Volume - 7 : Issue - 3

Published : Jul. - Sep. 2008

Group : Partition

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by - Dial Gidwani

References : Dr. Dur Pathan of Gul Hayat Dokri from his archives collection


Lord Mountbatten's arrogance in driving the Partition through to completion in five months after his return to India in March 1947 instead of the minimum of fifteen months (if not more upon request) that all sides had allowed him. It was to learn that the border between India and Pakistan that came about because of the Partition was drawn by an English judge, a certain Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who scarcely knew anything about India (and, apparently, simply didn't care). These appalling facts are related in Pamela Mountbatten's book, one of the two books reviewed, entitled "India Remembered."

This was the man who had been sent off to India in March 1947, charged with handing over the reins of power by June 1948. But Mountbatten's arrogance was boundless. His decision to bring forward the date of independence -- and thus of partition -- by 10 months to August 1947 seems to have been unilateral. His solution to an enormously complex task, widely believed to be impossible in 15 months, was to do it in five month. There can be little doubt that this switch to fast forward cost countless lives and caused untold misery.

The border between the newly created nations of India and Pakistan was actually delineated by an English judge, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who knew virtually nothing about India before coming there to do the job in the sweltering summer of 1947. Incredibly, as each nation celebrated its freedom, neither knew the precise dimensions of its territory. A Pakistani minister described the partition as "the parting kick of the British." The divided regions of the Punjab in the west and Bengal in the east became immediate nightmares of ethnic cleansing, sectarian violence and displaced persons.

Sir Cyril wrote that "there will be roughly 80 million people with a grievance who will begin looking for me. I do not want them to find me." Ms. von Tunzelmann says that "he had the good sense to get on a plane to London on 17 August [1947] and later burned all his papers relating to partition." As for Mountbatten, he did not, to his credit, cut and run like Sir Cyril. He stayed on for nearly a year as governor-general of the independent Dominion of India and seems to have done everything he could to defuse the violent effects of his foolhardy haste.

Punjab and Bengal was divided, which to some extent offered Punjabis and Bengalis their home land. Punjabi's also moved to Sindh and Muhajars from India also moved to Sindh. This resulted immediate exodus of Sindhi Hindu from Sindh at a short notice as their lives were under threat. They left their home; their properties were forcibly taken away. Sindhi Muslim who were sympathetic toward Sindhi Hindus but could not help. Ultimately even they were victims of the influx of Muslims from India. Sindhi Hindus moved to India.

Sindhis were not in the least afraid of death. The only fear that haunted them and made them nervous and miserable was one of loss and honor and sight of ravage and abduction over their kith and kin. This unnerved them so much that they even sent away their young ladies and grown-up girls to Hindustan, with their friends and neighbors. They themselves stayed away in Pakistan to watch events and face the music. No doubt responsible persons of Government by statements and pronouncements assured every kind of protection and safety, but the acts and deeds could not inspire requisite confidence.

The events at Hyderabad Sind and Karachi have amply justified and proved their fears and doubts. These unfortunate happenings, Sindhi officials of Sindh Government could no longer guarantee protection and safety to the minority community, as they could not rely upon the S.R.P. and the police, as the majority of the force was of Punjabi and state refugees and very few original Sindhi Muslims.

Such events prompted our exodus leaving everything behind, even the memories of our Ancestor. Sindhi in India faced difficult times. Gandhi was assassinated and we became orphans. Indian National congress leadership betrayed us. Governments of India and local government had no sympathy or even offering helping hand.

Our families, friend's neighbors, were separated on account of forced migration to India. Our Ancestors suffered but never failed in their duty towards their children's comfort, education, care and love. It is their sacrifices that helped us to build our new life away from our motherland Sindh. It is time to pay homage and respect to them and our fore fathers and know more about them.