Justification of Partition in Books & Educational Syllabi Breeds Hatred and Terrorism
By Nasim Yousaf
“The last remedy under the present circumstances is that one and all rise against this conspiracy [partition of India] as one man. Let there be a common Hindu-Muslim Revolution…it is time that we should sacrifice…in order to uphold Truth, Honour and Justice.” - Allama Mashriqi, 1947.
Repeated justification and endorsement of the partition of the Indian sub-continent within the Pakistani and Indian educational syllabi and general books are in fact breeding hatred and terrorism. This is not only damaging peace in South Asia but has obvious implications for the rest of the world.
The way history has been currently written, it endorses partition and highlights those who ratified it. This is because in August 1947, power was handed over by the British to the All-India Muslim League and Indian National Congress for Pakistan and India respectively. Therefore, the educational syllabi and books have been written from their perspective, glorifying their leaders’ roles and eliminating key facts from history.
What most people do not know or comprehend is that partition was avoidable and that the confrontational politics of the Muslim League and the Congress leaders in the 1930s and 1940s not only delayed freedom, but served to spread hatred between Muslims and Hindus, as the two parties and their leaders could not resolve their differences. This hatred led to deadly riots in August 1946 and thereafter these riots spread into other parts of India.
Allama Mashriqi watched the political events and developments very closely. He could foresee India breaking up and hostility taking hold in the region forever. In an effort to free the nation from the British and to keep the nation from breaking up, he took steps to bring about unity and a revolution.
In his statements, he warned the public, calling for a revolution, and said: “after the advent of Lord Mountbatten, India will be a heap of slaughter and tyranny henceforth…the only way to get out of this calamity was that the Hindus and the Musalmans should unite for a common revolution against the dirty politics of the present day.” - Allama Mashriqi, May 10, 1947
“The last remedy under the present circumstances is that one and all rise against this conspiracy [partition of India] as one man. Let there be a common Hindu-Muslim Revolution in which not hundreds but millions will lose their lives by the bullets of Birla and the British. Millions will die, no doubt, in this way but hundreds of millions will be saved forever. If man has decided to kill man for sheer lust of power and with nothing to show to the world except tyranny and loot, it is time that we should sacrifice men in millions now in order to uphold Truth, Honour and Justice.” - Allama Mashriqi, May 14, 1947
In addition, under his direction, Khaksar Tehrik movement (a private militia of the masses) undertook intense activities, such as publishing of revolt material, mock wars, parades and meetings with defence personnel. He also presented “The Constitution of Free India 1946 AC”, which sought the freedom and protected the interests of all communities, and called 300,000 Khaksars to Delhi on June 30, 1947. He also alerted Khaksar leaders to get ready for the dawn of freedom. All of these actions speak loudly that a well-planned coup by Mashriqi was forthcoming.
Mashriqi’s actions did not go unnoticed; brisk activity and an unusual rush within the circles of the Viceroy of India and non-Khaksar leaders became visible. As a result, within an unusually short time (when there was no other compelling reason), the partition plan was announced. Jinnah and Gandhi accepted the plan instantly and then pleaded to their respective parties, i. e., the All India Muslim League and the Indian National Congress, to endorse it, which they did. This approval was given prior to the assembly of the Khaksars in Delhi. It is to be noted that when the Muslim League was holding a meeting on 9 June, 1947 at Imperial Hotel to approve this plan, fires were shot on Khaksars and many who came to the hotel were seriously injured. To ensure that Mashriqi did not stand in the way, a fatal attack was made on Mashriqi’s life on the same day and he was arrested. Announcement and acceptance of the partition plan in this unusual hurry, especially prior to the assembly of Khaksars on June 30, confirms that these steps were taken in fear of Mashriqi taking over India, which was neither in the interest of the British (as they did not want to leave behind a united India which could become a superpower and for other reasons) nor the other parties’ leaders (who had obvious vested interests).
Thus, in August 1947, power was handed over to Muslim League and Congress and the region was divided into Pakistan and India. From there onwards, the educational syllabi and general writers began re-writing history from these two parties’ perspectives only, glorifying their leaders’ roles and eliminating Mashriqi’s pivotal role in bringing about freedom. Instead, he was portrayed as a villain, as were other nationalists who had sought to maintain unity of the sub-continent.
In fact, partition was avertable, had the leaders not played in the hands of the rulers and come to agreement for the sake of the region’s long- term future. The general people would have followed suit and focused on commonalities rather than differences. Time and ground realities have also proven that partition has only produced harsh suffering and dangerous animosities including the proliferation of deadly weapons in the region.
Today, the reality is that the countries are divided. But what is shocking is that there seems to be no realization by educationists, speakers, writers, media etc. that by distorting history and by justifying partition, hatred is being taught to our children in their most prime and impressionable ages. There is no realization of the obvious that under these circumstances - in which partition is explained, justified, and internalized by the countries’ youth - peace between the two countries cannot be achieved and Aman Ki Asha cannot be successful.
Justifying and endorsing partition goes beyond unsuccessful talks to broader consequences of automatically breeding hate and terrorism. For the sake of peace in South Asia and for subsequent implications for the world, the history of the region needs to be corrected and the ongoing brainwashing since 1947 needs to come to an end. To this end, the hidden facts surrounding partition and why and how India was divided need to be unburied and made public, the idea that partition was inevitable must be rectified in both countries, and personalities when highlighted should also be held accountable for their mistakes.The human devastation at the time of partition, a rare episode in human history, and its consequences should provide a lesson for the world to learn from. Going forward, the educational syllabi need to be overhauled and books must be written from the perspective of the future of South Asia.
Nasim Yousaf is a scholar and historian who has presented papers at U.S. conferences and written many articles and books. He has also contributed articles to the “Harvard Asia Quarterly”, “Pakistaniaat” and the “World History Encyclopedia (USA).” His forthcoming book entitled “Mahatma Gandhi & My Grandfather, Allama Mashriqi” uncovers many hidden realities behind the freedom of British India. E mail: email@example.com