Lest we forget

This week we remember the Holocaust , when hundreds and thousands were killed,  innocents lives were lost.

This reminds me of the lives (nearly one million) lost during the partition of India. Thanks to Charles for reminding me.

I was born after the partition of that country, but the stories I heard from my parents and family,and there are still people around who remember it vividly, have remained etched in my mind.

A country divided on the basis of religion, and to achieve that division, people from both sides were pumped up with hatred and anger, incited to kill their neighbours and friends,and kill they did.

India has always been a secular country, where various religions  have co-existed for centuries. In the Mogul era, the Emperor Akbar ,married a Hindu princess, named Jodha Bai, he did not force her to change her religion,but allowed her to follow her belief freely. He even built a Hindu Shrine for her in the Red Fort,in Delhi,which was the seat of the kingdom at the time, he married her  so the other Rajahs and Maharajahs who were Hindus, did not feel threatened by a Muslim king, and it worked. Hindus and Muslims worshipped their own Gods, inter married and lived in peace.And this was the case until

And then when India attained freedom from the British Raj, the politically motivated Jinnah and Nehru,decided to divide the country,they both wanted to be the first PM, they couldn’t ,so the answer was to divide the country on the religious lines.

My parents ,and others spoke of how the country changed within days, neighbours and friends simply turned on each other, I have heard of a train which was coming across the border to India , arriving filled with bodies. A whole train, if anyone knows about Indian trains ,they will know how crowded and long they are. And there was no one alive, apart from the driver.

Someone I know who is a retired dentist and is in his late eighties, talks vividly of his memories,when in the night groups of people will systematically enter houses and kill the inhabitants, Muslims did this in Hindu area and Hindus reciprocated, The sheer hatred planted against another religion was so so ingrained in their psyche.

I think a lot of people,then felt an antagonism against religion and the power it has of evoking hatred and bloodshed ,and decided to not label themselves with any sect. I think my father was one of them. To me it happened when during the Iraq /Iran war, the Iranians were sending young boys, thousands of them to clear the Iraqi mines, sending them as dynamite fodder, and they were given a plastic key,and told that as soon as they are blown up,they will enter the paradise, and the key will unlock the door.. I will never forget one Iranian mother being interviewed,who boasted that she felt lucky that her son was going to paradise straight. I was watching this with my son, who was at the time 7 or 8 years old, I think I passed on my anger for religions who do this, to him too.

Though so many years have passed,but human beings have not learnt anything. We are still killing each other, and the Muslims are in the fore front of doing it, the hatred among the various sects of Islam is incredible , history has taught us nothing.

 

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