With Fahmida holding Bhagat Singh ke Syasi Dastavez in Urdu
With Fahmida holding Bhagat Singh ke Syasi Dastavez in Urdu
I could read this book 23 years after its publication, though it was of my interest and I am having its photocopy done from JNU about a decade back. Later got its print copy in 2015
Book is divided into six chapters with Preface/Introduction, Conclusion, Appendices and Bibliography. In introduction author has referred to some books on Indian communist movement. IST chapter is Background, in which author has given Punjab’s geographical and other features from pre-partition period. Linguistic and socio-cultural-sociological-economical details from census data from 1911 onwards has been referred to. Punjab has been referred to as pre-portion, up to 1966 and post 1966 after Haryana and Himachal were created out of it.
From second chapter author comes over to the theme of Communist movement and second chapter is-Before People’s War, 1920-42. In this chapter history of formation of CPI in 1920 at Tashkent by MN Roy and in 1925 at Kanpur. In Punjab it found echo in Ghadar party inspired Kirti Kisan Party and Naujwan Bharat Sabha of Bhagat Singh. Inqlab-Urdu paper from Lahore by Ghulam Hussain. Muhajir M A Majid organised Lahore Naujwan Sabha. Author has coined Ghadar-Kirti and Official Group (OG) for two CPI trends in Punjab. Author terms NBS socialism taken over by fascination for terrorism, a wrong assumption. In 1937 elections, seven Communist-socialist MLA’s won-3 KKP, 3 OG+1 CSP. Raghbir Kaur won from Sikh women constituency. CPI legalised in 1942.
Third chapter is-The Failure of Integration, 1942-47-in 1942, KKP merged with CPI Official group, but bickering continued. CPI fought SGPC Elections till 1960! In 1946 assemble elections, CPI won no seat, Ajoy Ghosh made Punjab incharge and he is described as dictator by author. Master Kabul Singh and Harjap Singh-2 out of 5 CP MLAs had defected to Congress in 1942. Ram Singh Dutt-Gurdaspur leader also defected to Congress.
Chapter fourth is devoted to ‘The Lal Communist Party, 1948-52-in this chapter author narrates the story of Teja Singh Sutantar led LCP’s Muzaraa movement in Malwa-Kishangarh, led by Dharam Singh Fakkar and Jagir Singh Joga in 1948. On 5-8th January 1948 at Nakodar Ghadri-Kirti spectrum formed LCP with 269 delegates-Sutantar-Dutt-Bujha, claimed loyalty of 1500 members, 66% of total CPI, it was called LCP. PEPSU formed on 15th July 1948, merged with Punjab in 1956. On 18th March 1949, 500 soldiers attacked Muzara movement in Kishangarh three killed, two executed, sixty Muzaras arrested, case became celebrity with Fakkar as hero. Patiala Maharaja Mama-uncle Giian Singh Rarewala was Chief Minister. , Colonel Raghbir Singh and Brish Bhan replaced him later. Hira Singh Dard part of LCP, 13th July 1952-LCP dissolved and members joined CPI. LCP had won three MLA’s in 1952 elections, CPI won six.
Chapter five is-A Crisis of Identity-1948-61-This is more about national CPI-PC Joshi to BT Randive to C Rajeshwara Rao to Ajoy Ghosh. In Punjab-Josh-Sutantar-Surjeet-Malhotra. Baba Gurmukh Singh/Master Hari Singh ultra-left. In 1957 elections CPI reduced to six from 10 in assembly. In 1954 SGPC elections, CPI won 22 of 140 seats as Sikh Desh Bhagat Board, in 1960 got zero and never fought again. Membership increased from 1527 in 1948 to 10587 in 1961. Sixth and last chapter is-Punjab and the CPI Split, 1961-67- it deals with 1964 split between CPI/CPM and in 1967 split of CPM/CPIML, byt the later is not paid attention. Before national split there was Nurmahal conference on 20-21 May 1964 in Punjab. Des Raj Chadha took charge of left HQ at Delhi. CPI conference in Amritsar on 22-29 November 1964, out of 7124 members, 91 member State Council and 25 member State Executive elected. Avtar Malhotra Secretary. 1967 elections fought separately, in which CPI won 5 seats and CPM got 3.
Conclusions, appendices of Abbreviations, Bibliographical and Glossary and Biographical notes are given, at the end Bibliography of books, official records, CPI records, thesis and papers are given.
Book has very little reference to Bhagat Singh and its style is quite tedious, though factual data is relevant, the book does not enlighten much.
(Read between 31st December-2nd January) Posted on 3rd January
Ishtiaq Ahmed, The Punjab: Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed, 2011, Rupa Delhi, Pages 754+50 more, price 495/ Rupees
I was holding this book since more than four years now and wished to read it. Its mere size was postponing its reading, so finally read it fully from cover to cover during August-September. Author of this significant study Ishtiaq Ahmed is Professor Emeritus of Stockholm University of Sweden, from where he received his PhD degree in Political Science and taught afterwards. Born on 24th February 1947 in Lahore, the author remained associated with National University of Singapore and LUM Lahore also. Book is dedicated to author’s wife Meliha, perhaps Turkish and sons Sahir and Selim and their partners. The book was published in hard cover by Rupa Publications Delhi in 2011 and they also brought out its soft cover edition in same year. Book is divided into 21 chapters, divided into three stages, along with Acknowledgements, Preface, Calendar 1947, Chronology of events during 1947, Government of Punjab (1947) and Introduction, prior to chapters and in appendices there are List of Punjab assembly members in 1946-47, prior to partition, Glossary, Bibliography and Interviewers list and Index. Total pages of book cross 800 hundred mark. Probably this is most comprehensive study of 1947 partition of Punjab.
In acknowledgements author thanks Swedish research council for generous research grant for the work in 2003-5 for three years. A large number of individuals and Rupa publications are also acknowledged gratefully. In Preface, author brings personal reference of Temple Road Lahore where he was born, which was a mixed population area once of Hindu-Sikh and Muslims. Beli Ram and sons’ chemists continued to live in this area till 1971, they left after Pakistan break up. In childhood, the author had listened to many tales of Muslim sufferings from refugees from India, though a Muslim Lal din, he was taunted as Hindu Lala Churanji Lal! In 1953, Ahmadiyya problem also cropped up. Author refers to fictional and literary works, including Amrita Pritam’s classic poem of partition- Ajj Akhan Waris Shah nun…. also referred is Boota Singh-Zainab story.
On theoretical plane, author refers to Jewish holocaust, ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia, genocide in Rwanda and Darfur and the partition of Punjab as common manifestation of the same irrationality and aggression which bedevilled civilisations in antiquity/middle ages and our times. He refers to indigenisation of administration since 1940’s. There were five divisions of Punjab in 1947 with 29 districts. The divisions were -Rawalpindi, Multan, Lahore, Jullundur and Ambala. First two became part fully of Pakistan and last two of India, while Lahore division was divided, whose two districts-Amritsar and Gurdaspur became part of India. 17 districts went to Pakistan and 12 to India.
After calendar there is cursory look at the chronology of events from 24th January 1947 to 31st December 1947. On 24th January Punjab Premier Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana bans RSS and Muslim National Guard. On 20th February British declares June 1948 as final date for quitting India. 2nd March get the resignation of Khizr ministry and on 3rd March Master Tara Singh waves his Kirpan in front of Punjab assembly in opposition to creation of Pakistan. On 5th March Governor Evan Jenkins imposes Governor rule. Between 6-13th March large killings of Sikhs in rural Rawalpindi area takes place. On 24th March Louis Mountbatten takes over as last Viceroy of India, who announces partition plan on 3rd June with transfer of power in mid-August 1947 itself. On 23rd June Punjab assembly approves partition plan. On 8th July Cyril Radcliffe takes over as Boundary commission chairman. On 18th July British Parliament passes India Independence act 1947. On 1st August poorly, managed Punjab Boundary force under Major General Rees takes over. On 12th August first large movement of Muslims from East Punjab to westwards begins. On 15th August power is transferred and British rule ends. On 17th August Radcliffe award is announced with sharp escalation of violence. On 1st September, one month old Punjab Boundary force is disbanded. Between August-December 1947, ethnic cleaning on both sides of border takes place and five to eight million people killed.
Govts. Of Punjab during 1947-
Governor- Sir Evan Jenkins, ICS
Chief Secretary-Akhtar Hussain, ICS
Premier- Sir Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana-January 47 to 2nd March 47
Ministers-Ch. Lahiri Singh, Mian Mohd Ibrahim Barq, Bhim Sen Sachar, Sir Muzaffar Ali Qizilbash, Baldev Singh
August 47-Dec. 47
West Punjab Governor-Francis Mudie ICS
Premier-Nawab Iftikhar Hussain Khan of Mamdot
Governor-Chandulal Trivedi ICS
Premier-Gopi Chand Bhargava
In 23 page Introduction, author refers to basic facts like total population of Punjab, including princely states was almost 3crore and 40 lakh people in 1947 with Muslims 53.2%, Hindus 29.2%, Sikhs 14.9%, Christians 1.9%. There were 29 districts in British Punjab with nearly 3 crore population. With sole exception of Malerkotla state of nearly 90 thousand people under Muslim Nawab, all Muslim population was obliterated. February 1946 elections brought volatile situation. Christian Reginald Massey, author of a book on Bhagat Singh is mentioned. Two Indian reports referred are-Gurbachan Singh Talib collected data for SGPC as 453 pages book Muslim League attacks on Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab in 1947, blames Muslim League. Second 349 page ‘Stern Reckoning’ by Justice G D Khosla. In Pakistan, three short reports-Note on the Sikh Plan; The RSS in the Punjab and The Sikhs in Action refers to plan of elimination of Muslims from East Punjab. Ch. Mohd. Ali, PM of Pakistan during 1955-56 in book- The Emergence of Pakistan alleged Sikh leadership at highest level with Maharajas of Patiala and Kapurthala included refers to macabre conspiracy to eradicate all Muslims. Former CJ of Pakistan Mohd Munir, member of Boundary commission in his book-From Jinnah to Zia admitted large scale communal attack on Sikhs and Hindus first in Rawalpindi in March 1947. Ian Coupland in his book-The Master and the Maharajas-refers to elimination of Muslims as revenge. Sir Penderel Moon estimate of killings and migration-Muslims lost the most lives, Hindus and Sikhs most property. 4.5 million Hindus and Sikhs crossed the border, while six million Muslims did so. Kirpal Singh-Partition of the Punjab and Larry Collins/Lapierre Freedom at Midnight. Khwaja Iftikhar-Jabb Amritsar jal raha tha-
Author/researcher claims the work to be first holistic and comprehensive study of Punjab partition. Ahmad Salim helped researcher in Pakistan and Mohinder pal Singh(Vicky) and Hitesh Gosain and Virender Singh in India.
Primary sources-1. Complete record of Fortnightly Governor reports (FRs)
2. British published 12 volume Transfer of Power during 1979-83
3. Tribune and Pakistan Times, 4. Oral histories-interviews
Chapters are divided as-first three on theory and background, moving to Stage-1 titled as -The Punjab Bloodied-it has six chapters with introduction. Stage-2 is titled as-The Endgame from March to August 47 with four chapters and introduction. Stage-3 is titled as-The Ethnic Cleansing- from 15th August to 31st December 1947.-it has introduction and then eight chapters-three on Exodus from West Punjab with three chapters and five on Exodus from East Punjab and Princely states.
In appendices, the complete list of 166 MLA’s of Punjab as on 4th July 1947 is given, it was out of total 175 seats. Then Glossary of Punjabi terms and Bibliography is given and also list of interviews done from 1992 to 2011 is given, which is with 233 people. Lastly index is given.
While the first chapter of the book is-The theory of Ethnic Cleansing and the last 21st chapter is-Analysis and Conclusions. Despite having academic format, the study is very lucid and readable for even a common reader and serves both purposes equally well-as serious academic study based on empirical data and lucid narration of a tragic history.
Before moving to his data-based study, the author discusses the theory of ethnic cleansing in first chapter of the book. He underlines that Forced migration, Ethnic cleansing and Genocide-all processes are interconnected. In his words-‘ethnic cleansing is a generic term that covers removal of a distinct population-on the basis of ethnic, religious, sectarian and other such factors-from a specific territory. In the case of Punjab conflict, it was the religious factor which became the basis of politically relevant ethnicity.’ (Page 1) Despite being very tragic, author does not find this phenomenon to be unusual as -migration of individuals, groups, communities and even whole societies have taken place throughout the ages and across all the regions and continents of the world.’ (page 2-3). The term Genocide was coined by Polish jurist Raphael Lenkin in 1944 and was given legal recognition during 1945-47 Nuremberg trials of Nazis.
Author opines that Punjab had developed as a composite, traditional multicultural society during Mughal times in1526-1857. Paul Brass has termed very large loss of life in Punjab partition due to ‘retributive genocide’. Due to lack of trust and failure in arriving at power sharing formula peacefully has led to Punjab ‘retributive genocide’.
Author moves to the history of pre-colonial and colonial Punjab in next chapter. Oldest Rigvedic name of Punjab is Sapt Sindhu-land of seven rivers. The river Indus most important, Mughals started calling it Punjab-panj aab-five rivers-Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas. Oldest inhabitants of the land are found during 1500 to 1000 BC. Many outsiders came to this land-Greeks, Huns, Shakyas, Kushans etc. Till eleventh century Hinduism and Buddhism flourished. Arab came in early 8th century, settled in Multan. Conquest of Lahore by Mahmud Ghazni happened in 1021 AD, since then Muslim presence in Punjab. Conversions to Islam was gradual, Sufism and composite culture developed simultaneously. Love and heroic epics in distinct Punjabi language were written in middle ages. Sikhism developed in fifteenth century. To make one child as Sikh tradition developed in Hindus. Punjab was under Sikh rule during 1799-49, during which Maharaja Ranjit Singh regime long and expanded widely during 1801-1839. After annexation in 1849 by British rule continued till 1947. Notable Communal conflicts before partition-murder of publisher Rajpal by Illam Din on 5th April 1929 in Lahore for publishing Rangeela Rasul book written by Pandit Chamupati. Poet Iqbal defended Illam Din, hanged in October 1929 in Mianwali jail. In 1935-Masjid/Shaheedganj Gurdwara conflict took place in Lahore, High court upheld Sikh rights, but bad blood was created among Sikh-Muslim relations by this conflict. Rawalpindi first clashes took place in 1926, in Multan in 1929, in Amritsar in 1940. Author does not refer to worst Kohat clashes of 1924. Memoirs of Lahore of eminent personalities of all three religious background given. Romantic books on Lahore’s beauty are mentioned.
Third chapter is focussed on- ‘The Genesis of Punjab Partition’ (1900-1944)
2/3rd of pre-partition Indian population was Hindu, Muslim minority nearly 25%, most of them converts from lower Hindu castes. Iqbal of Kashmiri Brahmin background told Allahabad 1930 Muslim League conference about Muslim India within India. Ch. Rehmat Ali and other Cambridge University students in 1933 produced Pakistan- ‘Now or Never’ pamphlet for separate Muslim nation. Steps towards-Govt. of India Act 1935, 1937 provincial elections, 1938 militant armed Muslim National Guards of Muslim League,
In 1901-five districts of Punjab-Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Hazara and Dera Ismail Khan separated into making NWFP province now named Pakhtunwa. Author refers to 1901 to 1941 census data, which shows increase in Sikh population at the cost of Hindu population, while Muslim population is stable and by 1941 they are in majority of 53%. First idea of partition was mentioned by Lala Lajpat Rain in 1924 in The Tribune as West Punjab with Muslim governance and East Punjab with Hindu-Sikh governance, he also supported Sindh, NWFP and East Bengal as Muslim provinces. That was in reaction to brutal September 1924 Kohat communal violence. In 14th December 1924 Tribune article Lala Lajpat Rai even advanced the idea of Partition of India.
Punjab Unionist party of landlords was formed in 1923 and dominated Punjab politics till March 1947, this included Sir Fazal Hussain, Sikandar Hayat Khan, Chhotu Ram and Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana, it was in favour of United Punjab, but Muslim League uprooted it. Two factions in Punjab Congress existed-Lala Lajpat Rai-Bhargava faction was rightist, while Satyapal-Kitchlew-Bhim Sen Sachar faction was left oriented. Congress leader Mian Iftakhurdin went over to Muslim League later. Sikhs got separate electorate rights and extra seats in 1919, broke away from Congress, became Panthik parties. Majlis-Ahrar and Khaksar movements among Muslims were close to Congress and nationalist. 23rd March 1940 resolution of Muslim League in Lahore demanded Pakistan clearly.
Second part of the book starts here with reference to Stage-1-The Punjab Bloodied. First stage is referred from January 1945 to March 1947. On 8th March 1947 Congress party supported Sikh demand for partition of Punjab.
Chapter fourth is titled as-Punjab elections and coalition Government-1945-46
In 1945 post war general elections in UK, Conservative party lost and labour govt. led by Clement Attlee came to power. Elections for India announced on 21st August, for constituent assembly too, in which Muslim League did not take part. In provincial assembly elections Congress got 905 seats out of 1585, Muslim League got 440 seats out of 495 Muslim reserve seats. Author refers to ‘Top secret breakdown plan of British officials of 27th December 1945, which was sent by British army chief General Auchinleck to Secretary for State for India Sir Patrick Lawrence, which refers to dangerous level of law and order situation. Viceroy Lord Wavell also sent his demarcation plan in February 1946 in continuation of this breakdown plan. British cabinet mission came to India on 23rd March 1946 with Stafford Cripps, Patrick Lawrence and AV Alexander. It gave its 16th May scheme of division in united India. Three groups of states were suggested and decentralisation of power. Congress rejected plan on 24th May, favouring strong central authority.
Jinnah gave call for Direct Action in Bengal from 16th August, resulting in massive communal violence against Hindus, it was followed by communal violence in Bihar, where Muslims were targeted by Hindu Mahasabha. Nehru visited Bihar and it had quietening effect. In Garhmukateshwar communal violence took place on the excuse of cow slaughter. Jinnah suggested transfer of population in two states of Hindustan and Pakistan.
Pandit Nehru took over as Vice President/Prime Minister of interim Govt. on 24th August 1946. From Muslim League Liaqat Ali Khan, Firoz Khan Noon, Chundrigar, JN Mondal, Abdul Rab and Ghazanfar Ali Khan(Punjab) joined ministry. During pre-1947 elections only 11% population had been enfranchised. In 1946 Punjab elections, Muslim League made massive gains at the cost of Unionist party, as Khizr Hayat Khan was away for long. AMU, students, Maulvis and Pirs and Communist party supported Muslim League to favour Pakistan. There were provocative slogans. Muslim League won 75-the maximum seats out of 175-member assembly on 24th February 1946. Congress got 50, Panthic parties 23, Unionist party was reduced to 18 seats, seven independents won. Communists lost their four seats held earlier. Muslim league was ten short of majority. Others joined together and made Khizr Tiwana as Premier on 11th March 1946, who continued till only 2nd March 1947. On 8th April 1946 Evan Jenkins took over as Punjab Governor. Communal militancy was shown by Panthic leaders-Master Tara Singh, Giani Kartar Singh, Udham Singh Nagoke and Ishar Singh Majhail. RSS membership increased to 46 thousand and Muslim National Guards increased to 22 thousand by 1946. Communal pot was boiling from all sides. RSS chief Golwalkar visited major Punjab cities in November 1946. Khizr was passive spectator.
Fifth chapter is-Direct Action-24th January-26th February 1947
On 24th January, Punjab Govt. banned RSS and Muslim National Guards. Arrest of Muslim League leaders created volatile situation. Begum Shahnawaz led a procession of one lakh people in Lahore on 3rd February. Jinnah’s paper Dawn’s entry into Punjab was banned. In other cities too, massive protests took place. Editors including Faiz from Pakistan Times issued protest statement on 28th January. On 20th February British announced transfer of power plan. A Sikh constable was murdered in Amritsar on 24th February and agitation turned violent, which was withdrawn on 26th February. Muslim League celebrated Victory day on 29th February and Khizr resigned on 2nd March, giving shock to Akalis and Congress. Master Tara Singh was belligerent and took out sword on 3rd March at Lahore Assembly gate, perhaps cutting Muslim league flag too.
Pakistan Times photographer AT Chaudhary(Whom I met in Lahore in 2007), told author that Pakistan Times first issue came out on 5th February. Chief Secretary of Punjab Akhtar Hussain reported aggressive behaviour of all groups.
6th Chapter-The March Riots Lahore
Lahore founded by Lav in folklore, was captured by Sikh rulers in 1799 for 50-year Khalsa rule. Victory day by Muslim League on 2nd March and bravado by Tara Singh on 3rd, Nawab Mamdot was re-elected Muslim League leader. Communal clashes broke out in Lahore on 4th March, Governor rule was imposed on 5th March.
7th Chapter- March Riots: Amritsar and Jullundur
Jo mangega Pakistan/usnun diange qabaristan-Sikh slogan
Marenge mar jayenge/par Pakistan banaynge-Muslim slogan
Khhon se lenge Pakistan/Jaise liya tha Hindustan
In chowk Paragdas Amritsar massive violence took place, Pandit Nehru saw it. Master Tara Sigh escaped treachery to assassinate him.
Chapter 8th-The March Riots: Multan
Diwali festival is said to be originated from Multan. It was ruled by Shias, later Sunnis took over. Prosperity under Ranjit Singh rule was ensured here. Seth Kalyan Das, a philanthropist’s murder in Multan terrorised Hindu.
Chapter 9- The March Riots: Rawalpindi and adjoining Rural areas
In Rawalpindi city, Hindus and Sikhs were in majority; in rural areas Muslims were. Massive killings of Sikhs in rural areas took place. (Reference to Baba Gurbachan Singh, an ‘accomplice’ of Bhagat Singh involved in bomb making-Ishtiaq Ahmed very casual at many places, in reference to Ghadar party as well as here, he makes irresponsible unconfirmed statements.) Thoa Khalsa village incident mentioned, where women jumping into well, depicted in Tamas novel by Bhisham Sahni and film of the same title by Govin Nihalani.
General Messervy remarks on riots-
Governor Jenkins remarks-Amritsar-Multan exception- cut no ice with Jinnah religious nationalism theory, only heavy damage to property. Master Tara Singh making violent statements
From here author moves to Stage-2
The Endgame Unfolds
24th March 1947 to 14th August 1947.
Chapter 10-British Policy on the Punjab: 24th March-30th June 1947
On 24th March Mountbatten took over as Viceroy. Jenkins viewed Tara Singh speech as inflammatory and he obstructed reconciliation with Muslims. He noticed factionalism rampant among Sikhs. On 15th April Gandhi-Jinnah made joint appeal for peace in India. Congress doubted some Governors. Out of 29 districts of Punjab, ten each were led by British and Hindu-Sikh officers, nine by Muslims. Jinnah wanted Bengal/Punjab united on ‘cultural unity’ argument, which cut no ice with his religious nationalism theory. Khizr Hayat wanted referendum on Punjab with four options-
1United Punjab with agreements with Hindustan and Pakistan
2.Punjab join Pakistan
3. Punjab join India
4. Punjab to be divided.
Mountbatten told Nehru of his plan to early transfer of power, which he did not share with others. Jinnah and Maharaja Patiala meetings took place on 15th-16th May in Delhi, with Jinnah offering literally Sikh state within Pakistan. Jinnah had drinks with Maharaja before dining. Maharaja did not accept the offer due to Akali leaders’ pressure.
Jinnah demanded corridor for Pakistan to Bengal, was refused. On 3rd June partition plan was announced, boundary commission was formed. On 12th June partition committee chaired by Mountbatten with Sardar Patel, Rajender Prasad, Liaqat Ali Khan and Abdul Rab as members was formed. On 15th June Jenkins noted no enthusiasm in people for partition. On 23rd June Punjab assembly met separately, West Punjab chaired by Speaker S P Singha and East Punjab chaired by Deputy Speaker Kapur Singh. 72 members of East Punjab Muslim League motion of Nawab Mamdot of United Punjab rejected by 52 votes to twenty-two. In West Punjab Partition motion rejected by 69 votes to 27. 88 Muslims including Khizr Tiwana two Christians, one Anglo Indian voted for United Punjab, 77 Hindu-Sikhs voted for partition. Punjab Boundary commission led by Cyril Radcliffe with Mehar Chand Mahajan and Teja Singh, Din Mohammad and Mohamad Munir as members started work from 27th June.
Chapter 11- The Battle for Lahore and Amritsar-April-June 1947
Violence subsided in April-May beginning, revived in mid-May Rajgarh attacked in Lahore by Hindus. Shahalmi Gate fire/bomb on 16th June. Fire lasted for 12 hours. Cheema’s revenge and double role.
12th Chapter-Partition Machinery and Proceedings-July-14th August
Partition committee met on 1st July with Governor in chair with four members-Mumtaz Daultana/Zahid Hussain and Gopi Chand Bhargava/Swarn Singh. Jinnah did not allow Mountbatten to be Governor General of Pakistan, he declared himself as so. On 18th July British Parliament adopted India Independence act. MC Setalvad presented Congress case before Boundary commission. Zafarulla Khan presented Muslim League case which held that economic disparity and inequality on one side with Hindu-Sikh riches and destitute Muslims on other side. Bashir Ahmad, representing Ahmadi case pleaded for Batala/Qadian included in Pakistan. Radcliffe award published on 17th August, causing more tragedies. It was replica of Wavell boundary demarcation of 1946.
Chapter 13-The Punjab Disintegrates-July-14th August
On 1st July Central peace committee formed in Amritsar on 22nd July. Mountbatten ordered Punjab Secretariat to move to Shimla by 10th August. RSS continued its tirade against Gandhi-Nehru. August violence in rural areas. Anjali Gera Roy-original family from Lyallpur-Hindu Arora family. Harkishan Singh Surjeet interview included.
Stage-3-Ethnic Cleansing-15th August-31st December 1947
Introduction-Influx of Hindu-Sikhs to East Punjab and Muslims to West Punjab. Convoys 20-30 miles long with one and half lakh people walking with bullock carts, trucks, cattle, men women, children, old, sick. On 8th April 1950 Nehru-Liaqat Ali pact was signed with now no right to return.
Exodus from West Punjab
Chapter 14-Lahore Division
Som Anand interview -author spoke to him in October 1999-narrated tragic murder of Prof. Brij Narain, Professor of Economics at Panjab University Chandigarh, who defended the demand for Pakistan, economic arguments for its being viable state…..ardent supporter of Pakistan idea….Jinnah asked him to stay on and he made up mind to serve Pakistan….he believed in Jinnah’s desire to create a democratic state where non-Muslims will have equal rights……faced one mob in locality and convinced them not to destroy property as it was now Pakistan property…..but another mob…killed him being ‘a kafir’…..another writer and relative of Prof. Narain, Gopal Mittal wrote in his autobiography-‘Lahore Ka Jo Zikr Kiya: Aapbitee’…..Prof. Narain lived on Nicholson road Lahore….internationally acclaimed economist….wrote several article in support of Pakistan state……his murder made many Hindus leave Pakistan, those who wanted to stay otherwise…..(Pages 409-11)
Publisher Attar Chand Kapur and Sons had good relations with Muslim league leaders like Shaukat Hussain, Nawab Mamdot, Firoz Khan Noon, Mumtaz Daultana etc., who visited his house routinely…He stayed on but by 5th September these leaders expressed inability to protect him, he was sent to border with protection and he crossed to India…. (Pages 414-15).
Kanta Singh Luthra describes the tragedy of his uncle Madan Gopal Singh, registrar of Panjab University, he was renowned scholar of literature and religion, he sent family, but stayed on for University records transfer…. on 31st August he was killed in his office, stabbed 14 times by his own stenographer…Professor Shaukat Ali confirmed this…. (Pages 419-20)
Massive killings in Sheikhupura, Nehru visited and told people gathered there-‘you people are heartless and cruel’, a cleric responded-‘No, you are more prejudiced, because the carnage started first from your side. Why are you shouting now?” (Page 429) Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan both Prime Ministers together visited riot hit areas and on 3rd September they visited Sheikhupura as confirmed by papers, both held joint press conference at Lahore, they also visited Amritsar, Batala and Hoshiarpur.
Chapter 15-Rawalpindi Division
Hindu Mahasabha leader Prof. Gokul Chand Narang daughter Kamla Sethi, married to an army officer stayed on till 5th October 1947. There are narrations of events through interviews of people in all these chapters.
Chapter 16-Multan Division and Bahawalpur State-
Vimla Virmani, another daughter of Gokul Chand Narang and Bollywood lyricist Laqsh Lyallpuri interviews are quoted here. Vimla tells that her father was never happy in Delhi. Baba Farid birth place Pakpattan was also not spared of communal killings…. Bahawalpur state ruled by Nawab acceded to Pakistan, it was peaceful state and well maintained.
2nd part of this stage-3 is-Exodus from East Punjab and Princely states
Chapter 17-Amritsar and three Tehsils of Gurdaspur
Gurdaspur district was placed in Pakistan in 3rd June scheme, which had 51% Muslim majority, but Radcliffe award gave its three tehsils-Batala, Gurdaspur and Pathankot to India. Pakistan Govt. even appointed Mushtaq Cheema as DC, who served only three days from 14th to 17th August, it brought fierce reprisals from Hindu-Sikhs against Muslims of the area later.
Ch. Mohammad Ali quoted a British officer in his book-The Emergence of Pakistan that on ‘15th August afternoon a mob of Sikhs paraded Muslim women naked throughout the streets of Amritsar, raped them and hacked many to death, burned others alive. In Iftikhar book Jabb Amritsar Jal raha tha, this incident is mentioned in March, but most other writers mention it on 15th August. (Some have mentioned even such happening in Golden Temple itself, not mentioned in this book). Sharifpura colony was Muslim colony (I lived here in year 1961 for a month while joining cutting and tailoring course in ITI Amritsar after Matriculation, its congested hostel was in Sharifpura). Amritsar Muslims were lukewarm to Muslim League and more allied with nationalist-‘Majlis-e-Ahrar’ and Khaksars. Author quotes Urdu writer A Hameed, who describes Jawaharlal Nehru as ‘a secular intellectual’, but not the main congress…Patel hated Muslims. Hameed described Upendernath Ashq a fellow Urdu writer as ‘deeply prejudiced Hindu’, he was critical of Progressive writers also…. (Page 520). Author visited legendary singer Mohammad Rafi village-Kotla Sultan Singh also.
Author quotes Muslim League leader Begum Shahnawaz, whose mother was in Delhi, she called Pandit Nehru on phone to save Batala Muslims lives and they were saved. (page531)
Chapter 18-Jullunder Division
Ferozepur district had 45% Muslim population, first Ferozepur and Zira tehsils were awarded to Pakistan but in 17th August award these were given to India. Malik Mohammad Aslam, a Congress supporter told in interview that how his Hindu friend Lala Dhuni Chand tried to help them and RSS killed his son Amarnath, who had gone to get medicines for them. He blamed politicians for their ‘lust for power’ and not agree ‘how to share power’. (Page 538)
Dr. Zakir Hussain visited Jullundur around 15th August and he could had been even killed, but his visit galvanised Congress workers. On 24th September or 24th August as author thinks Pandit Nehru visited Jullundur, accompanied by two Ahrar Maulvis, one Maulana Habibur Rehman. In meeting at company Bagh, a Muslim League worker described atrocities on Muslims, Nehru termed it as criminal/goonda action, a Communist told that these people are around you only. Pandit Nehru issued strict instructions and attacks got reduced. Sardar Patel visited a week later and did not meet public, only officials and Congress workers he met and that attacks on Muslims increased again.
CPI prepared a detailed report dated 21st September detailing the attacks on Muslims. Report mentions that had Nehru not come, biggest massacre of Muslims would had taken place in Jullundur. Jullundur District Magistrate one Midha gave freedom to rioters to ‘do whatever for three days’, his son was stabbed in Gujranwala. Darbara Singh, district Congress President also joined rioters and collected heaps of booty.’ (Page 546)
Chapter 19-Ambala division and Delhi
Case of Naseeb Kaur or Azmat Bibi is referred here, who was born Muslim, saved by a Sikh; just four at partition, taken care by a Sikh overseer, who himself had participated in raids on Muslims, but took her as father. He thought she brought good luck to his business and was named Naseeb Kaur, married with children and grandchildren at the time of interview. She did not forget her mother and met her in 1990 at her door, when her mother came to see her. Now they re-established their relations but live in different religions. (Page 588).
Hisar district had 28% Muslims and Rohtak 18%. I A Rehman, respected peace activist was born in Hassanpur in district Gurgaon, thirty miles from Delhi. Gandhi ji sent his secretary Pandit Sunder Lal to keep them back, but they left in September via Bathinda to Fazilka border.
Chapter 20-Eastern Punjab and Princely States
Mountbatten tried Sikh-Jinnah rapprochement, but did not succeed. Sikh Refugees from Hazara in December 1946 and in March 1947 from Rawalpindi. Attock and Jhelum districts, fleeing from slaughter at the hands of Muslim mobs, worsened the situation. Robin Jeffery makes Niranjan Singh Gill of INA as villain of peace for organising Sikh jathas, so were Muslim INA soldiers attacking Sikhs in Pakistan. Rulers of Patiala, Nabha, Kapurthala and Kalsia took part in preparing Sikhs for attacks on Muslims. Sikhs wanted to attack towns in Pakistan, but Pandit Nehru will never allow, estimates of 8 lakhs to one million to two lakhs by Coupland of such jathas. One thousand hardened killers were amomg them. Large congregations or with army protection of Muslims were not attacked, smaller were attacked. Patiala most powerful state with 24% Muslim population. Large Muslim massacres took place in Patiala. In Nabha and Kapurthala states Tikka Sahibs-Princes and not Maharajas were involved in encouraging massacres. Dr. Hafiz case, a Muslim league leader, who was killed with a rumour of attacking Maharaja. RSS/Akali workers started trouble in Patiala. Kapurthala ruler Jagatjit Singh made his city as Paris, built a Moorish Mosque, he was away to Europe during partition, his son perhaps aroused People to kill Muslims.
Forty-eight hours curfew in Patiala on 1st September and Muslim killings began. Jind state (Sangrur) did not patronise or encourage killings.
21st Chapter-Analyses and Conclusions
The last chapter brings the author’s viewpoint on these events. Observations of the author are-
*British annexed Punjab and tried to modernise and develop it to promote their colonial interests, benefits were derived by Hindus and Sikhs, Muslims lagged behind.
**Resentment of Muslims expressed at the beginning of 20th century
*** Punjab Land alienation act of 1901 to take care, moneylenders, but they continued exploiting peasants
**** In 1947, 75 to 80% property of Punjab owned by Hindu-Sikhs
*****Politically pro-British Punjab Unionist party developed inter-communal power sharing formula
*Rangeela Rasul publication and murder of Rajpal by Ilamdin, 1935 Masjid/Shaheed Ganj Gurdwara issue created communal tensions, so had March 1940 Muslim League Lahore Pakistan resolution.
Stage-1. 1942-45 Congress people in jails due to Quit India, Muslim League gained, 1946 election results- ‘recipe for disaster’!
Master Tara Singh histrionics on 3rd March with Hindu Mahasabha speeches for all-out war
Sikhs upper hand in riots first, but tables turned after 6th March in Rawalpindi
Congress support to Punjab partition as per Sikh demand on 8th March
Stage-2-From April 47, centre of gravity shifted to Delhi.
Jinnah plea on Punjab/Bengal cultural unity was poor logic in view of his Hindus and Muslims two separate nations theory
Khizr scheme of keeping Punjab united within commonwealth did not receive British support
Most controversial was Mountbatten decision to advance transfer of power date to August 1947 from June 1948, must be held responsible for its disastrous consequences
21-22 June night Shahlami gate fire broke the back of Punjab Hindus.
Radcliffe award similar to Wavell demarcation plan of 1946
Stage-3—–The state disappeared along with its law and order machinery
Jinnah in November 1946 and Sikhs proposed population transfer, no takers of hard reality.
Both SGPC and Khosla report concede more killings of Muslims in number.
Writer concludes that-‘Since the partition of India on a religious basis was unacceptable to the Hindus and Sikhs and they countered it by demanding partition of the Punjab, the zero-sum game that ensued could not be resolved through rational argumentation. Under the circumstances, resorting to violence remained the main solution to such an impasse’ (Page 678)
Thus, writer rejects both hypothesises that whether there was Muslim League pre-plan or Sikh pre-plan for communal riots
Ishtiaq Ahmed also refers to Punjab being a plural or a pluralist composite culture and accepts that there is a grain of truth in it.
Even after religion-based nation formation, Pakistan faced Ahmadi problem from 1953, now they termed as minorities.
Ethnic peace and amity is referred to through literary works of Ustad Daman, people rushing to watch cricket matches and welcoming migrated people on their visits to home places with warmth.
Controversial international boundary fixed by Radcliffe award of 17th August created bitterness on both sides.
Border spectacles of armies now entertainment, both Punjab’s remain inaccessible to each other. With this observation book concludes.
Some Books references-
1. Ian Coupland-The Master and the Maharajas: The Sikh Princes and the East Punjab massacres of 1947, Cambridge UP, 2002
2. GD Khosla, Stern Reckoning, OUP 1989/1949
3. Ahmad Salim, Lahore 1947
4. Kirpal Singh, Partition of the Punjab
5. ‘’’ Select Documents on the Partition of Punjab-1947, National Book Shope Delhi, 1991
6. GS Talib, Muslim League attacks on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab-1947
7. K K Aziz, Murder of History, Vanguard Press Lahore, 1993
8. Bell Fialkoff, Ethnic Cleansing, 1999, St. Martin Press New York
9. Raghavendra Tanwar, Reporting the partition of the Punjab, 2006, Manohar Delhi
10. Imran Ali, History of the Punjab-1799-1947, Delhi Low Price 1970
11. –same–, Punjab under Imperialism (1885-1947), OUP Karachi, 1989
12. Som Anad, Lahore, the portrait of a lost city, Vanguard books 1998
13. SM Darling, Punjab peasantry in Prosperity and debt, Manohar Delhi, 1978
14. Saeed Ahmad, Great Sufi Wisdom: Bulle Shah, 2004, Islamabad
15. Penderel Moon, Divide and Quit, 1998, OUP, Delhi
16. Wali Khan, Facts are Facts: The untold story of India’s partition, Vikas Delhi, 1987
17. Tahir Lahori, Sohna Shehar Lahore, Sangmeel, 1994
18. HM Seervai, Partition of India: Legend and Reality, 1989, Bombay
19. Ian Talbot, Khizr Tiwana: The Punjab Unionist party and the partition of India, 1996, Richmond Surrey
20. Khwaja Iftikhar, Jab Amritsar jal raha tha, 1991, Lahore
21. Begum Shahnawaz, Father and Daughter, 2002, OUP Karachi
22. Probodh Chandra, Rape of Rawalpindi, Lahore 1947
23. Munir Muhmmad, Jinnah to Zia, 1980, Vanguard Lahore
24. Gyanendra Pandey, Remembering Partition, 2001, CUP
25. Collins/Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight
26. Ch. Ali Mohammad, The Emergence of Pakistan, 1973
27. Paul Brass, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Sage Ind Penguins ia, 2001
28. Urvashi Butalia, the Other side of Silence, 1998
29. Pran Neville, Lahore, a sentimental journey, 1993, Allied Delhi
30. Amrik Singh, The Partition in Retrospect, 2000, Anamika Delhi
Some of eminent personalities interviewed among 233 interviews-
Naqsh Lyallpuri, B R Chopra, Som Anand, Jamnadas Akhtar, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Pran Neville, Prem Dhawan, Ramanand Sagar, Amarnath Sehgal, Raj Babbar, Bhisham Sahni, Mrs. Kanta Singh Luthra(MG Singh), Ch. Riasat Ali, Prof. Shaukat Ali, Sharif Kunjahi, Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan, Dinanath Malhotra, HD Shourie, HS Mehta, Mohan Singh Rahi, Akram Waraich, Kirpal Singh, VN Dutta, Rakshat Puri, Muhammad Munir, IA Rehman, Reginald Massey, Ian Talbot and more.
My observations on the book-
1. This book is a significant study of Punjab partition and its consequences, based on data study through oral history technique of interviews.
2. There is certain level of scholarly detachment in doing the study, where any bias could have affected the objectivity of such sensitive issue.
3. There is fair balance in collecting data from both sides and interviews seems to have been reproduced fairly objectively, somewhere uncritically too.
4. Fact that all three main groups-Hindu, Sikh and Muslims thought their own religious feelings as on a higher plane than other groups religious feelings, made them hate each other, rather than understand and respect each other’s faiths, while sticking to one’s own faith.
5. The role of state has been highlighted dispassionately. The fact that British rulers had lost all interest in keeping their authority on citizens intact during last two years of their rule, has come out clearly from this study. While in almost two hundred years of their rule-1757-1947, they brutally suppressed people, when there was need to deal with communal groups with heavy hand, they simply looked other way and let the people get mad and kill each other brutally without any fear of the law and order machinery. In contrast how brutally Jallianwala Bagh protest was suppressed just less than three decades before in 1919 or even suppressing 1942 Quit India or 1946 navy revolt shows, how demonic they were in their rule and how insensitive and unbothered they were to internecine war among its citizens in 1946-47.
6. While British colonial rulers, especially Lord Mountbatten as Viceroy, by advancing the date of transfer of power by almost a year from 1948 to 1947 without necessary preparation and showing no sensitivity to volatile communal situation, is solely responsible for the genocide of nearly one million people and uprooting of another ten million, Indian leaders (including later day Pakistani leaders), were almost complicit in getting and letting the people emotionally aroused for genocide. Not only Muslim National Guards, patronised by Muslim League and RSS/Sikh militants, who were directly involved in killings, even liberal Congress and Muslim League leaders remained spectators, in the temptation of acquiring political power being transferred to them.
7. The whole partition plan was irrational and inhuman, yet some sufferings could have been avoided if some reasonable decisions and administrative precautions taken.
8. In retrospect perhaps 1946 Cabinet mission and earlier Cripps mission proposals to have federal India with Hindu dominated and Muslim dominated provinces with lesser central authority could have proved better option, rejected first by Congress party then Muslim league.
9. United Punjab and United Bengal also would have been better options even as independent nations, then the sting of Jinnah’s two nation theory could have been foiled, perhaps there had been many nations then-Dravids, Baluchistan, Sindh, Kashmir may all had become nations. Both Akhand Bharat and two nation like irrational and unrealistic oppressive theories would have failed. There was strong lobby in favour of United Punjab and United Bengal.
10. Communists misjudged and miscalculated the reality, rather than supporting the idea of Pakistan, they should have supported culture-based nationality. Ironically, Communists voted in favour of division of Bengal, whereas Sarat Bose, brother of Netaji Subhash Bose stood for United Bengal. In fact, Communist party of that time is responsible for killing communist and leftist movement both in Pakistan and Bangladesh, due to handing these regions over to Islamists, because of their wrong policy of that time.
11. Despite performing a commendable job through this study, author/researcher Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed has been very casual at his certain unconfirmed sweeping statements, especially in reference to Ghadar party, presenting it as Sikh party/movement (Page 77) and referring one Baba Gurbaksh Singh, the rioter, as close to Bhagat Singh. (Quoted Madanlal Singh of Rawalpindi at page 218) he interviewed without cross checking the facts or confirming it from historic documents. Neither Ghadar party was a Sikh party nor there was any Baba Gurbaksh Singh, being close to Bhagat Singh. Such statements make such serious study lighter in academic rigour.
12. Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru are described as non-communal, even by Muslim sufferers but not Patel, who is accused by many to be communal and facilitator of Muslim killings. I had heard from Bhagat Singh sister Bibi Amar Kaur about former Punjab Chief Minister Darbara Singh as complicit in anti-Muslim killings and this book also refers to his such role. Other secular force was Communist party whose members were killed by communal groups for trying to save the people from killing marauders of all three religious groups.
On the whole, it is a welcome study on a all-time simmering issue, which cannot find closure till the partition is accepted on both sides but with open borders and freedom to interact with each other citizens as much as possible.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Alex Carey
In preface authors propose that they have sketched out a “Propaganda Model” and applied it to the performance of the mass media of the US. The term-Manufacturing Consent-they have subscribed to Walter Lippmann, which they say is long been recognised by writers on public opinion. In the 1920’s itself it was recognised that propaganda has become regular organ of the popular government.
The book is divided into seven chapters with three appendices with ten tables added in chapters. Notes and Index is also added. Though book relates to US media, yet it has become a reference for the whole world media, as the model presented in the book is adopted by all governments in the world with few exceptions. First chapter of the book focusses upon the definition and features of Propaganda model with examples. Second chapter draw attention to worthy and unworthy victims of this model. Next four chapters show with practical examples how the model works. In third chapter El Salvador and Guatemala elections are contrasted with Nicaragua elections. Fourth chapter exposes how KGB-Bulgarian ‘conspiracy’ was to kill the Pope as ‘news’. Fifth and sixth chapters are focussed on Indo-China wars-US attacks on Laos, Cambodia and finally Vietnam. The Vietnam War is discussed in detail to expose the effects of propaganda model. Seventh and last chapter is of conclusions from this study. Appendixes are related to the issues discussed in chapters-Guatemala, Bulgarian plot, Free house discussions on Vietnam War etc. Tables give media company ownerships, coverage of news on the discussed issues etc.
Even after three decades of publication of the book, it continues to be standard text book to understand present day media, which has much worsened till now. Now ‘fake news’ has become as a term, replacing even propaganda model, now it is creation of ‘fake news’ by corporate controlled media, which is added with social media platforms like twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
In the first chapter authors define mass media as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It amuses, entertains and informs to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behaviour that will integrate them into institutional structures of larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interests, to fulfil this role requires propaganda. Authors tell us the essential ingredients of this propaganda model or set of news “filters” fall: 1. owner wealth of mass media firms and profit orientation,2.advertising primary income source, 3.reliance of media for information on government, business and ‘experts’ funded by them, 4. “flak’ as means of disciplining media and 5. “anti-communism’ as national religion and control mechanism.
Leading empires of newspapers-New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Times, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Murdoch, Turner, Cox companies, major book publisher-McGraw Hill. 24 large profit seeking corporations owned and controlled by wealthy people. In Table-1-2, details of wealth of these companies is given. Reader’s Digest is published in 17 languages (including many Indian languages) and is available in 160 countries.
‘In sum, a propaganda approach to media coverage suggests a systematic and highly political dichotomization in news coverage based on serviceability to important domestic power interests.’(Page 35)
Second chapter title is-Worthy and Unworthy Victims-
Penny Lernoux book-Cry of the People-media coverage of 23 priests etc. murdered in Guatemala. Jerzy Poplieluszko murder case, he was priest supporting Solidarity in Poland. In El Salvador, murder of highest Catholic Church official Archbishop Oscar Romero. Distortions by media and defending the regimes as ‘moderate’.
Third chapter is-Legitimizing versus Meaningless Third World Elections: El Salvador/Guatemala-Nicaragua-
This is testing ground for propaganda model to cover third world elections. These elections held during 1982-85. El Salvador and Guatemala fraudulent elections supported and defended by US propaganda model, whereas genuine elections in Nicaragua vilified, as it rejected US interference.
Authors concluded after analysing these elections that-‘the condition for a free election was clearly absent in El Salvador and Guatemala, and that it was partially met in Nicaragua.’(Page 99) Authors further explain that ‘the media’s adherence to the state propaganda line is extremely functional. Just as the government of Guatemala kill scores of thousands without major repercussions because the media recognised that these were ‘unworthy’ victims! (Page 142)
Fourth chapter is-The KGB-Bulgarian Plot to Kill the Pope: Free market disinformation as “News”-
Shooting of Pope in May 1981, the charge of a KGB-Bulgarian plot, the mass media played a much larger role in originating the claims and keeping the pot boiling from inception to the conclusion of the case. It was based on biased sourcing.
5th Chapter is-The Indochina War (I)-Vietnam-
Robert Elegant wrote-‘for the first time in history, the outcome of a war was determined not in the battlefield, but on the printed page, and above all, on television screen’, leading to the defeat of US in Vietnam! Leonard Sussman of Freedom house mentions almost total support to US intervention in 1965, but with the progression of war, opinion shifted that US intervention was a tragic mistake’. Tet offensive-media condemned for adversial stance. Presidential fabrication of North Vietnam attack on Laos in 1970 was reported as ‘fact’ in media. Substantially war reported from Washington. After French withdrawal in 1954, US at once the task of subverting Geneva agreement of Vietnam unification, leading to full scale invasion of Vietnam in 1965. One and half lakh South Vietnamese were killed by the time of land invasion by US, which employed three lakh Korean mercenaries in war. Tet offensive in 1968, US invaded and bombed Cambodia too. In contrast Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and in Afghanistan later was vilified.
US propped up corrupt Diem regime in South Vietnam after French left, overturned by US itself in 1963. My Lai massacre in March 1968 was reported by Seymour Harsh, which was ignored initially.
Authors describe-‘In the Orwellian world of American journalism, the attempt to seek a political settlement by peaceful means is the use of ‘military force’ and the use of military force by US to block a political settlement is a noble action’’!(Page 210) It was destruction of Vietnam. Paris agreement was to respect sovereignty, never followed. War came to an end in April 1975, after thirty year destruction of Vietnam and near insoluble problem of reconstruction. The so called human rights champion Jimmy Carter says US owe no debt to Vietnam.
In 1965, US supported Suharto coup against Soekarno.
Authors think that despite US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975, it won a regional victory by leaving Indochina in ruins. In 1977, when India tried to send a hundred buffalos to Vietnam, US threatened to cancel-‘food for peace’. Carter even denied rice to Laos. In March 1966, Pentagon reported that 13100 North Vietnam troops with 2 lakh 25 thousand Vietcong faced 2 lakh fifty thousand US and South Korean troops, there were seventy thousand more US supported troops of ARVN. Anti-war movement in US against Vietnam war was given short shrift in later 13 part PBS ‘balanced’ Television history in 1983.
6th chapter is second part of The Indochina War (II): Laos and Cambodia-
In worthy election of 1958, Pathet Lao led by Prince Souphanovoung won largest victory, but US sabotaged. One tenth of Laos’s population-three lakh and a half were killed in the US imposed war. Media record is less than glorious, well explained through propaganda model.
Cambodia faced a decade of genocide by US bombing from 1969 to 1975-unprecedented us bombing.
From 1975 to 1978-Khmer Rouge rule, called murderous. Indian journalist Nayan Chanda of Far Eastern Economic Review appreciated by authors for objective reporting. Vietnamese uprooted Khmer regime with its pro regime. Pol Pot fought from jungles. Worst genocide was committed by US in Cambodia, which was used to vilify Khmer regime by showing the skeletons of US bombing period-it was a propaganda model of deceit of astonishing proportions. (Page281). As per STV-nine men at top, Paris trained Communists were exterminating two million people. State dept. knew the facts that deaths were just in tens of thousands that too due to malnutrition and disease, presented as genocide. There were inter party purges with war with Vietnam and its conquest in 1979. Jimmy Carter dubbed Pol Pot as ‘world’s worst violator of human rights’, British foreign office saying ’hundreds of thousands killed’.
In third phase in Cambodia, US-Chinese interest collided in supporting Pol Pot in ‘bleeding Vietnam’.
Seventh chapter is-Conclusions-
Lessons of Watergate scandal-Nixon sent petty criminals to break Democratic hqs, which is supported by business community, so it became scandal, but breaking into Socialist Workers Party, a legal political party having no powerful backing was ignored. FBI complicity in assassination of Black Panther organiser in Chicago, also did not become scandal. Same was case with Iran-contra scandal. During Cambodia genocide times, there was massive genocide in East Timor by US supported Indonesian regime, but no notice of that taken by media.
Authors say that ‘In sum, the mass media of the US are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry a system supportive propaganda function by reliance on market forces, internalised assumptions and self-censorship, and without significant overt coercion.’
In 1988, there were 3000 public access channels offering twenty thousand hours of locally produced programmes, now must be many times more.
But authors give hope that ‘Public radio and television, despite having suffered serious damage during the Reagan years, also represent an alternative media channel whose resuscitation and improvement should be of serious concern to those interested in contesting the propaganda system. The steady commercialization of publically owned air waves should be vigorously opposed.’ (Page 307)
The book ends on this hopeful note. It is objective study done three decades ago of mass media, whose condition as propaganda model has deteriorated to the level of ‘fake news’ in the age of social media and the fight and struggle becomes more acute as the regimes are becoming more rightist and fascists, suppressing all dissent and free/critical thinking and imposing obscurantist religious ideas to kill people’s minds.
check point: The historic Darbar Sahib Gurdwara is just 4.5 km from the India-Pak border but tourists who visit it via Lahore have to travel some 100 km
The hug of two Jats — Navjot Sidhu and Qamar Bajwa — both in official positions, one from India and the other from Pakistan, one a Sikh Jat and the other a Muslim Jat (they proudly proclaimed it themselves), has created a furor across India. The event, however, has again brought into focus the long-pending socio-cultural-emotional issue of opening the Dera Baba Nanak border. The debate on open corridor to Kartarpur gurdwara, just 4.5 kilometers from Dera Baba Nanak border, refuses to reach a conclusion.
It is here that Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life after his four travels, known in religious parlance as Udasis, and appointing his disciple Bhai Lehna — christened as Guru Angad Dev — as his successor. In doing so, the Guru ignored his own erudite scholar-son Sri Chand, who later set up his own Udasi sect. The gurdwara, known as Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, is built at the spot, where Guru Nanak passed away. Interestingly, just like his contemporary and popular poet Kabir, whose grave (maqbra) and samadhi, following both Muslim and Hindu traditions, are built at Maghar (Uttar Pradesh), Guru Nanak’s gurdwara, maqbra and samadhi are also built at the same complex. The visitors pay obeisance at all the three sites.
The gurdwara is just a few kilometers away from Dera Baba Nanak border. On the other hand, those who visit the shrine via Lahore have to travel 100 kilometers. The site is as important for followers of Guru Nanak as Nankana Sahib, his birth place. For a long time, though unofficially, easy access was allowed to the gurdwara from Dera Baba Nanak side itself. However, things changed after 1971.
One wonders that when in 1961, the Government of India exchanged a few villages with Pakistan in lieu of Hussainiwala National Martyrs Memorial — built in the memory of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguruwhy — why, at the same time, Kartarpur gurdwara site was not negotiated for? Most governments show liberal attitude in matters of religious sites, and likewise, Kartarpur gurdwara too did not become a debatable issue.
In 2000, after the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Lahore visit, an understanding developed between both governments to facilitate an open corridor to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Kartarpur from the border site. Punjabi and Sikhs world over were overjoyed at the development. Everything, however, came to a halt as Indo-Pak relations soured later on and which stand at the worst position at this moment.
Many non-Punjabis or, for that matter, non-Bengalis cannot understand the complexity of cultural bonding between people who share the same language and culture, even when cleaved politically as different nations. One can see how emotionally Koreans responded when political leadership of both countries eased the tensions or how Germans reacted to each other when their dividing wall was demolished after the fall of Soviet Union.
Hyper nationalism of the Right wing is not going to impress Punjabis on both sides of the border. It is a complex affair between communities, bonded by cultural background, yet divided by politico-religious extremism. Punjab may have been divided geographically into two nations, yet in the minds and hearts of all Punjabis, Baba Nanak, Bulle Shah and Bhagat Singh cannot be divided by any geographical boundaries.
As a wanderer stung by the temptation of visiting historic monuments, I visited Dera Baba Nanak town and border. I also visited Kalanaur, the site of coronation of India’s great emperor Akbar. While delivering a lecture in Gurdaspur last year, I could feel the anguish of people who wanted to have an open corridor to the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara, which visitors watch through binoculars.
One also realises that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was right about solving issues with Pakistan. He said, “Borders should be made irrelevant”, and people should cross borders without any roadblock. As a first step, at least at the time of celebrating 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, let Dera Baba Nanak border become irrelevant. The corridor to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara should be opened for all times. Later, other borders should be opened for trade and mutual development of the culturally conjoined people of both countries.
ਦਿਲਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਜੋੜਦਾ ਬੰਦ ਲਾਂਘਾ
Posted On September – 2 – 2018
ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਚਮਨ ਲਾਲ
ਡੇਰਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਥਿਤ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ
ਦੋ ਜੱਟਾਂ ਨਵਜੋਤ ਸਿੱਧੂ ਅਤੇ ਕਮਰ ਜਾਵੇਦ ਬਾਜਵਾ ਦੀ ਗਲਵੱਕੜੀ ਨੇ ਪੂਰੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਹੰਗਾਮਾ ਖੜ੍ਹਾ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਅਤੇ ਗੱਲ ਗੱਲ ’ਤੇ ਦੂਜਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਖਿੱਲੀ ਉਡਾਉਣ ਵਾਲਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਚੰਗਾ ਮਸਾਲਾ ਮਿਲ ਗਿਆ। ਦਰਅਸਲ, ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਉੱਘੀਆਂ ਹਸਤੀਆਂ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਇੱਕ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਅਤੇ ਦੂਜੀ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨੀ ਹੈ। ਸਿਆਸਤ ਜੋ ਵੀ ਹੋਵੇ, ਇਸ ਘਟਨਾ ਨੇ ਲੰਮੇ ਸਮੇਂ ਤੋਂ ਲਟਕਿਆ ਆ ਰਿਹਾ ਸਮਾਜਿਕ, ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ ਤੇ ਭਾਵਨਾਤਮਿਕ ਮੁੱਦਾ ਇੱਕ ਵਾਰ ਫਿਰ ਭਖਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਹੈ। ਇਹ ਮੁੱਦਾ ਭਾਰਤ ਦੇ ਡੇਰਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੋਂ ਮਹਿਜ਼ ਸਾਢੇ ਚਾਰ ਕਿਲੋਮੀਟਰ ਦੂਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੈਂਦੇ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਦਾ ਲਾਂਘਾ ਖੋਲ੍ਹਣ ਦਾ ਹੈ। ਸਿੱਖ ਧਰਮ ਦੇ ਬਾਨੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਆਪਣੀਆਂ ਚਾਰ ਉਦਾਸੀਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਪਰਤਣ ਅਤੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਸ਼ਾਗਿਰਦ ਭਾਈ ਲਹਿਣਾ ਜੀ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰੂ ਅੰਗਦ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਨਾਮ ਦੇ ਕੇ ਗੁਰਗੱਦੀ ਸੌਂਪਣ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਅੰਤਲੇ 18 ਵਰ੍ਹੇ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਵਿਖੇ ਬਿਤਾਏ। ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਸ਼ਰਧਾ ਸੇਵਕੀ ਨੂੰ ਤਵੱਜੋ ਦਿੰਦਿਆਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਗਿਆਨਵਾਨ ਵਿਦਵਾਨ ਪੁੱਤਰ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਚੰਦ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਗੱਦੀ ਦੇ ਕਾਬਲ ਨਹੀਂ ਸੀ ਸਮਝਿਆ ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੇ ਬਾਅਦ ਵਿੱਚ ਆਪਣਾ ਵੱਖਰਾ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਸੰਪਰਦਾਏ ਚਲਾਇਆ। ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਵਿਖੇ 70 ਸਾਲ ਦੀ ਉਮਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤ ਸਮਾਏ। ਗੁਰੂ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤ ਸਮਾਉਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਥਾਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਸੁਸ਼ੋਭਿਤ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਹੁਣ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਵਜੋਂ ਜਾਣਿਆ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ। ਮੱਘਰ ਵਿਖੇ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇ ਸਮਕਾਲੀ ਭਗਤ ਕਵੀ ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਮਕਬਰਾ ਅਤੇ ਸਮਾਧੀ ਇਕੱਠੇ ਬਣੇ ਹੋਏ ਹਨ।
ਦੂਰਬੀਨ ਰਾਹੀਂ ਨਜ਼ਰ ਆਉਂਦਾ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਸਥਿਤ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ
ਉਸੇ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਯਾਦ ਵਿੱਚ ਵੀ ਇੱਕੋ ਥਾਂ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ, ਸਮਾਧੀ ਅਤੇ ਮਕਬਰਾ ਬਣਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ ਕਿਉਂਕਿ ਤਿੰਨਾਂ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਅਕੀਦਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਮਾਨਵਵਾਦੀ ਫਲਸਫ਼ੇ ਪ੍ਰਤੀ ਅਥਾਹ ਸ਼ਰਧਾ ਹੈ। ਭਾਰਤ ਦੇ ਡੇਰਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਾਲੇ ਪਾਸਿਓਂ ਇਹ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਮਹਿਜ਼ ਸਾਢੇ ਚਾਰ ਕਿਲੋਮੀਟਰ ਦੂਰ ਹੈ ਜਦੋਂਕਿ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਸੌ ਕਿਲੋਮੀਟਰ ਤੋਂ ਵਧੇਰੇ ਦਾ ਪੰਧ ਤੈਅ ਕਰਕੇ ਉੱਥੇ ਪਹੁੰਚਣਾ ਪੈਂਦਾ ਹੈ। ਨਨਕਾਣਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਦਰਸ਼ਨਾਂ ਲਈ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਜਾਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਕੋਈ ਵੀ ਸ਼ਰਧਾਵਾਨ ਸਿੱਖ ਜਾਂ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਦਰਸ਼ਨਾਂ ਦਾ ਮੌਕਾ ਖੁੰਝਾਉਣਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਚਾਹੁੰਦਾ। ਨਾਨਕ ਨਾਮ ਲੇਵਾ ਸੰਗਤ ਲਈ ਇਹ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਦੇ ਜਨਮ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਨਨਕਾਣਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜਿੰਨਾ ਹੀ ਅਹਿਮ ਹੈ। ਫਿਰ ਵੀ ਇਹ ਵੱਡਾ ਮੁੱਦਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਬਣਿਆ ਕਿਉਂਕਿ 1965 ਜਾਂ ਸ਼ਾਇਦ 1971 ਤਕ ਅਣਅਧਿਕਾਰਤ ਰੂਪ ਵਿੱਚ ਡੇਰਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਾਲੇ ਪਾਸੇ ਤੋਂ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਜਾਣਾ ਸੁਖਾਲਾ ਸੀ, ਪਰ 1971 ਦੀ ਜੰਗ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਹਾਲਾਤ ਬਦਲ ਗਏ। ਇਹ ਹੈਰਾਨੀ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਹੈ ਕਿ 1961 ਵਿੱਚ ਜਦੋਂ ਭਾਰਤ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੇ ਸ਼ਹੀਦ ਭਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ, ਰਾਜਗੁਰੂ ਅਤੇ ਸੁਖਦੇਵ ਦੀ ਹੁਸੈਨੀਵਾਲਾ ਯਾਦਗਾਰ ਵਾਪਸ ਲੈਣ ਖਾਤਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਨਾਲ ਕੁਝ ਪਿੰਡਾਂ ਦਾ ਤਬਾਦਲਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਸੀ ਤਾਂ ਉਦੋਂ ਹੀ ਸਰਹੱਦ ਨੇੜਲੇ ਕੁਝ ਹੋਰ ਪਿੰਡਾਂ ਦਾ ਵਟਾਂਦਰਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕਿਉਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਮੰਗਿਆ ਗਿਆ? ਉਂਜ ਵੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਦੁਨੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਹੋਰ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਅਸਥਾਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਮਾਮਲੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਉਦਾਰਵਾਦੀ ਰਵੱਈਆ ਅਪਣਾਉਂਦੀਆਂ ਹਨ, ਪਰ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਮੁੱਦਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਬਣ ਸਕਿਆ। 2000 ਵਿੱਚ ਤਤਕਾਲੀ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਅਟਲ ਬਿਹਾਰੀ ਵਾਜਪਾਈ ਦੀ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਫੇਰੀ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਦਰਮਿਆਨ ਇਸ ਸਰਹੱਦ ’ਤੇ ਸਥਿਤ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਦਾ ਲਾਂਘਾ ਖੋਲ੍ਹਣ ਲਈ ਥੋੜ੍ਹੀ ਸਹਿਮਤੀ ਬਣੀ ਸੀ। ਡੇਰਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇ ਬਾਸ਼ਿੰਦਿਆਂ, ਪੰਜਾਬੀਆਂ ਅਤੇ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਗੱਲ ਤੋਂ ਬਹੁਤ ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ੀ ਹੋਈ ਸੀ, ਪਰ ਭਾਰਤ-ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦੇ ਸਬੰਧਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਆਈ ਕਸ਼ੀਦਗੀ ਕਾਰਨ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਆਸਾਂ ’ਤੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਫਿਰ ਗਿਆ। ਗ਼ੌਰਤਲਬ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਦੋਵਾਂ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਦਰਮਿਆਨ ਰਿਸ਼ਤੇ ਹੁਣ ਬਦ ਤੋਂ ਬਦਤਰ ਹੋ ਚੁੱਕੇ ਹਨ।
ਆਪਣੇ ਖੇਤਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਕੰਮ ਕਰ ਰਹੇ ਸਰਹੱਦੀ ਖੇਤਰ ਦੇ ਕਿਸਾਨ।
ਸਿਆਸੀ ਤੌਰ ’ਤੇ ਵੱਖ ਵੱਖ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਵੰਡੇ ਹੋਏ, ਪਰ ਸਾਂਝੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ ਅਤੇ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਵਾਲੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ ਸਾਂਝ ਦੀ ਪੇਚੀਦਗੀ ਨੂੰ ਗ਼ੈਰ-ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਅਤੇ ਗ਼ੈਰ-ਬੰਗਾਲੀ ਲੋਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਮਝ ਸਕਦੇ। ਦੇਖਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਗੱਲ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਉੱਤਰੀ ਅਤੇ ਦੱਖਣੀ ਕੋਰੀਆ ਦੀ ਸਿਆਸੀ ਲੀਡਰਸ਼ਿਪ ਨੇ ਦਹਾਕਿਆਂ ਤਕ ਬਣਿਆ ਰਿਹਾ ਤਣਾਅ ਘਟਾਇਆ ਤਾਂ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਪਾਸਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਕਿਵੇਂ ਭਾਵਨਾਤਮਿਕ ਹੁੰਗਾਰਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਂ ਸੋਵੀਅਤ ਯੂਨੀਅਨ ਟੁੱਟਣ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਬਰਲਿਨ ਦੀ ਦੀਵਾਰ ਢਾਹੇ ਜਾਣ ਉੱਤੇ ਦੋਵਾਂ ਪਾਸਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਜਰਮਨ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਕਿੰਨੀ ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ੀ ਮਨਾਈ। ਆਰਐੱਸਐੱਸ ਦਾ ਅੰਧ-ਰਾਸ਼ਟਰਵਾਦ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਪੋਂਹਦਾ। 1947 ਦੀ ਦੇਸ਼ਵੰਡ ਸਮੇਂ ਤਕਰੀਬਨ ਦਸ ਲੱਖ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਮਾਰ ਮੁਕਾਉਣ, ਇੱਕ ਕਰੋੜ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਉਜਾੜਨ ਅਤੇ ਔਰਤਾਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਅਸਹਿ ਤੇ ਅਕਹਿ ਜ਼ੁਲਮ ਢਾਹੁਣ ਦੇ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਹੁਣ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਜਦੋਂ ਵੀ ਆਪਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਮਿਲਦੇ ਹਨ ਤਾਂ ਕੱਟੜਪੰਥੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ ਅਧੀਨ ਇੱਕ ਦੂਜੇ ਖ਼ਿਲਾਫ਼ ਕੀਤੇ ਅਪਰਾਧਾਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਝੂਰਦੇ ਹਨ। ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ ਪਿਛੋਕੜ ਸਦਕਾ ਆਪਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਜੁੜੇ, ਪਰ ਸਿਆਸੀ-ਫ਼ਿਰਕੂ ਇੰਤਹਾਪਸੰਦੀ ਕਾਰਨ ਵੰਡੇ ਗਏ ਭਾਈਚਾਰਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਮਸਲਾ ਬੜਾ ਪੇਚੀਦਾ ਹੈ। ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਲੋਕ ਭਾਵੇਂ ਭੂਗੋਲਿਕ ਤੌਰ ’ਤੇ ਦੋ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਵੰਡੇ ਹੋਏ ਹਨ, ਪਰ ਸਾਂਝੀ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਰੂਹ, ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ, ਬੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਅਤੇ ਭਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੂੰ ਜ਼ਮੀਨੀ ਲਕੀਰਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਵੰਡ ਸਕਦੀਆਂ।
ਇੱਕ ਘੁਮੱਕੜ ਵਜੋਂ ਇਤਿਹਾਸਕ ਸਮਾਰਕ ਦੇਖਣ ਦੀ ਲਲ੍ਹਕ ਦਾ ਡੰਗਿਆ ਮੈਂ ਇੱਕ ਵਾਰ ਡੇਰਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ, ਸਰਹੱਦ ਅਤੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਦੇ ਮਹਾਨ ਸ਼ਾਸਕ ਮੁਗ਼ਲ ਬਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ ਅਕਬਰ ਦੀ ਤਾਜਪੋਸ਼ੀ ਦਾ ਸਥਾਨ ਕਲਾਨੌਰ ਦੇਖਣ ਗਿਆ। ਮੈਂ ਉੱਥੋਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਮਨਾਂ ਵਿਚਲਾ ਰੋਹ ਮਹਿਸੂਸ ਕੀਤਾ ਜੋ ਮਹਿਜ਼ ਸਾਢੇ ਚਾਰ ਕਿਲੋਮੀਟਰ ਦੂਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਵਿਚਲੇ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦਾ ਲਾਂਘਾ ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹਣਾ ਲੋਚਦੇ ਹਨ। ਉੱਥੇ ਜਾਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਲੋਕ ਦੂਰਬੀਨ ਰਾਹੀਂ ਇਸ ਅਸਥਾਨ ਦੇ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਕਰਦੇ ਅਤੇ ਵਧੀਆ ਕੈਮਰਿਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਉੱਥੋਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਤਸਵੀਰਾਂ ਖਿੱਚਦੇ ਹਨ। ਉੱਥੇ ਤਾਇਨਾਤ ਬੀਐੱਸਐੱਫ ਦੇ ਅਧਿਕਾਰੀ ਵੀ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ ਅਭਿਲਾਸ਼ੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਚੰਗਾ ਵਰਤਾਅ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਨ। ਅਜਿਹੇ ਮੌਕੇ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਡਾ. ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ ਇਹ ਟਿੱਪਣੀ ਬਿਲਕੁਲ ਦਰੁਸਤ ਜਾਪਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ‘ਸਰਹੱਦਾਂ ਬੇਮਾਅਨੇ ਹੋ ਜਾਣੀਆਂ ਚਾਹੀਦੀਆਂ ਹਨ’। ਇਸ ਦਾ ਮਤਲਬ ਇਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਲੋਕ ਬਿਨਾਂ ਰੋਕ-ਟੋਕ ਸਰਹੱਦ ਦੇ ਆਰ-ਪਾਰ ਆ ਜਾ ਸਕਣ। ਇਸ ਦਿਸ਼ਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਕਦਮ ਵਧਾਉਂਦਿਆਂ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਦੇ 550ਵੇਂ ਆਗਮਨ ਪੁਰਬ ਮੌਕੇ ਡੇਰਾ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਾਲੀ ਸਰਹੱਦ ’ਤੇ ਬੰਦਿਸ਼ਾਂ ਹਟਾ ਦੇਣੀਆਂ ਚਾਹੀਦੀਆਂ ਹਨ। ਇਕੱਲੇ ਜਸ਼ਨਾਂ ਮੌਕੇ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਗੋਂ ਸਦਾ ਲਈ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਦਾ ਲਾਂਘਾ ਖੋਲ੍ਹ ਦੇਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ ਹੈ। ਫਿਰ ਇਹ ਨੀਤੀ ਬਾਕੀ ਸਰਹੱਦਾਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਵੀ ਲਾਗੂ ਕਰਨ ਬਾਰੇ ਸੋਚਿਆ ਜਾ ਸਕਦਾ ਹੈ। ਇਸ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੁਵੱਲਾ ਵਪਾਰ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ ਹੋਣ ਨਾਲ ਸਿਆਸੀ ਫ਼ੌਜੀ ਲੀਡਰਸ਼ਿਪ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਦੋਵਾਂ ਮੁਲਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਇੱਛਾ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਥੋਪੀ ਗਈ ਦੁਸ਼ਮਣੀ ਦੇ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰਕ ਤੌਰ ਉੱਤੇ ਇੱਕ ਦੂਜੇ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦਾ ਵਿਕਾਸ ਹੋਵੇਗਾ।
ਪਿਆਰੇ ਸੰਪਾਦਕ ਜੀ,
ਐਤਵਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਦਸਤਕ ਵਿਚ ਛਪੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਲੇਖ ਦੇ ਅਨੁਵਾਦ ਦੀ ਉਕਾਈ ਵੱਲ ਇਕ ਸੁਚੇਤ ਪਾਠਕ ਨੇ ਧਿਆਨ ਦੁਆਇਆ, ਜੋ ਮੈਂ ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਖ਼ਤਾਂ column lai ਠੀਕ ਅਨੁਵਾਦ ਭੇਜ ਰਿਹਾ ਹਨ..
ਲੇਖ ਵਿਚ ਛਾਪਿਆ-
ਸਿੱਖ ਧਰਮ ਦੇ ਬਾਨੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਨੇ ਆਪਣੀਆਂ ਚਾਰ ਉਦਾਸੀਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਪਰਤਣ ਅਤੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਸ਼ਾਗਿਰਦ ਭਾਈ ਲਹਿਣਾ ਜੀ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰੂ ਅੰਗਦ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਨਾਮ ਦੇ ਕੇ ਗੁਰਗੱਦੀ ਸੌਂਪਣ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਅੰਤਲੇ 18 ਵਰ੍ਹੇ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਵਿਖੇ ਬਿਤਾਏ
ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ ਨੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਅੰਤਲੇ 18 ਵਰ੍ਹੇ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਵਿਖੇ ਬਿਤਾਏ ਅਤੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇ ਅੰਤ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਸ਼ਾਗਿਰਦ ਭਾਈ ਲਹਿਣਾ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰੂ ਅੰਗਦ ਦੇਵ ਦਾ ਨਾਂ ਦੇਕੇ ਗੱਦੀ ਸੌੰਪੀ।..
ਕਿਓਂਕਿ ਅਨੁਵਾਦਕ ਦਾ ਨਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ, ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ ਇਹ ਗਿਆ ਕਿ ਮੈਂ ਹੀ ਏਦਾਂ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਹੈ, ਮੇਰਾ ਮੂਲ ਲੇਖ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਵਿਚ ਸੀ, ਜੋ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਟ੍ਰਿਬਿਊਨ ਵਿਚ ਵੀ ਕਲ ਹੀ ਛਾਪਿਆ ਹੈ…ਉਸ ਦੀ ਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਟ੍ਰਿਬਿਊਨ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਨਾਲ ਹੀ ਭੇਜੇ ਲੇਖ ਦੀ ਮੂਲ ਟੈਕਸਟ ਇਹ ਹੈ…
where Guru Nanak spent nearly last eighteen years of his life, after roaming around the world in his four travels known in religious parlor as ‘Udasis’ and after appointing his disciple Bhai Lehna renamed as Guru Angad Dev, as his successor, ignoring his own erudite scholar son Sri Chand, who later set up his own Udasi sect and lived for almost unbelievably 135 years, passed away rather at an early age of 70 years.
ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਖਤ ਨੂੰ ਬਾਕਸ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਛਾਪਣਾ , ਧਾਰਮਕ ਮਾਮਲਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਇਬਾਰਤ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਧਿਆਨ ਦੇਣਾ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਹੈ…ਸੇਵਰ ਦੇ 50 ਤੋਂ ਵੱਧ ਪਾਠਕ ਲੇਖ ਤੇ ਆਪਣੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਦਾ ਇਜ਼ਹਾਰ ਕਰ ਚੁਕੇ ਹਨ, ਪਰ 1-2 ਪਾਠਕਾਂ ਨੇ ਗ਼ਲਤੀ ਵੀ ਨੋਟ ਕਰ ਲਈ , ਜਿਸਦਾ ਸਪਸ਼ਟੀਕਰਨ ਬਹੁਤ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਹੈ…
How to get Kartarpur Corridor functional? Chaman Lal* The hug of two Jats-Navjot Sidhu and Qamar Bajwa-both high officials, one from India and another from Pakistan, one a Sikh Jat and another a Muslim Jat(Both proudly proclaimed it themselves), has created furor all over India and trolls are enjoying their favorite pastime, yet the event has brought back the long pending socio-cultural-emotional issue back into Centre focus. The issue of open corridor to Kartarpur Gurdwara, just 4.5 kilometers from Dera Baba Nanak border. Karatarpur, where Guru Nanak spent nearly last eighteen years of his life, after roaming around the world in his four travels known in religious parlor as ‘Udasis’ and after appointing his disciple Bhai Lehna renamed as Guru Angad Dev, as his successor, ignoring his own erudite scholar son Sri Chand, who later set up his own Udasi sect and lived for almost unbelievably 135 years, passed away rather at an early age of 70 years. Gurdwara now known as Darbar Sahib Kartarpur is built at the spot, where Guru Nanak passed away. Interestingly just like his contemporary and equally popular Bhakta poet Kabir, whose grave(maqbra) and samadhi in Muslim and Hindu tradition is built at Maghar, where he died; Gurdwara/Maqbra/Samadhi is also built in same complex at Kartarpur for Guru Nanak, as all three faiths had deep faith in his humanist and inclusive religious teachings. In Maghar(UP) also both Samadhi and Graveyard(Maqbra) for Kabir exist together without any tension and all visitors to the site, visit both! While this Gurdwara from Dera Baba Nanak side is just four kilometers away, from Lahore side the visitors had to take long detour of hundred kilometers plus to visit the holy place, which no Sikh visiting Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib like to miss. In a way the site is as important for Guru Nanak followers as is Nankana Sahib, his birth place. Yet it did not become a major issue, as in the past, perhaps till 1965 or 1971 war, unofficially easy access was allowed from Dera Baba Nanak side itself. However, things changed after 1971. One wonders that when in 1961, Government of India exchanged a few villages with Pakistan to get back Shaheed Bhagat Singh/Rajgur/Sukhdev memorial at Hussainiwala, why at the same time, Kartarpur Gurdwara site was not negotiated with exchange of few more villages on any side of the border? Since most of the Governments world over, show liberal attitude in matters of religious sites to their faithful, Kartarpur Gurdwara site did not become big issue earlier. However, in year 2000, after then Prime Minister Vajpayee’s Lahore visit, some understanding developed between Indian and Pakistani Governments to have an open corridor to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Kartarpur on this border site. People of Dera Baba Nanak, Punjab and Sikhs world over were overjoyed at this development, however their hopes were shattered with later developments in Indo-Pak relations, which stand at the worst level at this moment. Trolls trolling at lowest level apart, non-Punjabis or for that matter non-Bengalis cannot understand the complexity of cultural bonding between peoples of same language and culture, even when divided politically in different nations. One can see how two Korean people emotionally responded when political leadership of both countries eased the tensions built for decades or earlier two Germans responded to each other when their dividing wall was demolished after the fall of Soviet Union. Hyper nationalism of RSS variety is not going to impress the Punjabis on both sides of the border, despite having mutually murderd nearly one million people and uprooting ten million and committing worse atrocities on their own women in 1947 partition; when they meet now, they almost atone for the mutual crimes they committed against each other under the influence of ‘religious fundamentalists’, which further took toll of their lives under the garb of Khalistani movement or anti-Ahmadiya movement in both Punjabs. It is a complex affair between cultural communities, bonded by cultural background, yet divided by politico-religious extremism. Punjab may had been divided geographically into two nations, yet in the minds and hearts of all Punjabis-Baba Nanak, Bulle Shah and Bhagat Singh can not be divided by any geographical division. As a wanderer, bugged and stung by temptation of visiting historic monuments, I visited Dera Baba Nanak town and border and also Kalanaur site of coronation of one of India’s great emperor Akbar, when on a lecture visit to Gurdaspur last year; I could feel the anguish of the people who want to have open corridor to the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara, just 4.5 kilometer away in Pakistan, which visitors watch through binoculars and click photographs with high power cameras, easily available these days; with BSF posted there being friendly to visitors, one realizes that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was right in his observation about solving issues with Pakistan by saying the ‘Borders should be made irrelevant’, meaning people should move beyond the border without any roadblock. As a first step, at least at the time of celebrating 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, let Dera Baba Nanak border become irrelevant and corridor to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara/maqbra/samadhi be made open for all time, not just for the celebration time. Later other borders can also be thought of making irrelevant and opened for trade and mutual development of the culturally conjoined people of India and Pakistan, despite enmity imposed by Poltico-army leadership of both countries on the people against their will! Some photographs of that visit show the feelings of people, wishing the corridor to become bridge between two Punjabs, and in one borrowed photograph, one can even see Kartarpur Darbar Sahib Gurdwara from this border itself with high power camera.
*Chaman Lal is fellow of Panjab University Chandigarh, retired Professor from JNU and an atheist inspired by Bhagat Singh’s atheism
B R Ambedkar: India and Communism, introduction Anand Teltumbde, Left Word Delhi, 2017 ed., pages 156, price 225/ Rupees
Dr. B R Ambedkar was in constant dialogue with Communist thought, at least at ideological level, throughout his writings. Some vested sections among both sides-Ambedkarits and Marxists have tried to put both sides more in conflict than in agreement on many social issues. There are few scholars and activists, especially after the rise of Communal Hindutva and it getting state power in 2014, to focus this dialogue on more common grounds among the two thoughts. Many student organisations in JNU or in Hyderabad University or IIT’s in Chennai and Kharagpur, have focussed on common grounds between Marxist revolutionary Bhagat Singh and Dalit liberation thinker Dr. Ambedkar, along with Periyar and Mahatma Phule.
Anand Teltumbde, scholar in his own right, though closely related to Ambedkar family as well, has edited few incomplete writings of Dr. Ambedkar under the title-‘India and Communism’ with his lucid introduction on the subject. It is mentioned in Publisher’s Note Dr. Ambedkar has left a note in his papers that he wished to write a book entitled-India and Communism, he even drafted table of contents for the book, which were as-
Part-1. The Pre-requisites of Communism
Chapter-1-The Birthplace of Communism
Chapter-2-Communism and Democracy
Chapter-3-Communism and Social Order
Part-II—India and the Pre-requisites of Communism
Chapter-4-The Hindu Social Order
Chapter-5-The Basis of Hindu Social Order
Chapter-6—The Impediments to Communism arising from the Social Order
Part-III—What Then Shall We Do?
Chapter-1- Marx and the European Social Order
Chapter-2- Manu and the Hindu Social Order
Dr. Ambedkar could complete only few parts of this planned book-Chapter 4&5 with sixty three typed pages. In the same fold of papers there was an outline for another book-Can I be a Hindu? And Symbols of Hinduism as part of it.
These papers are likely typed in early 1950.
Anad Teltumbde has reproduced these incomplete writings of Dr. Ambedkar with his 70 pages introduction-‘Bridging the Unholy Rift’. The Text of Dr. Ambedkar’s own papers is of 75 pages, with 50 pages of two chapters from book and 25 pages of additional section-Symbols of Hinduism.
Thus the unknown papers of Dr. Ambedkar with Anand Teltumbde’s introduction bring fresh and more rational understanding of Dr. Ambedkar thought.
In opening page of the book, there is a quotation from Dr. Ambedkar’s1936 major writing-‘Annihilation of the Caste’-
‘If the Socialists wish to make Socialism a definite reality, then they must recognise that the problem of social reform is fundamental and that for them there is no escape from it’
Reading this statement 81 years after it was first penned, makes one realise that how much complex Indian society is and how the need for social reform has become more acute that even in 1936 and the intervening period has shown that how socialists or communists have failed in this task and now they stand almost marginalised in society, which they were leading one time.
Anand Teltumbde also begins his introduction with a quote from radical black American thinker Malcolm X-‘The only way we’ll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world’ (Page 9). The very first formulation of Anand Teltumbde is that those who project Ambedkar as anti-communist or anti-Marxism are grossly prejudiced, though he agrees that Ambedkar had serious reservation in accepting certain theoretical postulations of Marxism.
Anand Teltumbde very harshly underlines the fact that-The entire post-Ambedkar Dalit movement reflects the singular obsession to treat Marxists as the enemy. This has allowed the Dalit ‘leaders’ to remain ensconced in the ruling circles, enjoying perks and privileges, while still calling themselves ‘Ambedkarites’ (Page 11). He has even named certain groups from Republican Party of India (RPI). In later period, Anand notes in sadness that even Dalit Panthers, the radicals on the pattern of Black Panthers of US, split on same pattern of RPI. He further notes that how notable Dalit leaders like-Ram Vilas Paswan, Udit Raj and Ramdas Athavale have walked over to the most reactionary Brahamnical party-Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP), but would not touch Communists even with a bargepole! These opportunist leaders are ready to go with utterly anti-Ambedkar thought of BJP, but attack Dr. Ambedkar’s own grandson Prakash Ambedkar, who favours common front with Socialists and Communists as ‘anti-Ambedkar’ and even ‘a Maoist sympathiser’!
Anand Teltumbde describes Dr. Ambedkar’s relationship with Marxism as ‘enigmatic’, he was never a Marxist, but described himself as ‘Socialist’!
Anand Teltumbde is not sure whether Dr. Ambedkar read Karl Marx’s 25th June 1853 essay-The British rule in India, first published in New York Daily, in which Marx characterizes the Indian Castes as ‘the most decisive impediment to India’s progress and power’. But Ambedkar never rejected the notion that ‘struggle against caste is integral with class struggle’ (Page 19). Ambedkar was unhappy at the Communists conception of class as only ‘economic’ excluding socio-religious aspects of it. Anand Teltumabde also underlines that though Ambedkar did not accept Marxian concept of class, he himself was treated caste as class-‘A Caste is an Enclosed Class’, as per Anand, Ambedkar conception of class was more like Max Weber than like of Marx. Ambedkar formed his first political party as Independent Labour Party (ILP) in August 1936, which is described by Christopher Jeffrelot as ‘first leftist party in India’, as Communist party was either underground or working under umbrella of Congress party. ILP along with CSP (Congress Socialist Party) organised huge march of 20000 peasants in 1938 and showed the way to merge ‘caste and class’ in practice. In 1938 itself ILP and AITUC (CPI affiliated-All India Trade Union Congress) joined in calling massive strike of one lakh workers against Trade Disputes act of 1929, against which Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt had thrown bombs in Central assembly in April 1929. According to Anand, Ambedkar was in his radical best form in 1930’s. Ambedkar ended this phase by dissolving ILP in 1942 and forming All India Scheduled caste Federation (AISCF).
Anand Teltumbde has observed in his introduction to the book that Ambedkar was not hostile towards communism until the 1930’s. Only his experience with Bombay communists made him bitter about everything communist. Ambedkar had a soft corner for Soviet Union leader Stalin, being the son of a shoemaker. He observed even fast on the day Stalin died.
According to Anand Teltumbde much of the differences between Dr. Ambedkar and Communist leaders of his time had been due to Communist perception of ‘Base and Superstructure’, in which economic plight of Dalits as class was linked to their liberation from economic yoke of exploitation and their ‘caste discrimination’ being part of ‘super structural’ nature, would end with the change in base of society. Communist party in its opportunism was treating many comrades from Dalit background as ‘showpiece’ of their concern for Dalits, such was the case of Jiban Dhupi of Anushilan revolutionary group background, who was released from jail after eleven years in 1946, was flaunted as ‘Scheduled Caste Fighter against Social injustice’ in CPI central organ. . In contrast, K N Jogelkar, a senior CPI leader was not debarred from remaining member of ‘Brahmin Sabha’ for many years.
Though Ambedkar remained targeted by CPI for many years, at personal level, Ambedkar kept his friendship warm with R B More, who had joined CPI.
According to Anand, on the issue of nationalism and anti-imperialist struggles, Ambedkar and CPI had different perception, while CPI thought Congress party to be anti-imperialist and nationalist and felt friendlier towards it and was critical of Ambedkar. For Ambedkar, interests of Dalits were primary, who got some relief from British regime in terms of getting education and some job opportunities. Ambedkar wanted to protect the interests of Dalits in post British India and did not trust Gandhi or Congress party for that.
Although today in changed circumstances due to RSS inspired BJP coming to power, Indian constitution drafted by Dr. Ambedkar is being seen as a defence mechanism against RSS designs of turning India into Hindu Rashtra, Anad Teltumbade quotes Dr. Ambedkar himself to show that how much Dr. Ambedkar was himself frustrated from this constitution. Anand quotes Ambedkar-‘I was a hack, what I was asked to do, I did much against my will…But I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it out. I don’t want it. It does not suit anybody’. (Page 68-quoted from Rajya Sabha, 2nd September 1953). It is very interesting to see that the constitution which is being idealised today, was a class constitution to protect the interests of ruling rich oligarchies and not to protect, working class or Dalits, Ambedkar was quite clear about it, but our today’s leftists and Ambedkarites are both eulogising a constitution, which was rejected by Ambedkar himself, despite being its author!
Coming over to present incomplete project of Dr. Ambedkar, Anand Teltumbde opines that though Ambedkar thought communism was an emancipatory philosophy and has huge attraction for toiling masses, yet it did not have much to offer to Dalits in getting rid of oppressive social structure . In Anand Teltumbde’s opinion the early doctrinaire approach of CPI alienated Ambedkar like thinkers from Marxism. He quotes Marx about such doctrinaire approach saying that ‘if that was Marxism, he was not Marxist himself!’
Under the present circumstances Anand Teltumbade opines that just caste identity politics will not lead Dalit liberation to anywhere, rather it would only splinter them further. He favours class and caste integration to enhance the path of revolution and hopes that publication of Ambedkar’s incomplete writings ‘inspire the Dalits and communists to complete the belated task to shape India’s and world’s future’. (Page 78)
One can look at Ambedkar’s two chapters and other writing to see whether Anand’s hope for Dalit-left unity is possible?
In his chapter-The Hindu Social Order: Its Essential Principles, Ambedkar begins by focusing on two fundamentals for free social order-1. Individual is an end in himself and 2. Social order must be founded on principles of liberty, equality and fraternity-three principles of French revolution.
Dr. Ambedkar discusses in detail the meaning and implications of these principles and tests the Hindu Social Order, whether it follows these foundational principles of ‘free social order’ or not; and he finds Hindu Social Order miserably failing to follow these essential principles. In the discussion Dr. Ambedkar underlines the most divisive and discriminatory aspects of Hindu social order. He gives an example from Brahmin caste alone from Punjab of those days, where out of one crore and a half population of main Brahmin caste, had 1886 sub-castes of Brahmins alone!
Dr. Ambedkar makes it clear that first and fundamental principle of Hindu social order is ‘graded inequality’, he gives illustrations from ‘Manu Smriti’ to prove his point, which underlines seven kinds of slaves and The Hindu law recognises slavery as a ‘legal institution’! (Page 98) Dr. Ambedkar has given ample examples from Hindu codified laws about the cruelty in different laws like that on adultery etc. Dr. Ambedkar underlines ‘fixity of occupations for each class and continuance thereof by heredity’ as the second principle of Hindu social order. Third principle of Hindu social order is explained as ‘fixation of people within their respective classes. Dr. Ambedkar notes further that Hindu social order has ‘ban on free interchange and intercourse between different classes of Hindu society. There is a bar against inter-dining and inter-marriage.’(Page 108).
In another chapter-The Hindu Social Order: Its Unique Features. Dr. Ambedkar notes three special features of Hindu social order, the most striking being-‘the worship of the superman’! In Ambedkar’s own words-‘The Hindu social order is nothing but Nietzsche’s Gospel put in action’!(Page 111) Ambedkar considers that The Brahmin is the Superman of Hindu social order, who is entitled to certain privileges as he could not be hanged, even though he might be guilty of murder as per Manu Smriti. Dr. Ambedkar further explains Hindu social order by saying that-‘the rise of common man is antagonistic to the supremacy of the Superman…..Common man is in a state of perpetual degradation…’ (Page 119)
Dr. Ambedkar is very firm in his opinion that-‘The Hindus are the only people in the world whose social order-the relation of man to man is consecrated by religion and made sacred, eternal and inviolate.’ He concludes this chapter with these words-‘No one can deny that the Hindu social order has become the habit of the Hindus and as such is in full force’. (Page 130)
In another chapter-Symbols of Hinduism-Ambedkar goes back to 305 B.C., focusing on Greek king Seleukos ambassador Megasthenes view-the social organisation of the Hindus was of a very strange sort’. Megasthenes observed Indian population to be divided into seven parts. From 305 B.C., Ambedkar moves to 1030 A.D. by referring to Alberuni’s travel accounts of India, who observed four major castes or varnas of Hindus, Brahmins being the highest in ladder. Ambedkar further refers to Portuguese official Duarte Barbosa being in India during 1500-1571, who gives detailed analyses of Indian castes. Ambedkar notes the Denzil Ibbetson writing about castes in Punjab during British colonial time. Editor Anand Teltambde consider him as ‘the most important intellectual bureaucrats of the Census of India’ (Page 147). In fact Denzil Ibbetson book ‘Punjab Castes’ is still published by Government of Punjab with his full name and title as Sir Denzil Charles Jelf Ibbetson K.C.S.I. as master source for data of castes in Punjab.
Dr. Ambedkar sees caste and class interlinked in Indian social set up. Dr. Ambedkar challenges the notion of caste being outcome of ‘Varna’, rather he says that ‘Caste is perversion of Verna’. Dr. Ambedkar touches the question of ‘Swarna’ Hindus, means being part of four Varna system, which include-Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras and ‘Avarna’ Hindus, means who are out of Varna system, called ‘Antyaj’ also, meaning worse than even Shudras! Dr. Ambedkar’s manuscript breaks with these words-‘The Avarna Hindus comprise three…..
No one can doubt the scholarship of Dr. Ambedkar in study of Indian society in general and Hindu society in particular with emphasis on Caste structure of Hinduism, which is most oppressive for Dalits. Reformers like Mahatma Gandhi and others tried to reform Hindu social order by offering to appropriate Dalits inside Hindu order by offering them some dignity, but not equality, whereas Dr. Ambedkar finds no scope for equality for Dalits inside Hindu social order, so he opts out of Hindu social order itself by accepting Buddhist faith and calling upon fellow Dalits to do the same. While he was left with little time after adopting Buddhism, his followers did not carry forward his scheme of taking Dalits out of Hindu social order and creating a new liberty, equality and fraternity based social order, not even Mayawati led Bahujun Samaj Party did it, neither earlier various Republican Party factions did it and now finding all of them at the mercy of RSS-Hindutva based party BJP.
Anand Teltumbde by his enlightened introduction to these papers of Dr. Ambedkar has tried to open a window again for leftists and Ambedkarites to enter into debate and find common ground for changing the sliding down of Indian society into the clutches of RSS-Hindutva Hindu Social Order, resisted so passionately by Dr. Ambedkar. Modi is the Superman of Hindu Social Order as explained by Dr. Ambedkar, with whom Dalits can have no truck. Under present circumstances, leftists forces are probably closest allies of Ambedkar’s imagined social order based on liberty, equality and fraternity, but would the both sides accept this challenge? Rosa Luxemburg the best leftist/Communist theoretician of Germany had given a resounding call for defeat of fascism by explaining the situation as ‘Socialism or Barbarism’! India is in perhaps same conditions today where it has to choose-‘Socialism or Barbarism’! Socialism could be of Ambedkar variety or Bhagat Singh/Che Guevara variety or any other variety as being tried in different Latin American countries at the moment, but Barbarism of Hindutva social order is not an option!
Hope that Anand Teltumbde, Prakash Ambedkar like Ambedkarite thinkers and various leftist groups and parties find a common ground, as students are trying in many places like ‘Bhagat Singh-Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule’ groups as in IIT Chennai to lead the country out of morass of Hindutva fascist forces, which are quite strong at the moment, being in power at state level as well as in society with vigilante groups like-‘Gau Rakshaks’ and many more like Sriram Sena, or Hindu Jagran Vedike, which are killing rationalists like Dabholkar-Pansare-Kalburgi-Gauri or Akhlaques-Junaids etc. by falsification of history and whipping up blind religious passions like Hitler and Mussolini whipped up in Germany and Italy of 1930’s and whose price was paid by the whole world, not just these two countries. Same are the conditions today of the world with Trump and Modi in power in two powerful countries with huge populations!
Hope Indian and US people will learn some lessons from history and will not allow it to be repeated again, which will be much more destructive than the World War-II, caused by Hitler and Mussolini. Dr. Ambedkar’s unfinished book can be guide to learn these lessons.
Chaman Lal is retired Professor from JNU, New Delhi and author of ‘Understanding Bhagat Singh’ and few books on Dalit Literature
If one looks at the biographical details of Sir V S Naipaul, one is just stunned. Apart from being Noble Laureate, Booker prize winner, holding knighthood, how many awards he has won, how many honorary degrees he has received from Universities all over, this all can make one feel so overwhelmed that one is likely to loose one‘s habit of critical reading of the text and one may just start focusing on all the literary achievements of the author.
Despite being overwhelmed by the literary achievements of Naipaul, one needs to look at the author’s search for Indian roots, which he tried in his many trips to India between 1960 to 1990 and came out with a trilogy of travel writing –’An Area of Darkness’!1964), ‘India: A Wounded Civilization’(1977) and ‘India: A Million Mutinies Now’(1990)
V S Naipaul has by now 34 books to his credit, out of which 16 are fiction writing and 18 are in the nonfiction category. Author’s search for Indian roots is reflected in many of his fiction works as well, particularly in ‘A House for Mr. Biswas’, first published in 1961, his fourth fictional work, which brought him much fame and still one of his major work or a masterpiece. Naipaul’s travel trilogy about India was probably inspired by this novel.
A House for Mr. Biswas
This is the book, which Naipaul has himself acknowledged as ‘breakthrough’ in an interview to Patrick Marnham, published in April, 2011 issue of ‘Literary Review’. This novel is interesting apart from other things, about Trinidadian Indians transition from their mother tongues Hindi/others to colonial language English, which was forced not by colonial regime, but by the Indian parents themselves under the terrible cultural hegemony of the regime and in ignorance about the children’s capacity for language acquisition, that they could be as much competent in English, even in more languages, without ditching their mother tongues-Hindi, African or others!
After the success of ‘A House for Mr. Biswas’ in , a long narrative depicting the transitory life of Indians, who stayed back in Trinidad and were struggling to become part of Trinidad society, Naipaul decided to visit India, which he did in 1962 through sea route and spent few months in journey. Naipaul was 30 at that time, but he got established as a writer in 1957, at the age of only 25 years, with the publication of his first book, a novel-’The Mystic Masseur’.
An Area of Darkness
The very title of Naipaul’s first trip to India shows how much he felt disappointed about India. Naipaul’s perception of India was based upon some of his reading of books about India and some from listening family tales about India in Trinidad and he was curious to know and feel India, which made him take this long trip. He spent a pretty long time in different places in India, which included visit to his ancestral village near Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.)
Wherever Naipaul went to India, he felt a sense of annoyance and irritation and his irritation makes him give graphic details of ugliness, he observed-’Indians defecate everywhere. They defecate, mostly, beside the railway tracks. But they also defecate on the beaches; they defecate on the hills; they defecate on river banks; they defecate on the streets; they never look for a cover’1.
No place in India makes Naipaul cheerful. His whole year is a journey through ‘darkness’, even visit to his ancestral village, called Dube’s village in Eastern U.P., near Nepal border, is full of irritation. This village, almost wholly of Brahmins-Tiwaris and Dubes, seems to be near Kushinagar, a Buddhist historic site near Nepal border. Naipaul’s grandfather seemed to a Dube, but Naipaul has become irreligious, he has no interest in 19 acre land of his ancestors.
India: A Wounded Civilization
After 1962 visit to ‘Dark’ area called India, Naipaul returns in 1975-76, to look the land as ‘A Wounded Civilization’. In 1962 visit, he saw the atmosphere of Indo-China war and related emergency. This time he saw Indira Gandhi’s 1975 emergency. He starts with a description of ‘Hindu’ kingdom of Vijayanagar, found in 1336 in South India, and destroyed in 1565. He moves on to Jai Prakash Narayan’s resistance to Indira Gandhi regime. He travels through Rajsthan and refers to R.K. Narayan’s novel and film ‘Mr. Sampath’ and quotes him-’India will go on’. Naipaul refers to Jaipur Maharani Gayatri Devi’s imprisonment during emergency. Second part of trilogy has better narration of Bombay’s skyscrapers and chawls and rise of Hindu fascist Shiv Sena, but Naipaul describes Shiv Sena as a ‘positive’ movement. This time he travels to Calcutta and gives details of ‘Naxalite’ movement also.
Naipaul declares many times that ‘Naxalite’ movement is ‘now dead’, yet he returns to greater details of the movement in third and last part of his trilogy. In second part of trilogy, Naipaul refers to many important literary texts of India of different Indian languages. He refers to Vijay Tendulkars Marathi play ‘Sakharam Binder’ and ‘Vultures’, U. R. Ananthamurthi’s Kannada novel ‘Samskara’, he even takes recourse to Sudhir Kakad’s psychoanalysis.
In last part of ‘Wounded Civilization’ Naipaul focuses upon Gandhi and quotes Gandhi’s mentor Tolstoy, who said in 1910, while Gandhi was in South Africa yet-’His Hindu Nationalism spoils everything’2. Naipaul’s is little appreciative of Gandhi, but about Vinoba Bhave, disciple of Gandhi, he has this bite-’ Vinoba Bhave, Gandhi’s successor, is more a mascot than a Mahatma’3.
After a gap of 10-12 years, V S Naipaul again returns to India for another long visit in 1988.This time he makes better preparation for the visit and acknowledges the helpful role of three eminent Indian journalists-Nikhil Lakshman, Vinod Mehta and Rahul Singh son of Khushwant Singh, who accompanied him in his journey partly, apart from few more personalities during his stay in Bombay, Bangalore, Madras, Calcutta, Delhi and Chandigarh. And the result of this journey is-’India: A Million Mutinies Now’, published in 1990 for the first time. His third Indian journey begins from Bombay, moves on to Calcutta, Goa, Bangalore, Mysore, Madras, Delhi, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar and finally Kashmir again. This time India does impress Naipaul.
India: A Million Mutinies Now
V S Naipaul took extensive journey, made detailed notes, travelled many places, met more informed people and tried to analyse some of the major happenings/phenomenon of Indian society in turbulent 1980’s. Generally his impressions carry the influence of his source persons, but at places, he has tried to present his own opinions as well, with which one may not agree, but has to recognise their worth.
V S Naipaul has tried to understand the phenomenon of Dalit movement and politics in Bombay and has been in conversation with eminent Marathi Dalit writer Namdeo Dhasal, who ironically has shifted to Shiv Sena politics these days. He also met his writer wife Malika Amar Sheikh, daughter of Communist Amar Sheikh and focussed upon known fact of Dhasal-Malika personal tensions as well. He has tried to understand Dr. Ambedkar through them. In Madras or Chennai this time he goes to Periyar Tiddle to understand E V Ramaswamy Naicker or Periyar phenomenon by interviewing his follower K. Veermani. In Calcutta, he tries to understand Naxalite phenomenon, by conversing with Chidanand dasgupta like enlightened personalities. He brings to focus Charu Majumdar, the Naxalite leaders Spartan life despite being from a large landholding family.
In Chandigarh, he meets Gurtej Singh, who quit IAS to become Jarnail singh Bhindrawale’s Khalistani terrorist movement. He reproduces Kapoor Singh ICS’s story, who was dismissed from service, became MLA etc. and was fountainhead of Khalistani thought. He meets Amrinder Singh, posing himself as ‘Maharaja of Patiala’, despite Princely states and titles being abolished. He tries to feel the pinch of feudal Muslim gentry of Lucknow, who did not migrate to Pakistan and lost their privileged position after partition.
V S Naipaul in third journey finds India getting out of slumber, which he found it in during his earlier two visits. The writer himself concludes in the final chapter of the book—’What I had not understood in 1962, or had taken too much for granted, was the extent to which the country had been remade; and even the extent to which India had been restored to itself……’4.V S Naipaul does not make qualitative difference between leftist or rightist mutinies, he puts them in the same bucket, whether ‘the destructive chauvinism of the Shiv Sena, the tyranny of many kinds of religious fundamentalism’… or ‘the pious Marxist idleness and nullity of Bengal’5, in his own words. And he concludes by saying-’the mutinies were not to be wished away. They were part of the beginning of a new way for many millions, part of India’s growth, part of its restoration.’6
V S Naipaul does not make qualitative difference between leftist or rightist mutinies, he puts them in the same bucket, whether ‘the destructive chauvinism of the Shiv Sena, the tyranny of many kinds of religious fundamentalism’.7 or ‘the pious Marxist idleness and nullity of Bengal’, in his own words. He concludes by saying-’the mutinies were not to be wished away. They were part of the beginning of a new way for many millions, part of India’s growth, and part of its restoration.’9
Two decades after V S Naipaul’s third travelogue on India, the country has banged on international scene. It is a growth as desired by Naipaul. Now it is a ‘power to be reckoned with’ according to its ruling classes, it has now produced 100 plus billionaires in the world and Prime Minister of India is proud of it . Though one can’t even count how much foreign debt India has to pay-in trillions perhaps. How many millions is due in taxes from so called 100 billionaires and other multi-millionaires of India is also not on record, how much black money is stashed in Swiss banks is not even told to Supreme Court of India. V S Naipaul may be happy about this coming up of India, a great power, which after crushing left oriented ‘mutinies’ and patronising ‘rightist’ mutinies has become the blue eyed country of unipolar world power USA. Bye to non alignment romance to bygone days!
Yet the condition of Naipaul’s ancestral village, which he never felt like visiting again, even though of high caste Pundits like Naipaul family, has not changed much for the better and who cares two boots if 1/5 million (1/6th of Trinidad & Tobago population) peasants all over India have committed suicide since 1997, being in debt, as per Government of India’s own records. Let us see what Sir Vidya Naipaul’s fourth travel to India brings about through his pen or say computer!
1. Naipaul V S, 1992, A House for Mr. Biswas, Penguin India
2. Naipaul V S, 1968, An Area of Darkness, Penguin India
3. Naipaul V S, 1979, India: A Wounded Civilization, Penguin India
4. Naipaul, V S , 1997, India A Million Mutinies Now, Minerva U.K
1. Naipaul V S, 1968, An Area of Darkness, Penguin India edition, page 70
2. Naipaul V S70, 1979, India: A Wounded Civilization, Penguin Books
India, Page 154.
3. …Same…………… page 159
4. Naipaul V S, 1997, India: A Million Mutinies Now, Minerva Reprint,
U.K., page 517
5. …Same… page 518
6….Same.. Page 518
7. ………….. Same……page 518
8……………Same… page 518
9……Same … …. Page 518
Paper presented at international conference on South Asia Diaspora on 3rd June 2011 at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies.
Alvida Tejinder Gagan: It was too early to leave!
In this age of social media, news and fake news both travel so fast that one forgets even old faster modes like telegram or even long tried landline calls. On 11th July at 9.15 pm, Hindi novelist Tejinder Gagan living in Raipur after being retired as Deputy Director General Doordarshan at the age of 67 years, had heart attack and sudden collapse, attended immediately by neighbour doctor, but could not be saved. By 11 pm, the social media was abuzz with the shocking happening. It was a shocking midnight WhatsApp message in a literary group about this. As I Checked on Tejinder face book page, the message was a fact. Tejinder Gagan was part of Progressive Writers Association (PWA).
Tejinder was a friend since more than two decades. In fact I became his admirer after reading his year 1990 novel Veh Mera Chehra based on Sikhs condition during 1984 anti-Sikh riots outside Punjab and Delhi. This depiction based on Sikhs of Madhya Pradesh, where Tejinder was working, it was so sensitive and yet without any rancour with progressive humanist perspective that I wrote on the novel in Sahitya Akademi Hindi quarterly Samkallen Bhartiya Sahitya. During Gurbachan Singh Bhullar term as editor of Punjabi Tribune, I recommended publication of Punjabi translation of Veh Mera Chehra, which he happily accepted and serialized the novel in Sunday magazine of the daily. Later, Parminderjeet editor Akhar Punjabi monthly published this novel in book form, which got translated in English as well. The novel is a story of a Sikh family migrated to Madhya Pradesh for work from Punjab and was thinking of returning at the anti-Sikh turn of events in 1984, but Shaminder the main character in novel finds humanity in common people there and good and bad people among both Sikhs and non-Sikhs, he decides to stay back integrated with local people, where he was brought up in an Adivasi town Kanker, now in Chhatisgarh. This novel won him Vagishwari and MP Govt. awards.
I developed a close relations with Tejinder and met him few times in Dehradun, where he was with Doordarshan and at other places. He gifted two of his novels-Kala Azar on my birthday 27th August and Kala Padri on 10th December 2001. I collected most of his other publications too-from 1981 novel-Mijajilal to Seedhiyon par Cheetah of 2010-almost ten collections in 38 year creative period, mostly novels, one diary/memoir of Odisa Adivasi Sambalpur area-Diary Saga Saga, its preface was written by radical socialist Kishan Patnaik. I wrote review of Kala Padri novel, which impressed me with its realistic depiction of Chhatisgarh adivasis. I wrote on it in a Hindi journal, which is part of my forthcoming book on Indian novel. This novel was unique in depicting life of Chhatisgarh’s poorest adivasis with a profound human touch and a fellow Hindi fiction writer Udai Prakash described it as an ‘unprecedented Hindi novel’ in post-modern description of reality’
Post retirement from Doordarshan , Tejinder settled in Raipur, where one of his sister is also teaching in a college and brought out English journal-Untold-voice of the downtrodden-, for which he corresponded and spoke to me passionately. I contributed for the journal an article on Ghadar party as desired by Tejinder in 2013. Tejinder is survived by his wife Daljit Gagan and daughter Samira. It was too early to leave Tejinder, when you were trying to humanise society by your writings in the tough times of dehumanisation! Alvida dear friend! Your writings shall keep on enlightening the society!
On 15th July, a memorial meeting-Bhog wa held in a Raipur Gurdwara, I could not reach there, but I pay my tribute here on my blog by reproducing my two writings on Tejinder’snovels. It was too early to go Tejinder-Alvida with deep sadness!
1. अवध का किसान विद्रोह, सुभाष चन्द्र कुशवाहा ,२०१८, राजकमल प्रकाशन दिल्ली, प्रष्ठ 328, मूल्य 299/ रुपए
This is Subhash Kuhwaha’s second book on history of people’s movements, he earned laurels with his first book on Chauri Chaura and now he has come up with peasant revolts in Awadh region during 20th century in British colonial period. In the beginning author has spoken about common understanding about peasants that ‘good peasants are of docile nature’! Poor peasants also lack unity. Awadh peasant revolts also made Jawaharlal Nehru realise the reality of poor peasantry. There was spontaneous revolt of peasants in all districts of Awadh region during 1920-22. The leaders of revolt were Baba Ramchander, Chhote Ramchander, Dev Narain Dwidey, Rehmat Ali, Madari Pasi and others. Subhash Kushwaha opines that revaluation of Awadh peasant revolt is necessary so he undertook this task. He thinks that though Baba Ramchandder led the revolt, the role of Suraj Prasad or Chhota Ramchnder and Madari Pasi has been neglected. He has referred to few other studies of peasant struggles-D N Dhangere, Kapil Kumar and Sushil Srivastva’s works in English and Mahender Pratap work-Peasant movement in UP- in Hindi are referred. Book contains nine appendices which include the details of sale of eight girls between 5 to 12 years by their father or brothers in 200 to five hundred rupees to landlords in first appendix. In second appendix details of war fund given to British for world war by landlords is noted. Third appendix carries the 22 pledges of Baba Ramchander for peasants. Fourth appendix has noted the rules of Pratapgrah Kisan Sabha. Fifth appendix carries list of 65 people who gave evidence in favour of Pratap editor Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, which included Nehrus and Malviya. Sixth appendix is depiction of firing at Munshiganj Bridge. Appendix seven carries the list of 21 persons listed killed in firing at Munshiganj memorial. Appendix eight carries the official list of wounded people in Munshiganj firing and appendix nine carries the list of six dead in firing. The last six appendices are related to one incident of firing in Munshiganj. Bibliography is provided by the author. The book is well organised into eleven chapters. The first chapter focusses upon British land revenue system evolved from 22nd March 1793 after East India company had occupied most of India after 1757 Plassey war. There is reference to Jat revolts in Agra and Dhaulpur area in 1669 and 1672. Second chapter focusses upon peasant and workers revolts during British Indian period. This is a general survey of revolts at all India level like Chuad revolt during 1767-1777 of lower classes, 1770-77 Chero revolt, 1772 Sanyasi-fakir revolt led by Manju Shah. Mostly these revolts were against higher rate of land tax, which continued continuously in 1817-25, 1831, 1843, 1846 and had bigger revolt during 1855-56 of Santhals. There was forced sowing of Neel, which led to revolt during 1859-60. By 1920 end, British had laid down 35000 miles Rail lines, fourth largest in the whole world. 1917 was the year of Champarn peasant movement, which gave Gandhi a boost in Indian politics. Around 1920 there were peasant, worker revolts and alongside communal riots. With the impact of 1917 Soviet Bolshevik revolution, there were 110 strikes, participated by 25 lakh workers. By 1921, 48 labour unions had come up in Bombay. In 1921 there was Moplah revolt in south India, which took hundreds of lives. There was Bardoli peasant satygrah in Gujarat in 1927 led by Vallabh Bhai Patel. With Swami Sehjanand Saraswati appearing on scene there were number of peasant organisations coming up after 1930. In 1932, there was revolt led by Titu Mir in Barasat, there was Tebhaga and Telangana massive peasant revolts before and after partition in 1947. In this general context, author has planned to study Awadh peasant revolt of 1920-22 which include Madari Pasi led Eka movement, which became news even for London newspapers. Third chapter of book is focussed on peasant revolts in United Province (UP) prior to 1947. It gives background of Awadh which became part of UP in 1856. Awadh feudal lords were so dehumanised that in seven droughts, 15 lakh people were killed, these happened n 1877, 1878, 1889, 1892, 1897 and 1900. All kinds of oppression was there on peasants, they were subjected to Begaar, Nazrul Fourth chapter draws attention to awakening among Awadh peasants and formation of peasant bodies. In 1917, initiative was taken by Jhinguri Singh and Mahadev Singh in Pratapgarh district to form Kisan Sabha. Baba Ramchander whose real name was Shridhar Balwant Jodhpurkar was born on 28th March 1863 in Maharashtra, he was a Dakshini Brahmin and left home in childhood and came to Ujjain. He went to Fiji in 1905 at the age of 42 years as Girmitia and returned in 1916. He was in touch with CF Andrews, close friend of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1917 there was peasant association formed in Allahabad also which led to formation of UP peasant association under the leadership of P D Tandon. In Kanpur also Kisan Sabha was led by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi in 1919. Baba Ramchander reached these areas in 1920 and got organised more kisan sabhas leading to formation of centralised Awadh Kisan Sabha in October 1920. There was a massive convention of peasants on 20-21 December 1920 at Faizabad with 80 thousand to one lakh peasants participating, where Ramchander put forward 14 point demand charter. Baba Ramchander was taken to Anand Bhavan at Allahabad and Motilal Nehru was made President of UP Kisan Sabha.
The next five chapters focus upon peasant revolts in five major districts of Awadh-Pratapgarh, Rai Braille, Faizabad, Sultanpur and Hardoi.
In fifth chapter-Peasant revolt of Pratapgarh, author gives the socio-economic data of 1901 census as out of 9 lakh population, largest population of one lakh were Kurmis, Brahmins and Rajputs were at no. two and three respectively. Awadh peasant revolt began from Pratapgarh where a mass of people got even Baba Ramchander freed from jail. Largest number of peasant organisations 20-25, here were made of lower castes by Jhinguri Singh. The impact of Baba Ramchnader returned from Fiji was at its peak during 1920-21, who was Ramkatha sayer. By June 1920, there were fifty branches of Kisan Sabhas. There were eight anti-feudal pledges which included -No to land tax, No to free labour, No to mutual clashes, Help others, no fear from police to stop oppression and trust in God. As per author’s interpretation these were very weak pledges. Pandit Nehru and Gauri Shankar visited this place in September 1920, when there was 38 hour revolt on 10-11th September. There was massive gathering of sixty thousand peasants of lower castes. Here the displacement was most cruel, agitation was against this. There was Mehta committee formed to enquire. V N Mehta was liberal Deputy Commissioner of Pratapgarh.
Sixth chapter focusses upon peasant revolt in Rai Braille, Out of 10 lakh population of district, 90% were Hindus and Rai Braille city had population of 18 thousands. Here there was extreme exploitation of lower class peasants and it led to spontaneous revolt in 1921. First violent incident occurred on 2nd February 1921. Peasants attacked Fursatganj and Munshiganj bazar. There was crowd of 8-10 thousand people. Six peasants were killed and 24 were arrested. On Munshiganj Bridge, crowed swelled from three to ten thousand, Pandit Nehru reached there despite notice to return. He addressed 3-4 thousand peasants. A feudal Veerpal Singh incited the people by firing. There was fifteen rounds of firing. Even British papers carried the news of firing. 600 peasants were arrested, situation could be controlled by 11-12th January only. Pratap edited by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was subjected to trial, which was defended by Hindi novelist Vrindavan Lal Verma. Moti Lal/Jawaharlal Nehru and Madan Mohan Malviya appeared as witnesses in favour of Vidyarthi ji. There were revolts in more areas as well.
Seventh chapter is focussed on Faizabad peasant revolt. Faizabad remained capital of Awadh during 1760-80. In 1921, city population was as high as eighty thousands. As per US newspaper report army was sent to quell ten thousand revolting peasants here in February 1921. It was mainly lower and untouchable castes revolt against Brahmin landlords. Revolt was led by young revolutionaries-Devnarain Pandey, Kedarnath and Suraj Prasad or Chhota Ramchander. Chhota Ramchander wished to set up parallel government. The leaders did not like each other and Congress party did not like all the leaders, who were trying to follow Bolshevik principles to organise landless hungry peasants. Abu Zafar, a cruel landlord was getting forcible poppy cultivation from peasants. London newspapers published revolts in 37 villages of the area during January 1921. There was revolt in Baskhari, 77 kilometres from Faizabad. Alopi Brahmin was a cruel landlord, on 27th January 1921, 30-40 thousand peasants gathered in Gohanna to protest. Nehru addressed the gathering in five hour long meeting. There was spirit of Hindu-Muslim unity during protest. Suraj Prasad or Chhota Ramchander was landless peasant of revolutionary nature. On his arrest there was revolt in Gosainganj railway station. There was firing on five thousand peasant gathering, no report of death but number of wounded was very high. Ahmad Khaleel was peasant leader in Akbarpur area in 1922 peasant revolt
Eighth chapter focusses upon Sultanpur. On 14th November 1920 was Kisan Sabha of Sultanpur, which got peasants from Lucknow and Gonda. There were far reaching consequences of Awadh peasant revolt which erupted due to feudal oppression patronised by colonial power.
Ninth chapter focusses upon an important Eka movement led by Madari Pasi in Hardoi district. There were Eka meetings in villages through distribution of supari. Quran Sharif and Gita-both Muslim and Hindu scriptures were kept together. Daily Mail of London described this movement in March 1922 as ‘dangerous’. There are fewer facts available about Madari Pasi, who had turned into legend. Madari was born around 1860 in village Mohankheda, tehsil Sandila. He died at the age of 70 years in 1930, there are stories of Madari meeting Bhagat Singh, but not supported by facts. There is no arrest or trial shown in British records, though Kamtanath has depicted his popularity in his epic novel Kalkatha There were more heroes of peasant revolt which was crushed by army by 1922.
Tenth chapter has focussed on creation of Gandhi myth, which was created after 1917 Champaran peasant movement. Gandhi joined 25th November 1920 ten thousand peasant meeting with Baba Ramchander. Baba Ramchander arrest on 10th February 1921 was in Gandhi presence. Swami Sehjanand Saraswati the undisputed peasant leader was disillusioned by Gandhi approach towards peasant issues.
Author highlights the fact that 70 Moplah prisoners were choked to death in goods train compartment, in this movement 3266 peasants died.
Author also refers to Dr. Manilal, who played important role in Fiji and Mauritius Indians and who was close to CF Andrews.
In the last chapter-In conclusion, author refers to Baba Ramchander’s release from jail in 1923 and his love for Congress. He faced charges of misappropriation f funds in 1924. He tried to get involved with peasant issues in 1929 again. In 1930, Jawaharlal Nehru became Congress President, but Congress avoided taking up peasant issues. Finally All India Kisan Sabha came into existence on 11th April 1936 in Sehjanand Saraswati leadership with CPI patronisation. Around same time came into existence PWA and AISF. Baba Ramchander again went to jail during 1930, 1941 and 1942. He died in 1950.
Subhash Chander Kushwaha has organised his research in chronological order using research methodology without being himself an academician or professional researcher. This book is continuation of his earlier work-Chauri Chaura which was based on 1922 incidents, this book focusses more on 1920-21 incidents, but he time span is more or less same. This study again underlines the fact that peasant movements and issues have been neglected by academicians as well as left activists. Peasantry which is the core of social change remains a periphery of left jargon despite the fact that since the ushering of British colonial regime, peasants had suffered maximum oppression and they had revolted, but in a scattered form, there had been no well organised all India level peasant revolt or movements. In west Bengal CPM could rule for 34 years just on the strength of Operation Burga, a major land reform, as was done earlier in Kerala, which still pays the left parties there. Suppressing peasant revolt in Singur and Nandigram caused the nemesis of left movement in West Bengal, which has by now slipped so much that they are losing all mass base in the state and even in adjoining Tripura.
Author has underlined the specific aspect of Faizabad’s landless peasant struggle. Awadh peasant struggle should be studied in link with Tebhaga, Telangana and Pepsu’s Mujara-landless peasant movement of 1948 led by Red Party, which was also crushed by army.
It is worthwhile study of peasant movement of Awadh.