. India is being subject to a war of subversion and aggression, a war hot and cold, active and passive. Pakistan has become an instigator and supplier, a trainer, an arsenal and a safe rear of many guerrilla and militant forces.

But Hindu India remains confused and even unconcerned. It has been a poor student of history; it has therefore also neglected its lessons; it has failed to read properly the forces, particularly ideological forces, that have been and are still at work to keep it down. In fact, it does not even acknowledge them. It still stubbornly clings to its old assumption that the League politics came out of the scheming head of one Jinnah who was aided and abetted by the british, and that Muslims and Islam had nothing to do with it; that, in fact, they were reluctant victims of this politics and were pushed into it by an intransigent Hindudom.

All this we believe partly because it involves doing nothing, anticipating nothing, planning nothing, and we can continue to live from day to day. A more realistic and faithfull appraisal will impose on us duties of a different kind and scope, duties which we therefore shirk. We have learnt to live without thinking and we have got used to the idea of a shrunken and shrinking India. We can now think without Afghanistan, without the North-West Frontier Province, without Punjab and Sind, without East Bengal, the future. Why assume avoidable responsibilities?

Or perhaps the sickness is deeper. Long back Sri Aurobindo saw the "root cause of India's weakness," not in foreign yoke or povery o dearth of spiritual experience, but in the "decline of thinking power." Everwhere he saw "inability or unwillingness to think, which is a sign of tragic dcadence."

Preface

This book is intended to reveal the grim and tragic story of the uprooting of more than seven million Hindus and Sikhs from their homes in West Punjab, in the North-Western Frontier Province, in Sind and in raider-occupied Kashmir. The outlines of this story are well-known all over the world, and have formed the subject of debate before the representatives of the major potion of makind, assembled in the United Nations. This biggest mass migration of humanity in history under extreme duress has received the attention and active sympathy due to it from the rest of India, and the world is keenly aware of the existence of this large portion of uprooted humanity.

What, however, is not very well-known or fully borne in mind is the fact that this tragic migration was the last culminating episode in a conspiracy that had been under planning for more than a decade before it actually occurred-the conspiracy of the Muslim League in India to establish a Muslim State which should not be encumbered with any such-Muslim populations as would be a likely factor in diluting to any extent its purely Muslim character. This conspiracy needs being unmasked by recalling the history of the Indian Muslim League over the period in which its inception and maturing occurred-so that responsibility for this tragedy is fixed where it properly belongs.

Muslim League propaganda has sought to blame the Punjab happenings of 1947 on the Sikhs and in a secondary degree on the Hindus. A distorted and fragmentary picture, drawn up with completely bara-faced lying, has been presented to the world of a Sikh "Plan" to attack and drive out Muslims from Punjab. And for a time a part of the world swallowed the lie, and the Sikhs got an unenviable reputation. But the pendulum of opinion slowly swung round in the right direction, and the Sikh name now has been fairly cleared of the supposed crime of a "Plan" against Muslim. That the Sikh (and Hindu) attack on the Muslims in East Punjab Was retaliation under terrible and unbearable provocation is now admitted to be a fact by all impartial people; though it is not known everywhere of what horrible nature, of what prolonged duration and diabolical character was the provocation offered to Sikhs by Muslims over a period of several agonizing months-beginning from December, 1946. There was a war unleashed by the Muslim population of the Punjab to cow down Sikhs, and as a means that, to carry on among them a total campaign of murder, arson, loot and abduction of women. Sikhs passed through the experience of this war as a people for months; and not thousands, but millions of them were forced to quit their homes for safety in the process. Without a clear knowledge of this part of the story a just and balanced view of the situation cannot be formed.

The details of atrocities committed on Sikhs and Hindus given in these pages are not full or even a fairly large proportion of what actually befell. They are only representative episodes of what happened in a few villages and towns all over West Pubjab and other West Pakistan areas. Imagine such things happening in thousands upon thousands of villages and hundreds of towns, and you will then be able to take in the proportions somewhat close to what the reality was-which, in the last analysis must, however, remain inexpressible in its full horror. The facts drawn upon are statements of sufferers of these horrors, recorded from complaints made to the authorities, form reliable press reports and from statements recorded with scrupulous fidelity and signed by those who made them, in the refugee camps in East Punjab.

Sikhs left behind their homes, the richest land in the Punjab, their factories and prosperous business, their holy shrine, Schools and college-all under the pressure of the Pakistan terror, so that according to unbiassed estimates 40% (and these perhaps the most enterprising section of the community) were rendered refugees. They came out of their homes-harassed, despoiled and in unending trudging caravans. This vast human tragedy is too large even for the imagination to take in without the help of facts presented in a telling way.

This record is intended in the first place to rehabilitate the Sikh name, makigned by false propaganda of the leaders and press of Pakistan, and secondly to serve as part of the material for anyone who should set out to write a full history of the Punjab of these terrible 1947 months.

Introduction

The volume in hand is a reprint of an old book compiled in 1947 by Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib, Principal of the Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jullundur, and published in 1950 by the Shiromani Gurd- 'wara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). It records the story of 7-mil- lion Hindus and Sikhs who were uprooted from their homes in the West Punjab, the North-Western Frontier, Sind and parts of Kashmir. It tells the story of political parleys that preceded this event, their inevitable failure, and the barbarity that immediately followed - barbarity that had elements of pre-planning. The book records the atrocities of this period - the carnage, killings, abductions and forced conversions that took place particularly in 1946-47, forcing Hindus and Sikhs to leave their hearths and homes and start on the "biggest mass migration of humanity," as the author describes it.

At the end of the book, the author gives an Appendix, 100 pages of about 50 eye-witness accounts of those atrocities. It contains statements of those who saw themselves attacked, their houses burnt, their kith and kin killed, their womenfolk abducted but who themselves survived to relate their account. The section also includes press reports and other first-hand accounts. For example, one report which appeared in The Statesman of .April 1~ 1947 narrates an event that took place in village Thoha Khalsa of Rawalpindi District. It is a story of tears and shame and also of great sacrifice and heroism. The story tells us how the Hindu-Sikh population of this tiny village was attacked by 3000-strong armed Muslims, how badly outweaponed and outnumbered, the beseiged had to surrender, but how their women numbering 90 in order to "evade inglorious surrender" and save their honour jumped into a well "following the example of Indian women of by-gone days." Only three of them were saved. "there was not enough water in the well to drown them all," the report adds. The author also gives an 85-page long "list of atrocities," date by date and region by region, that took place during the months from mid-December 1946 to the end of August 1947 And these represent only "a small fraction of what really happened," and they have to be multiplied "a hundred-fold or more ... to get the right proportions," the 'author says.

From this It would appear that the book deals only in atrocity stories albeit true ones. But if there was nothing more to it, the events it chronicles could not hold long-range interest and it was perhaps better that the wrongs were forgotten and forgiven. We must also bear in mind that these atrocities alone could not make the full story. Even during the midst of all this carnage, there must have .been many cases of humanity and chivalry and there must also have been people who rendered neighbourly help not without some risk to themselves. Let us not forget this chapter and let us be thankful to this innate goodness in man which binds humanity together and rises above the crusading ideologies that teach inhumanity.

But it would not do to neglect the other chapter dealing in unpal- atable facts, particularly if those facts have a deeper story to tell and a continuing pattern to reveal, and if they disclose a larger ideational framework or ideology at work. Luckily for us the author does more than chronicle gruesome events. He goes behind them and explains why they happened. He tells us that the mass exodus did not happen as if by chance but that it was "the last culminating episode in a conspiracy that had been under planning for more than a decade before it actually occurred," that it took place because it was "the conspiracy of the Muslim League in India to establish a Muslim State which should not be encumbered with any such non-Muslim population as would be a likely factor in diluting to any extent its purely Muslim character." Therefore, the Hindus and Sikhs, the minorities in the new Muslim homeland, were not to be suffered to stay there. This "minorityism", the name for Hindus and Sikhs, was "the major enemy of the Milltat," as Rehmat Ali, one of the early League leaders and intellectuals and coiner of the word Pakistan, said.

According to its original conception, Pakistan itself was to be larger than it turned out to be; it was to include Kashmir, Assam and Bengal in the East and Hyderabad and Malabar in the South and many independent Muslim states whithin the rest of the Indian territory. India, or whatever remained of India, was itself to be considered Dinia, an important Islamic concept. The author explains that it means it "would be the continent which, if not at the moment the home of an Islamic State, was such in immediate conception, waiting to be converted and subordinated to Islam through the proselytising and conquering zeal of its sons."

This was broadly the approach of the generality of Muslims though there were also differences of emphases and in exceptional cases even disagreement with the main thesis. Some of them, particularly of Ulema class, sounded a waming that Pakistan might impede the establishment of Dinia by arousing unnecessary resistance among the Hindus; therefore, they stayed away from the Pakistan campaign and some of them even opposed it. They came to be known as "nationalist Muslims."

Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib mentions this broader dimension and connects the events of the forties with the League politics and the League politics itself, through Dinia, with the larger Muslim politics. He, however, does not develop the point and it remains no more than a hint. But he does more than most other authors whose vision remains confined in the best of cases to the League's activities and who provide a narrow and even distorting framework. The fact is that League politics did not initiate Muslim politics but was itself a part of this larger Muslim politics; it was neither the latter's beginning nor its end but its continuation. Muslim politicians and scholars also see it this way. Bhutto tells us that the "starting point of Pakistan goes back over a thousand years to when Muhammad bin Qasim set foot on the soil of Sind and introduced Islam in the sub-continent." History of Pakistan: Past and Present, a typical textbook taught in Pakistan's schools, begins the story of Pakistan with the "Advent of Islam", giving exactly nine pages to "Pre-Islamic Civilization", negatively presented as Jahiliya, an important Islamic concept and a name for all pre-Islamic period. Muslim scholars have also their own idea and version of Muslims' freedom struggle and they equate it with the Muslim Empire. It began when Muslims lost their empire after Aurangzeb and partially ends with the establishment of Pakistan. Pakistan's official "History of the Freedom Movement of Muslims in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent covering the period from the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 to the Establishment of Pakistan in 1947" reveals their approach.

II
Muslim politics in turn is grounded in Muslim theology. Islam believes in one God (their God) but two humanities: the believers and the infidels. Islam teaches, at least according to its most pious and learned men, Jihad or holy war against the infidels. It is not that the infidels have done any harm to Islam or Muslims but it is simply because holy war against the infidels "is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said in the Koran, 'Slay the Infidel'," according to Hidayah, an old and important work widely esteemed in the Muslim world.

Similarly, it is not a question of self-defence against any aggression or any unprovoked war but it is simply because the infidels by being infidels incur "the destruction of the sword," although "they be not the first aggressors," to put it again in the language of the Hidayah, which derives it "from various passages in the sacred writings which are generally received to this effect." It reveals not only what the Islamic sacred writings say but, what is still more important, what the Muslim pious men and scholars believe these writings do. There has been a wide consensus among them about the message of these writings.

To this theology of holy war belong two related concepts: dar al- harb and dar al-islam. According to this theology, dar al-harb is a country of the infidels, a country not ruled by Muslims; Muslims have to wage a war against it and convert it into dar al-islam, a country governed by Muslims. Again, it is not a question of majorities and minorities but of believers and unbelievers. A country of a majority of infidels but ruled by a small minority of Muslims, as India once was, is dar al-is lam and is perfectly legitimate and conforms more truly to the divine injunction and is superior in Allah's eyes to a country ruled by its own people but who are infidels. Similarly, it is not a question of "equal rights" for all citizens irrespective of their religions. Such concepts are un-Islamic. Under Islam, non-Muslims, if they are allowed to exist at all, are non-citizens or zimmis; only Muslims are full citizens.

It also means that, theoretically, the believers are at war with the infidels all the time, though, in practice, a war may not be possible at a particular time. The actual shape of the war will depend on many external factors, not the least of them being the stage of preparedness of the believers for the venture. But they must continue exerting and planning and looking for opportunities. This is the essence of Jihad. It has been widely discussed in Islamic books on religious laws.

But it does raise some problems on the practical level. For ex- ample, when Europe ruled and the whole Muslim world was on its knees and Muslims were not in a position to wage an effective war, what would they do? Then the concept of Jihad had to be diluted and in India another concept was added, the concept of dar al-aman. According to this concept, it was sufficient if Muslims had the liberty to give their azan-call (which was banned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh), to offer their namaz and keep their fast, and it was enough for them to be most loyal to a Christian power. There are also other complicating problems in a world where nationalism has become a new ecognised value and a citizen is governed by his country's laws and owes his first allegiance to his country. But Islam is essentially panIslamic and pan-Islamism must override the demands both of territorial nationalism and of universal humanism. In this sense extra-territorialism (and also religious exclusivism) is fundamental to Islam. If the contending parties are Muslim, nationalism could still have a meaning; but when of the two contending parties, one is Muslim and the other infidel there is no dilemma for the Muslims of both countries and their duty is clear. The Muslims living in dar al-harb must support a Jihad against their Government.

This is the ideational framework from which the events of 1940s derived. For those who know this framework, the chapter of Muslim history which this book discusses is not new; to them, it is an old chapter and also the one which has not yet closed, not even its car- nage and exodus. Hindus have been subjected to these forces for centuries, and these forces continue to operate unabated even now. Take for example, the exodus from West Pakistan, the subject of the present book. Hindus have known many such exodus in the past. Repeated Muslim invasions created repeated Hindu exodus. Speaking of the "wonderful exploits" of Mahmud Ghaznavi (A.D. 997-1030), Alberuni tells us how "Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions." All along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and also along old trade-routes passing through North-West and Central Asia, there were prosperous Hindu settlements. All these inhabitants became refugees. Exodus continues (besides extensive infiltration) from Bangla Desh and the Kashmir Valley even today. The only thing unique about the 1947-exodus was that thanks to its Sikh component it was not a one-way traffic.

In this larger perspective, Pakistan itself is not a new phenomenon, nor does the story end with its creation. On the other hand, old politics continues under more unfavourable conditions for India. Pakistan is emerging as an important focal point of Islamic fundamentalism and it is seeking new alignments in the Middle East in conformity to its new role. Muslim fundamentalism is a danger in the long run both to the West as well as the East, but it is not yet fully realized. Meanwhile, Pakistan is using its new position of leadership against India. While holding out the threat of nuclear blackmail, it is more than a willing ally of any country or group which has any quarrel with or grouse against India. In India itself, Pakistan enjoys a large support, not only amongst Muslims who have always had a soft corner for it and who, in fact, had an important role in its creation, but also amongst Hindu intelligensia, the country's left and secular elite who control its media and politics. The motives are complicated into which we cannot go here. But meanwhile India is being subjected to a war of subversion and aggression, a war hot and cold, active and passive. Pakistan has become an instigator and supplier, a trainer, an arsenal and a safe rear of many guerilla and militant forces.

But Hindu India remains confused and even unconcerned. It has been a poor student of history; it has therefore also neglected its lessons; it has failed to read properly the forces, particularly ideological forces, that have been and are still at work to keep it down. In fact, it does not even acknowledge them. It still stubbornly clings to its old assumption that the League politics came out of the scheming head of one Jinnah who was aided and abetted by the British, and that Muslims and Islam had nothing to do with it; that, in fact, they were reluctant victims of this politics and were pushed into it by an intransigent Hindudom.

All this we believe partly because it involves doing nothing, an ticipating nothing, planning nothing, and we can continue o live from day to day. A more realistic and faithful appraisal will impose our us duties of a different kind and scope, duties which we therefore shirk. We have learnt without thinking and we have got used to the idea of a shrunken and shrinking India. We can now think of India without Afghanistan, without the North-West Frontier Province, without Punjab and Sind, without East Bengal, and we can do the same without Kashmir and other parts in the future. Why assume avoidable responsibilities?

Or perhaps the sickness in deeper. Long back, Sri Aurobindo saw the "root cause of India's wakness," not in foreign yoke poverty or dearth of spiritual experience, but in the "decline of thinking power." Everywhere he sae "inability or unwillingness to think, which is a sign of tragic decadence.

Contents

1Prefacev
2Pakistan-Birth and Objectives1
3The Cabinet Mission and the Muslim League Direct Action24
4Prelude to Genocide of Hindus and Sikhs North-Western Frontier Massacres, Muslim League Agitation in the Punjab52
5March, 194772
6Note on Attack on Gurdwara Dehra Sahib108
7The Gandhi-Jinnah Appeal from fro Peace110
8Frontier Province and D. I. Khan115
9Round About August 15, 1947123
10Amritsar139
11West Punjab Ablaze167
12Sind210
13Did Sikhs (and Hindus) voluntarily leave Pakistan?215
14Did the Sikhs have a 'Plan'?-An Over blamed people241
15Appendix:258
16Tables of Incidents359
17Postscript445
18Glossary of Indian Terms449

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