Untold HORRORS of 1947 India Partition: Treachery of a Thousand Years
On the 14th August 1947, India lost 8,82,000 sq km of her territory, the size of UK & France combined, to the becoming of a new State called Pakistan. 47, 00, 000 or more penniless Hindus were forced to move out of those lands, stamped as refugees. An official figure of 20 – 32,00,000 lakh, were brutally killed in the process.
With lost social and individual identities, leaving behind their rich lands, flourishing businesses, factories, a big price, for the freedom of the country, the battle for survival thereafter had just begun for my paternal and maternal families. The episodes of barbarity faced by my families are mere representatives of lakhs of episodes that happened in thousands upon thousands of villages and hundreds of towns. The loot, murder, arson, rapes, abduction of women faced by millions of Hindu-Sikhs of West Punjab, North Western Frontier Province, Sindh and raider occupied Kashmir, for months, were the outcome of a conspiracy that had been under planning for centuries.
The foundation of the biggest mass migration & holocaust of humanity in history is as old as over a thousand years. It didn’t just happen by chance as popularly established, but was the outcome of conspiracy of establishing a Muslim State of a purely Islamic character.
“Starting point of Pakistan goes back over a thousand years when Mohammed Bin Qasim set fort on Sindh and introduced Islam in the infidel sub continent”.
– History of Pakistan: Past and Present.
According to its original conception, Pakistan was to be larger than it turned out to be , with Kashmir, Assam, Bengal, Malabar and many Muslim states. Whatever remained of India was to be considered ‘Dinia’, meaning if not at an Islamic State at the moment, was to be converted to Islam.
“History of freedom movement of Muslims in the Indo Pakistan sub continent covering the period from the death of Aurangzeb 1n 1707 to the establishment of Pakistan in 1947” – From the official history taught in Pakistani school text books.
1933 The word Pakistan was coined by Choudhry Rehmat Ali & 3 Cambridge Muslim students in 1933, P- Punjab, A – Afghanistan, K- Kashmir, S- Sindh, Tan – Baluchistan. Rehmat Ali floated a pamphlet titled, Now or Never, in the Round Table Conference on January 28, 1933. The pamphlet mentioned 7 Commandments of Destiny for the seventh Continent of ‘Dinia’: avoid minoritism, avow nationalism, acquire proportional territory, consolidate the individual nations, convert India into Dinia.
The fact is that League politics did not initiate Muslim politics but were a continuation of Islamic politics grounded in the Islamic theology of Jihad. The theology according to which, dar al-harb is a country of infidels and Muslims must wage a war against it and convert it into dar al Islam, a country ruled by Muslims. To conclude, the believers are at war with the non believers in perpetuity until all are converted, this is the sum total of Jihad, widely discussed in Islamic books.
The credit of the birth of Pakistan goes to the All India Muslim League, born on Dec 30, 1906 is a known fact. In a document called ‘Lal Ishtihar’, that stated that Hindus became rich by robbing them, it appealed to Muslims, not to buy, not touch anything manufactured by the Hindus.
What is not commonly known is that the Muslim League was officially founded at ‘All India Mohammedan Educational Conference’ (organized by Syed Ahmed Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University) in Sahbagh in Dhaka in Ishrat Manzil of Nawab Salimullah, on December 27,1906 and was attended by 1955 delegates.
Known as Aligarh Muslim University by 1920, Madarsatul-Uloom Musalman-e-Hind, started operations on May 24, 1875, on the 56 th birthday of Queen Victoria by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a British Loyal, with the support of the British in Aligarh.
‘Two Nation theory’, was given by Sayed Khan as early as 1883, in a January 1883 speech in Patna. The original founder of the ‘Two nation theory’ was Ahmad Sirhindi, (1564–1624), Shah Waliullah (1703-1762) intensified it by declaring of India as dar al harb due to the decline of Mughals and the rise of the non-Muslim powers like the Marathas, Jats and Sikhs.
Partition of Bengal
On October 16, 1905, to eliminate the looming threat of Hindu revolutionaries, Lord Curzon combined with the residue of islamic Imperialism, partitioned Bengal, separating Muslim Eastern areas from Hindu western areas. Muslim ambition of converting East Bengal into Dar-al-Islam was set aflame and with support of English officers and magistrates, the jihadis burst full fury on Hindus, women were raped, Temples were destroyed and properties looted.
Bengal responded with massive protests lead by Rabindra Nath Tagore, Surendra Nath Banerjee, Bipin Chandra Pal, Ashwini Kumar Dutt. Hindus observed that day as Raksha bandhan. The movement was called Vande Mataram Movement. Over 50,000 Hindus took a dip in the Holy Ganga and took an oath for united Bengal. Rabindra Nath Tagore himself led the vow with roars of Vande Mataram. The idea of Swadeshi, and boycott of British goods was called for.
Lieutenant Governor of the newly formed province, Sir Joseph Mampfylde Fuller, let loose atrocities on Hindus. Hindu women were raped by British soldiers.
Dec 12, 1911, Partition was annulled. It was the first resounding victory of Indian Ntionalism.
Vande Mataram became a potent mantra with the blood of revolutionaries. Braving British lathis, the revolutionaries sanctified the two words into a potent Mantra that converted entire nation to the religion of patriotism. Crossing the Bengal borders it became an inspiring chant on the lips of men, women, children, young and old, a miracle that speeches couldn’t have achieved.
After the birth of league, incited by henchmen of Nawab Salimullah, assaults, rapes, loots, murders, destruction of properties, desecration of Temples burst out in full fury in Comilla (BanglaDesh) in March 1907. Women spent nights hidden in tanks.
Khilafat Movement and Moplah killings
In 1921, The Indian Muslims allied with Gandhi led the Khilafat movement to preserve the authority of the Ottoman Sultan as Caliph of Islam. An organised rising by the Moplah Muslims broke out in the guise of Khilafat movement. With manufactured war-knives and swords, firearms and swords from Hindu houses, from Police stations: they wrecked the rail-road and cut telegraph lines, destroyed bridges, felled trees and blocked roads, dug trenches and lay in ambush to attack the passing troops. 1500 Hindus were slaughtered, 20,000 forcibly converted, property worth 3 crore looted, huge number of Hindu women raped & abducted. Allah-ho-Akbar was the battle cry of Khilafat.
Beginning with Muhharum processions in Punjab & Bengal in 1922 and enveloping Amritsar, Lahore, Panipat, Moradabad, Meerut, Allahabad, Saharanpur, Bhagalpur, Gulbarga and by 1923 in Delhi, Hindus fell victim to the Muslim attackers.
In Kohat, N.W.F.P, 155 Hindus out of a total of 5% were butchered, raped, looted, entire population, 3200 in numbers had to seek shelter in Rawalpindi, 320 kms away.
In those desperate times, Swami Shraddhananda, an active member of the Hindu reform movement and Indian Independence movement launched a Shuddhi movement and was tirelessly engaged in reconverting the forcibly converted Hindus. 18000 plus returned to Hindu fold in first half of 1923. He presided over a Congress session at Amritsar in 1919 after Jallianwala massacre. He was the only Hindu who addressed a huge gathering from the minarets of Jama Masjid, Delhi for National solidarity & Vedic Dharma, he started his speech with Mantras.
Abdul Rashid, posing as a visitor, entered his home at Naya Bazar, Delhi on 23 December 1926, asked Swamiji’s attendant for a glass of water, and shot him dead soon as the attendant left the room.
The Muslim League was on the war path against the Hindus, Jinnah and other League leaders were provocative.
“Direct action means resort to non constitutional methods that can take any forms ..it means any action against the law”. -Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan.
“Pakistan can only be achieved by shedding blood of ourselves and of the others. Muslims don’t believe in Ahimsa”. -Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar.
“Any attempt to prevent the establishment of Pakistan would lead to bloodshed.” -Ghulam Mustafa Shah Gilani.
“If we have to fight Great Britain for placing us under one Central Hindu Raj, then the havoc which Muslims will play will put to shame what Chengez Halal Khan did”.- Sir Feroze Khan Noon.
Partition of India was now imminent, situation was tense and future uncertain.
Fear of Muslim mobs hovered over Hindus all the time. The British didn’t want to spend on riot-control, the British Indian Army was confined to the barracks.
Protecting their womenfolk from predation was the biggest concern of Hindus in Muslim dominated areas. Youth accumulated country-made guns & gun powder, trained villagers, women in self defence. Selling homes, factories, businesses, fields to relocate to what would eventually become the Indian side wasn’t easy. They followed an unwritten code of conduct of not abandoning other villagers, hence almost everyone stayed back.
Families would gather around a few tandoors for community meals and to share information and discuss course of action accordingly. Women would bake rotis, worry and discuss about the future of their daughters, none felt safe & certain. After the families retired youth would dry up the gunpowder in the simmering heat of tandoor, since was prone to clumping because of moisture.
Nights after night men, young boys guarded homes. Cries of ‘nara e takbi Allah hu Akbar’ could be heard. On the slightest sign of danger, on one call of ‘bhago musalmaan aa gaye’; whether sleeping or awake, carrying their children, leaving burning chulhas or meals halfway the women would run for shelter at one place, a Haveli, Mandir or a Gurudwara.
From few generations, my grand father, Shah Melaram Bhasin, a zamindaar at Rasul, district Jhelum in Pakistan, was not untouched with the dangers lurking around of the division of the country.
Dadaji’s family were the descendants of Kashyap Gotra Raja Khokhar Anand of around the border of Kabulistan, the frontline states of Bharatvarsha that blocked Arab’s path to Khyber Pass. (their ancestry traced back to be the descendant of Shri Ram’s son Kush, Kushrayans/ Khukhrayans) The close community of Khukhrayans was founded for protection of the Hindu faith and to fight the invaders from across the border. They began to settle in Bhera, the Salt Range areas which later became known as city of Khukhrains. It was a powerful tribe that resisted Mahmud of Ghazni during his 3rd invasion after defeat of Jayapal at the Battle of Bhera in 1004-5 which was the Khukhrayan capital and supported Anandapal against Ghazni in 1008-9 at Wahind. When Mahmud Gazni sacked Bhera, the Khukhrain king, Biji Rai stabbed himself with his dagger instead of submitting to Ghazni.
For the safety of his children, dadaji decided to shift two of his little boys and a 17 year old daughter to some safe place. Two of his older sons were posted in this side of India, the eldest one, Kasturi Lal Bhasin was serving in the EME, arms and service branch of the Indian Army and the second, Jogindra, an engineer, was posted in Delhi. My father, Yash Pal then 4yr old with his older brother, 6 year old Sudarshan were sent to Delhi. Dadaji with his wife, a son and two daughters, his brothers and their wives and children stayed back. Like most others, he too thought that once the disturbance dies down the family would reunite.
Direct Action Day
The Muslim League formed a council of Action to implement its Direct Action programme, which was by no means was to to take the form of Ahimsa. League began preparations for attacking Hindus, private army called Muslim national guards began to expand, police in in many provinces was overwhelmingly Muslim, helped in recruiting criminals, collection of arms, fire arms, lethal weapons, equipments, petrol, jeeps, helmets. Sword making industry made a fast progress, parcels of knives were frequently intercepted in Bombay, Bihar, United provinces by the railway police while in transit from Sialkot and Wazirabad.
16 August 1946, The Muslim League declared, ‘Direct Action Day’.
The League Bengal government declared it to be a public holiday throughout Bengal to celebrate the Direct Action day.
“We shall have India divided or India destroyed”, declared Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
It was the month of Ramzan. Under the leadership of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Hindus of Calcutta were attacked. Over 100,000 Muslims with firearms, weapons were mobilised. Coupons for petrol inspite of serious shortage, one month’s food ration was drawn in advance. Namazes were offered in masjids for freedom of “Muslim India”.
In Howrah they were guided by Sherif Khan, Mayor of Calcutta. In 22 out of 24 police head quarters, Hindu officers were replaced by Muslim officers. For 2 full days of the five day of rioting, mob was let loose without hinderance on a scale of reminiscence of barbaric Islamic invasions with slogans of, ‘Lar Kar lenge Pakistan’. The Calcutta fire brigade had to attend 900 calls for meeting cases of arson in the first two days. League had lead the country towards a Civil War.
“A man was tied to the connector box of tramlines, with a hole drilled in his skull to bleed to death slowly as possible”.
– Calcutta resident Nirad Chaudhuri
*Streets were piled with corpses to height of 2 stories
*Carcasses of Cows lay stinking besides bodies of their owners
*20,000 died in Calcutta alone, 15,000 were injured and around one lakh rendered homeless!
Wailing of Hindus fell on deaf ears of Governor Burrows. Rajasthani Marwaris now got blacksmiths to prepare spears, swords, weapons, bought arms from the American soldiers. Gopal Mukhopadhyay, a wrestler Basanta, Dalits, Hindus from Bihar reversed the tide by striking the Muslims hard with full fury.
10 Oct 1946, Mass murder, loot, rape of Hindus by League reached Noakhali on the day of Lakshmi Pooja & continued unabated for a week. With 50,000 killed, the complete Hindu population was nearly annihilated.
October 11, Gholam Sarwar’s Mayar Fauj , beheaded president of the Noakhali Bar Association & Hindu Mahasabha, Rajendra Lal Roy Chowdhury, his severed head was presented to Gholam Sarwar on a platter & his two daughters were sent to two of Sarwar’s generals.
Lower caste Hindus were attacked in Ramganj police station area Noakhali, houses were looted, set on fire.
In remote island Sandvip, that had no motor cars, petrol was imported from mainland to set houses on fire. Lalmohan Sen was killed while resisting Muslim mob from killing the Hindus.
Village after village were forcibly converted, men forced to wear skullcaps, grow beards, women stripped of their shankha and sindur, were forced to recite kalma.
The Diwali of 24 November 1946 was a Dark Diwali. In Chapra, a Muslim leader encouraged Muslims to “Rejoice illuminating Hindu houses”.
In Rawalpindi the Hindu & Sikh students took out a procession against formation of Muslim League on 5th March 47. The Rawalpindi Police fired on the students, Leaguers attacked them but got the worst of it in the free fight. My 18 year old maternal uncle (mama) also participated in the rally and came back home wounded.
My maternal grandparents were the resident of Arya Mohalla, Mall Road, Rawalpindi. Nana ji, Ram Lal Mehta hailed from Sargodha and Nani, Vishveshwari from Mandi Bahauddin. My nani could foresee what Rawalpindi had in store for her son and five young daughters, 15, 13, 10, 6 and my one year old mother. My nana, a station master in railways, like many others, thought that the frenzy would pass, besides a huge number of Hindu families looked up to him for advice on further action pertaining to their uncertain futures. Leaving my reluctant nana, my courageous grandmother with her six children, on the 27th of March 1947 set off on a journey to join her eldest son posted in the Indian side of Punjab.
4th, 5th March 1947, Hindus of Lahore and Amritsar were attacked. Muslim mobs entered the village Thoha Khalsa, Tehsil Kahuta and gave the Sikhs and Hindus ultimatums to convert. After resisting for three days, they gave them 20,000 rupees, gathered themselves in the Gurudwara and negotiated with the Muslims mobs that they will not burn their houses after burning them, will not kill men, dishonour the women. Within minutes of buying the truce, they saw their houses being looted, burned for 6 days.
Thousands of Hindus men, women and children were slaughtered. Their shops were looted continuously for many days. Most Hindus living in the Muslim area murdered, some were lucky to escape without their belongings. Fully prepared Muslim League-led mobs fell on Hindus and Sikhs scattered in the villages of Multan, Rawalpindi, Campbellpur, Jhelum and Sargodha.
March 6, 1947 Pir of Golra Sharif, incited League lead mobs to raid nearby villages since they were unable to do so in the city because of heavily armed Sikhs. They were supplied by League with daggers, swords, spears, fire-arms from NWFP, assassins were paid by a Delhi based politician according to the numbers of Hindus killed by them. Patrolling groups in jeeps went about cutting off stray Hindu and Sikhs. By end of March, the penniless Hindu survivors of Rawalpindi, were transferred into refugee camps, established all over Punjab, Jhelum, Sargodha.
It was thought that even after Partition, things would become normal and families would continue to live in Rawalpindi, business establishments were closed. People were confined to their four walls.
“The whole of the Hindu-Sikh part is an absolute wreck, as though it has been subjected to an air raid. Several Hindu and Sikh villages were wiped out. Justice Teja Singh, a member of the Punjab Boundary Commission, stated before the Commission that during the Rawalpindi riots, “A large number of people were forcibly converted, children were kidnapped, and young women abducted and openly raped.The official figure of deaths in Rawalpindi was 2,263, far below the actual number, a separate number of female casualities is not available. Women were subjected to maximum humiliation and torture. Their agony can be judged by the fact that a number of women jumped into wells to save their honour.”
– Mountbatten’s report to the British Government in England, after visiting Rawalpindi.
In Jalandhar, my nani & masi’s would cook extra meals everyday for the refugees who were pouring down in huge numbers. Both my mamas, Jugal Kishore and Nand Kishore everyday after work would go to refugee camps distributing food & looking for family & friends. Two of my eldest masis would accompany them to the camps to tend to the wounded & emotionally shattered families. There were babies, young, old who had either lost their families or were separated.
Both my masis later joined the nursing department of AIIMS, the older one, Rajeshwari Sharma retired as the Nursing Superintendent AIIMS Delhi in 1991, and the second, Krishna Malhotra also as the Nursing Superintendent from PGIMS, Rohtak in 1994.
India was faced with 2 alternatives, Partition or Civil war.
Congress chose Partition. 3 June 1947, Mountbatten plan was accepted to divide India into two separate states. In Sindh, where there was League ministry, the design to accede to Pakistan was left to the assembly. In NWFP where there was Congress ministry, there was to be a referendum of people to anew their preferences. Sylhet district of Assam with Muslim majority was carved out of the province for ascertaining the will of the people but same choice was denied to the district of Tharparkarin Sindh on the border of Rajasthan where there was Hindu majority.
941 Census figures had proven to be crucial factors the demarcation of the boundaries. Congress in 1933, had called for boycott of Census as it entailed communal enumeration. (the 31 Census left an impact on India Act of 1935)
On the other hand the Muslim leaders urged the Muslims to enumerate fully. This resulted in tilting the balance in favour of Muslims in several districts.
Back in Jalandhar, my nani was now worried about her husband who was still in Rawalpindi. She urged her sons to anyhow manage to travel to Pakistan to look for their father. Neighbours, acquaintances suggested it unadvisable in those situations. Some courage that brave woman had, she quietly sneaked out in search of her husband on the 15th of June 1947, carrying my one year old mother, leaving a note for her four daughters left in the responsible care of their older brothers.
She managed to reach Pakistan only to find her house occupied by Muslims and no sign of her husband. Hiding with dozens of others watching carnage on streets, my nani spent months in search of her husband. Neither could she get any news of her younger sister who was married in Jhelum district. From some sources she found out that they had moved from Jhelum with a caravan travelling to the Indian side.
The date for the transfer of power to the new dominions was June 1948, but due to rise of communal violence, Mountbatten advanced the date to 15 August 1947, giving only 6 weeks to complete all the arrangements for partition. The Partition was decided in May but the Commission to decide boundaries was not decided till end of June. The demarcation line of divide was disclosed on 17th of August, people were deliberately kept in ignorance of which side they belonged to, till two days after Independence.
“Congress accepted on Boundary Commission for Bengal & Punjab.
Accepted one man Commission instead of three men Commission.
Accepted Cyrill Radcliffe who had worked as junior council to Jinnah, was neither known for legal eminence, nor for political impartiality, nor any special contribution to the public life of England”.
– Prof. A.N. Bali.
“The Nehru government is unnerved with terror tactics of Muslim League. Acceptance of partition would be an act of betrayal & surrender.
Let us rather suffer the British rule a little longer than sacrifice our cherished goal of United India. Let us gird up your loins to fight, if need be both the British & the League & safeguard the integrity of the country”.
-Purushottam Das Tondon, against the resolution for acceptance of 3rd June plan.
Acceptance of the Mountbatten plan was an open call for Muslim mobs. Armed with information about the Hindus of now Pakistan, their properties and wealth, the prettiest young women in every village, they descended upon Sikhs & Hindus with the intent of killing the men, raping & abducting their women. They marked houses & wrote on their walls.
The Sikh and Hindu men put up stout resistance until they ran out of gun powder. Fathers and brothers hugged their wives, daughters, mothers & cried, women didn’t because they knew what was coming and their tears would weaken the men. Those who had gun powder, shot their daughters and wives dead, ones who had run out of it, slit the throats of their beloved ones, they were aware of what awaited the survivors, rape and ignominy of being sold into brothels!
My dada ji’s family too had no choice but to prepare to move. Leaving their fields they locked up the haveli, whatever was possible and left everything in the care of his muslim servants, hoping to come back when situation was under control. Dadaji, his wife, eldest son, one daughter and her husband, one 13 year old daughter, wife, brothers and their families set on foot with a couple of horses, some gold, silver, cash & some arms. Two of his Muslim servants accompanied them on their journey towards the Indian borders. After having crossed 3 villages from where they had to make it alone, the servants wished them well and bid goodbye….only to face the same servants with a mob of muslims when they had just crossed the last village closed to the new border!
Left with no choice to either die at their hands or convert, have their women assaulted by the mobs, my grandfather shot his first fire and the other men, his son, son in law, 2 brothers, their 3 young boys all under 16 took cover of their women and prepared to attack. My grandmother, Parmeshwari Devi and her sister in laws were ready with their daggers.
My 19 year old married bua knew what was coming, she took her younger sister by hand, ran back towards the village and ended their journey by jumping into the well. When the Muslims got better of them, Dadaji shot himself, dadi stabbed herself but didn’t loose consciousness. My tayaji, Kesar Lal just 20 then, shot his mother & slit throats of 23 members members of his family, jumped in Jhelum pretending to be dead. He swam for about 13 days and came out on the shore of Jhelum in Indian Kashmir. From there he travelled Delhi to meet whatever was left of the family, his younger brothers and one sister.
As luck could have it, my bua’s (one who drowned herself in the well) husband was found alive among the dead by the Indian army. The Muslims servants, learning of him being alive, made all efforts to hunt him down, may be since he probably appeared to be the only heir to all my dada’s property. He was transported to India by our soldiers wrapped (hidden) in the army beddings.
I grew up listening to many heart wrenching sagas and their survival thereafter, stories of the family as well their friends. When the brothers would get together during some occasions and shared the memories of their childhood, the giggles discussing the happy times would gradually transform into sobs and tears of loosing their little sisters, parents, home and wealth. Seeing cities of Pakistan on TV, my father would be lost in his own world. Tayaji would tell me about his beautiful mother and sister and how protective the brothers were about her. He would tell me about how dadi would swim the Chenab and cross over to her maternal village in the afternoon and be back by the evening to feed her family, about how all the siblings would swim in the Jhelum everyday..”
On the northwest of their village was Vitasta/ Jhelum river and on the southeast was Chenab River, which separated it from Gujranwala and Gujrat Districts.
RSS workers in all the disturbed areas of now Pakistan were directed not to migrate to the Indian side.
They were on duty round the clock to save Hindus trapped in heavy Muslim concentrated localities. Dr.Harbans Lal had just one truck and two motorbikes. Without food & sleep for days altogether, they saved families from being massacred. On the way to one such destination, their truck was stopped by the Baluch rioters, workers were forced to stand in a row, were attacked by bayonets following rain of bullets. All except Dr. Harbans who pretended dead and the one under him were killed.
Caravans of refugees who just walked for days to reach refugee camps erected in cities were pushed to the brink by violence, looting and food shortages. Many Hindu men fought bravely but stood no chance against well-armed mobs. Many collapsed fighting, bodies lay around, stray dogs fighting over them. Many families that tried, barely made it out of their village because they were intercepted by Muslim mobs. More than a million died along the journey.
The family of Maina, my nani’s younger sister, boarded the train to Amritsar. She was full time pregnant. The trains was full of people, the compartments were packed, people were perched on top of the train, in the couplings between coaches, hung on doors and windows. Muslim mobs shouting Allah-u-Akbar entered the train and started to comb through the compartments slaughtering men and grabbing their women.
Maina nani fainted seeing her husband, brother-in-law, Krishan Lal and father-in-law fall dead.
Under a pile of dead, in the ‘blood train’, with blood seeping under the carriage doors, she was found alive. She was sent to a refugee camp in Amritsar, she had lost it all, her whole family including the baby. My eldest mama, Jugal Kishore Mehta spotted her while he was visiting refugee camps. She was brought back to her sister in Jalandhar.
Amritsar streets were littered with festering corpses.
Sanitary staff was inadequate & afraid to venture into most areas. RSS teams engaged in relief camps came forward to clear the city of the stink & choked drains, night soil & dirt with their own hands. Youth helped them dumping it to jungles!
Aug 22,1947, Kunjah, a town, now in WP, came under a massive Muslim attack. 350 Hindus were killed, 50 women abducted & taken to a harem. Disguised as Muslims, the rescue team of Mulk Raj Khanna accompanied by 3 armed jawans rescued and brought all of them to the Army camp.
Nani was fortunate to locate Nana ji with the help of RSS workers. She and my Nana were rescued by the Indian Army and brought back to India. My eldest masi would describe,
“We spent days sitting on the terrace looking at the streets and devastated groups of people coming from Pakistan, would cook meals and mamas would go frantically in search of their parents to refuge camps in and around Jalandhar. We would spent nights crying. Until the day when they returned with your mother who’d gone in the lap, now came walking wearing strange oversize clothes…”
My grandmother’s courage and strong survival instincts made it possible to for the family to reunite.
After assaulting Hindu men in trains, Muslims would throw them in the rivers, ones who would come out from the water alive were converted to Islam or slaughtered on refusal.
Maina nani’s brother in law, Krishan Lal Sharma was taken alive and was made to head a mob to slaughter Hindus. In the hope to find some one still alive from his family, he moved around with them for about a month. He somehow managed to escape and was hiding for around three months till he finally made it to India..
After several months he could trace my nani and family. In due course of time my nani got Maina married to Krishan Lal, her brother-in-law younger to her by five years.
Their 3 children & myself would sit through tearful descriptions of the unimaginable hell they lived through…
Bodies of partition victims were disfigured with patterns of tooth-marks and tattooed with symbols of Islam and Pakistan Zindabad. Women with chopped-off breasts are on record of being brought to refugee camps!
I shudder with the very thought, “had it not been for my Tayaji Kesar Lal, my Nani, Vishweshwari Devi, her brother-in-law, Krishan Lal, my grand dad who shot himself, my brave Dadi, Parmeshwari Devi……would my identity today be of a proud Hindu?
A talk by the author of this piece Meenakshi Sharan on the horrors of the Partition of India:
1. Experiences of both my maternal and paternal families, the political history of their time as described by them.
2. India Divided, Rajendra Prasad.
3. The Tragic stories of Partition, H.V.Sheshadri
4. Indian Summer The Secret History of the End of an Empire, Alex von Tunzelmann
5. Pakistan, or The Partition of India, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Featured image courtesy: Pinterest and historyreimagined.wordpress.com.