Chronic facts of Indian partition, dissimilar sides of same coin

G. L. Batra, Writer & formerly Addl. Secretary, Indian Parliament and Chairman, Public Service Commission of the Indian State of Haryana

After partition, residents from territories which fell into the lot of Pakistan, who chose to move to India, settled in various states all over the country, but primarily in the then undivided state of Punjab and the hilly regions, and were rehabilitated by government. They were given lands, or they settled down with their relatives in the respective regions. They were born in undivided India, and they chose to be Indians even after partition. They were always natural Indian citizens, and are Indian citizens as per the provisions of Article 5 of our Constitution. Our Constitution was drafted, adopted and enforced after partition, and it became necessary to include an article, namely Article 6, to clarify the position regarding the citizenship of the members of this community.

shinkiari-81770_960_720Credit: – Public domain

The people who came to India after partition, struggled and worked hard to survive and flourish. They faced great hardships, but because of their self-respect and self-reliance, they have made a name for themselves in all fields, including the defence forces, education, agriculture, business, administration etc. It is fitting to say that they form the backbone in every field. However, they are even today, referred to as ‘Punjabis’ and not as residents of the respective state they chose to settle in, though they consider themselves as natives of these states.

Punjab was partitioned in 1967, and the state of Haryana was carved out of it. Unfortunately, the then state of Punjab did not give the areas which fell under the new state of Haryana, their due. To draw a parallel, it may be said that the elder brother of the family, did not treat the younger brother with the true family spirit. Haryana got its share in land, but could not get its due share of water. The Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) project, is still incomplete and hanging, for inexplicable reasons, probably best known to the Central Government alone.

The people of Haryana are by and large, simple, helpful, accommodating and good at heart. They are theists, and believe in God, but my no means are fanatic or fundamentalist. The customs prevalent in Haryana are identical with those found in the old Delhi territory which extends upto the Saraswati, and the absence of religious conservatism is a hallmark of this culture. Most of them belong to the Arya Samaj, or worship the Hindu deity Hanuman. Their true religion may be said to be agriculture. The people of Haryana have contributed greatly to the nation, as part of the defence forces. After the creation of Haryana, the state has made great strides of progress under the dynamic leadership of various Chief Ministers, who enjoyed a good rapport with, and went on to make a mark in, the Central Government. The fact that a large part of its territory comes under, or is in close proximity to the National Capital Region (NCR), has also contributed to Haryana’s development.

The members of the so-called migrant communities who settled in Punjab, and even their children who were born after the creation of Haryana, are not recognised as Haryanvis – they are referred to sometimes as Pakistanis and mostly as Punjabis. The members of this community have made a priceless contribution to the development of the state of Haryana and the nation. There is no reason why they should not be known as Haryanvis. While people form other places may think of them as Haryanvis, the people of Haryana, mistakenly still consider them to be ‘Punjabis’, and refer to them as such. Though the members of this community are proud to be Punjabis, and lead in every respect, including in culture and behaviour, they would feel even prouder to be referred to as Haryanvis. The very dust of Haryana is sacred to them.

Members of this community, in spite of having contributed greatly in every field, have not got their due, whether it be with respect to political representation at the State level, or in the power-centers. This tragic situation has arisen because elections in India are fought on the basis of caste-considerations. Another reason for this is that the members of this community are scattered all over India, rather than in any one state or region.

In spite of this, the so-called migrant community has contributed greatly to the progress of the nation. They have established themselves with characteristic tenacity and bravery. Similarly, the Muslims who willingly decided to migrate to Pakistan, are known there as ‘Mohajirs’. It can be very safely said that the so called Mohajirs are considered as inferiors and are not given as much respect in Pakistan and are frequently treated as second-class citizens there

M. A. Jinnah – The Architect of Pakistan

Mohammad Ali Jinnah the architect of Pakistan, who was bestowed with the title of Quaid e Azam, was brought up in Western style. He was a pork eating, alcohol drinking, secular Muslim who knew little of the Koran, whose Urdu was poor, and who married a Parsi. While Jawaharlal discarded the trappings of religion and disdained its use as a political force, Jinnah embraced the revolutionary potential of Islam with a vengeance. Initially, he was amongst the nationalist leaders who participated in the freedom struggle. However, he aspired to hold an important position at the helm of affairs, and with this disguised motive in mind, propounded the two-nation theory. In doing so, he in fact surrendered to the designs of the British, who wanted to divide India with ulterior motives. A little known fact is that Jinnah, at the time of India’s independence, was dying of tuberculosis, and he was desperate to see the creation of Pakistan before his death. Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad etc. were strongly against partition, and tried their best to avert it. Nehru strongly believed that India was the successor to British India, and that Pakistan was a seceder from it. Nehru was of the opinion that there had to be continuity; partition was barely tolerable, dismemberment was certainly not .  However, their well-intentioned efforts were to be in vain. Pakistan was thus born, a nation carved out of another nation, on the basis of religion.

After the Partition

Right from the day of partition, the Pakistani rulers including Jinnah wanted to foment problems for India.  Pakistan was not content with having only about 24% of the area of India. This was in fact a gift from the British to the Muslim league leaders for their loyalty. The Muslim league had demanded the whole of Bengal, Entire Punjab and a spacious corridor from West Pakistan to East Pakistan right across Uttar Pradesh, the heart of Islamic culture in India. This did not happen. Bengal and Punjab were partitioned and no corridor was given. Thus while dividing India, Pakistan itself was divided into two halves by India. This fact frustrated Pakistan .

M A. Jinnah, the first head of Pakistan, was of the view that Kashmir being a Muslim-majority state, should accede to Pakistan. He was in a hurry to achieve this object and exerted all sorts of pressure on the Maharaja, but failed to win him over. Then he opened negotiations with Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of the people’s movement whom Jinnah and his colleagues had earlier condemned. The Sheikh bluntly rejected the offer.

The British too were of the opinion that Kashmir should either accede to Pakistan or remain independent of both India and Pakistan. However, the Maharaja of Kashmir Hari Singh, and the people of Kashmir did not desire this. As a result,  Pakistan attempted to grab Kashmir by force, by sending infiltrators into the State and supporting them militarily.  Indian forces put up an exemplary fight against the infiltrators, and many brave Indian soldiers lost their lives. The problem was referred to the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation, which by passed a resolution recognizing in effect that Jammu and Kashmir was legally a part of India and that the Indian troops were in the state by right. The commission appointed by the Security Council proposed a cease fire and truce on August 13th 1948. This proposal was made at a time when the invaders were on the run and the Indian army was advancing rapidly and was on the verge of clearing the State of the infiltrators. The ceasefire made it possible for Pakistan to illegally occupy nearly one half of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, or nearly three fourths of Kashmir, which it could not otherwise have done. This was another gift of the British diplomacy to its protégé, Pakistan . Legally, geographically, by all means, the so called portions of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, belong to India. Kashmir had merged itself into India in 1947 unconditionally. In fact, the people of Kashmir had  agreed to this through their leader Sheikh Abdullah.

India had accepted the Security Council resolution for a plebiscite in Kashmir on a distinct understanding that Pakistan too would accept and implement it. But Pakistan did not do so, nor did the Security Council take any steps thereafter. Sheikh Abdullah, PM of Jammu and Kashmir until 1953, held a plebiscite in the form of electing a constituent assembly, except in the area called Azad Kashmir (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) which was in the illegal possession of Pakistan. This vote was almost unanimously in favour of India and against Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah, befittingly called Sher-e-Kashmir, declared this publicly several times, and also in the Security Council. Thereafter, several elections have been held in JK and elected governments remain in position. The question of plebiscite, therefore, doesn’t arise at all.

The part of Kashmir under Pakistan’s possession after the ceasefire, came to be called Azad Kashmir by them. India terms this territory as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Pakistan’s actions have created Kashmir as the bone of contention between the two countries. Kashmir was and is an integral part of India. In fact it is not only a part, but the heart of India. It is the beautiful flower which decorates India. The Kashmir problem today is a result of the unfinished agenda of the colonial British rulers. Even today, Pakistan, though it may not admit it, wants the Western world to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. India believes in no barriers, no walls. Our ancient culture exhorts us to determine every dispute through dialogue, with respect for the other side’s bonafide views. However, the Kashmir problem cannot be looked at with this perspective as Kashmir was, and is undoubtedly and decidedly, a part of India.



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