Chandigarh, 15 August (2021) Just recall 74 years ago on this day, Punjabis were gripped by politically inspired bigotry and nationalism across the border which was drawn on the subcontinent by outsiders. Punjab’s spilled blood of one another for weeks together before the midnight birth of ‘two nations’- India and Pakistan- on 15 August 1947.
Speaking at a function organised in the Kendri Singh Sabha complex here to observe the Independence Day today as “Repentance Day” Dr Dharmvir Gandhi said on this day the British rulers left India formally recognizing the statehood of India and Pakistan and transferred to them amid the orchestrated mad religious frenzy that left 10 lakhs Punjabis massacred, 90 lakhs uprooted and thousands of women raped, abducted and humiliated. Former Vice Chairman of National Minorities Commission Prof Bawa Singh said all that turmoil of 1947 was organized and whipped up by Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communitarian politics which began emerging in Punjab in 19th century when colonial masters’ implemented their scheme of enumeration (official census) of religious communities in India. The British used the relative strength of a religious communities in defining majorities and minorities for political presentation to the colonial government offering the Indian state’s differential patronage, said senior journalist Jaspal Singh Sidhu. Prior to 1947 Punjab’s religious landscape thus got divided into three religiously competing communities–Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs whose politicians formed their respective armbands to pursue their territorial and political ambitions.
Prof Manjit Singh said at that time the religious identity-based politics saw Muslim Leagues’ forming its armed National Guards, RSS workers and Hindu Mahasabha activists got themselves equipped with modern arms while Akali Dal’ floated their armed ‘Shaheedi Dals’. Dr Pyara Lal Garg said three of such armed bands then stalked the urban and rural areas of Punjab committing massacres ,loot and abduction of womenfolk.
Eminent writer Rajwinder Singh Rahi said the British quickly withdrew their governance leaving the administration getting religiously divided to join the armed bands committing mayhem. Thousands of poor, Dalits and deprived people were killed on both sides whose names did not figure in any record in India and Pakistan since there was no property in their name. Dr Avtar Singh senior IAS said the violence is structured in Indian society because of caste- hierarchy which was easily provoked by the politicians in 1947. Muslim leaders Taj Mohammad and Shamsher Kaaari said those forces which targeted Muslims during Partition are again active forcing the community to live under constant fear.
Speakers warned the Punjabis that if the present rulers succeeded in enacting and sustaining the 1947 type communal frenzy now, disastrous situation would engulf the entire Asian region soon.
Issued by Khushhal Singh, General Secretary Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha 9316107093
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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