Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Eternal wounds - Partition

I just began reading Yasmin Khan's "The great Partition: The making of India and Pakistan". Economist had reviewed the book a year back and commended it as good read. In her introduction Yasmin emphasises that the partition had affected regions of the subcontinent far beyond the eastern (Bengal) and western (Punjab) borders. She cites various hot spots that too saw riots or some form of religious tension. The list includes Meerut, Lucknow, Mumbai, Godhra, Secunderabad (the only southern city) etc. Looking at the list I sadly realised that each one of them remain a communal hot spot till today, more than 60 years later. Each had seen so many more riots decades later, each riot was bloody and cost hundreds of lives.

Often we hear of loud harsh criticism of Iraq's civil war and how Bush was responsible for uncorking it by removing a tyrant who had kept the country...well...corked up. While he does deserve criticism for the hodge-podge post invasion planning much of what happens is entirely the country's own making. Again what is happening in Iraq, though very tragic, pales into comparision before the horrors of what India and Pakistan endured. The 24 hour news cycle with its penchant to give wisdom in a hurry has no patience for deeper historical knowledge.

1 comment:

Sunita said...

A year ago i met a lady - 90 years i guess travelling to Madras. She was relating how she, her husband and 7 children started out for India along the railway track. By the time she got to Amritsar she had lost 5 children and her husband. Muslims and Hindus haven't got over the 'hurt' they did each other. Hindus overtly or covertly sometimes feel that the muslims deserved 'Godhra' and the wounds are 'eternal' i guess. Something that i can't even fathom not having witnessed even a part of it.