Ali Raza reviews a new book about partition violence that seems to be worth a look.
btw, tangentially related question: will the ISI’s far-sighted decision to de-enemize the Sikh community eventually include a possible return of some Sikhs to West Punjab? Or are there limits to forgive, forget and strategize?
As some of you may know, there has been a systematic effort in the ISI-webring to shift to blaming Hindus (and particularly upper-caste Hindus) for all crimes. Sikhs are no longer mentioned as evil foes at all. In fact, they are our long lost brothers, manipulated by Hindu Banias into doing their dirty work in East Punjab and so on. Interestingly, upper caste Hindus ”forced us to ask for partition”…a terrible choice that was unfortunately forced upon us, but remember, it was also a glorious result we worked towards for 1000 years, an essential step in the future glory of the Ummah, but a glorious wonderful outcome we would gladly have foregone if only Nehru had accepted the cabinet mission plan, so dont blame us for it… and so on.
But while this Sikh-strategy is focused on the possible disruption of the Indian state, the fact that so many Sikhs have roots and religious shrines in West Punjab means that there is the potential of this moving further than Rupeenews might wish. So, hive-mind, what do you think? Sikhs buying property in Nankana sahib and setting up a hostel is one thing, Sikhs starting to buy property in Faisalabad (aka Lyallpur) may be another. Can that happen? Before you rush to answer, do think of how much bonhomie now exists between individual West Punjab politicians and Sikh politicians in East Punjab. And how much trade and travel money is likely to become involved in this business.
About the violence itself, it may always be hidden under the surface of many or even all human societies, but there are ways to encourage it and ways to keep it in check….encouraging division and hatred over c0-existence was a very bad choice (at least in my opinion…of course, we know that there are other opinions).
But is it possible to go even further? today the Sikhs, tomorrow the Hindus? we may yet have buyers’ remorse to the point of forgiving even the Hindus (before you wonder what they are being forgiven for, remember, they caused everything. Including the last part where we all went wild. Whatever we did was just retaliation…or atleast that’s the story)? Yes? no? what do you think (Will the Hindus forgive us? Will the Sikhs? Internet Hindus probably wont, the Sikhs, maybe they have already done so? Anyway, comments welcome from that end too).
I dont want to give the impression that everyone in India or even in Pakistan thinks about partition all the time. Obviously, most people dont think of it at all. But at least in Pakistan, the mythology of partition is still considered a crucial part of the foundation on which Pakistan stands. Insulting questions to Indian cricketers and even Shabana Azmi’s failure to find an apartment in Juhu or whatever are all good and well, but they are thin gruel on which to build our great country. Islam and Partition (in whatever order) are still thought to be the closest we have to a real foundation. So ordinary Pakistanis may not obsess about it like I do, but the deep state is still very invested in it…and a lot of what has gone on with terrorism and the nurturing of Hafiz Saeed types is explained by this obsession.
Just to be clear, I dont believe that partition and Islam are somehow critical to Pakistan’s possible survival…I mean, I dont believe it in either sense. I dont think they are much of a foundation AND I dont think we need them..in fact we need to use them less and less..maybe only in 2nd grade or so….. Too much and we wont make it to 75… But how much is too much? and how to keep them at just the right temperature?
It would have been easier not to start.