I have watched several programmes in the last week or so which have looked at the granting of independence to India and the subsequent results of “partition” of the country with the creation of the new country of Pakistan.
Much of the focus has been on the uprooting of communities based on religious affiliation (mainly Hindus and Muslims) and the atrocities committed by both sides. Rape and murder were commonplace and thousands lost their lives because of this “appalling sectarianism.”
Visually all the programmes have laid the blame for the violence at the door of the British. One discussion programme on the BBC last week with a mainly Asian audience discussed this issue and one comment from the audience from an asian gentleman was to the effect that “the violence was a stain on the British nation.”
Now one can say that the introduction of partition was badly done, poorly organised and to a great extent the new Indian and Pakistan nations were left to get on with it. But forgive me here, but I don’t remember there being mass shootings, wholesale slaughter of villages or gang rapes by British troops.
No one told the two different religious communities to go out and slaughter each other, they chose to do that. So I get a little bit fed up of the finger-pointing at the British to say “it is all your fault.” Do none of the people involved in the atrocities take any responsibility for their action……….and indeed, what drove them to slaughter neighbours they had previously lived alongside in relative harmony for years?
It is time the two countries accepted that they were responsible for the savagery. The British drew the line of partition without apparently, a great deal of thought and this caused a great deal of concern in communities in both India and Pakistan, even accepting the lack of forethought in this, it does not excuse the savage religious sectarianism that followed. And it is sad to say that hate between the two countries still exists today and has been the cause of several wars between the two countries.
So, stop blaming the British (yes, we were guilty of colonialism and no one denies that) for the actions off people who should have known better, particularly as the driving force was religion. I refer you to the quote by Christopher Hitchens: Good men do good things, evil men do evil things, but for good men to do evil things, you need religion.”