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Re:Etchings of Violence: PARTITION VOICES AND MEMORIES FROM AMRITSAR

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  • B.S Goraya
    ... There is a very good book on organised riots called Contesting The Nation, it gives very graphic accounts of the BJP politics especially in Utter
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2006
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      --- RAVISINGH@... wrote:

      There is a very good book on organised riots called
      Contesting The Nation, it gives very graphic
      accounts of the BJP politics especially in Utter
      Pardes.Its simple as BJP followers throwing a cows
      head into a Hindu Temple just before any elections
      and it usually ends in hundreds dead and BJP
      winning.
      This is followed by many parties including the
      Congress Party.

      The Arya Samaj was very active in religious
      conversions of the Sikhs after the fall of the Sikh
      Kingdom.It was in the interest of the right wing
      Hindu organisations to cause hatred between the
      Sikhs and the Muslims so that the whole of Panjab
      doesnt slip away from India.

      I have been around different parts of Pakistan and
      all i got was a very respectful and warm
      welcome.There are many elders in Pakistan who fondly
      remember their villages.houses and friends in Panjab
      with great joy and become very emotional with the
      sadness of the partition.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: HiTMaN9497@...
      To: sikh_news_discussion@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Etchings of Violence: PARTITION VOICES AND MEMORIES FROM
      AMRITSAR

      [December 29, 2005]

      Etchings of Violence
      (India Today Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)EPICENTRE
      OF VIOLENCE: PARTITION VOICES AND MEMORIES FROM
      AMRITSAR

      Edited by Ian Talbot and Darshan Singh Tatla

      Permanent Black

      Price: Rs 595

      Pages: 234

      Many modern scholars argue that communal riots can
      only continue when government fails. Ian Talbot and
      Darshan Singh Tatla's collection of interviews with
      refugees from East Punjab at Partition supports this
      view. As Talbot puts it in his introduction, "None
      of this (violence) could have continued... without
      the connivance of officials, policemen and soldiers.
      Many of the attacks in both sides of Punjab were
      carried out with military precision."

      Without any editorial comment, save a short
      introduction, the interviews are presented as
      straight transcriptions translated largely from
      Punjabi. All of the interviewees were what Talbot
      calls "acute refugees" who eventually settled in
      Amritsar, an epicentre of Partition violence and a
      place of transit for tens of thousands of displaced
      people. In the city itself on the eve of Partition,
      Muslims made up 49 per cent of the population, most
      of them artisans. By 1951 they were 0.52 per cent.

      The interviewees, mainly Sikhs from varied economic
      and educational backgrounds, reveal the resilience
      of the refugees and how little they relied on
      government assistance to support themselves.
      Voluntary organisations and gurdwaras came forward
      spontaneously to help feed and clothe them. One
      figure, Bijli Pahalwan, is mentioned more than once.
      A leading Hindu transporter of the city, he arranged
      free transport and truckloads of men to defend the
      Golden Temple in case of attack.

      Each interviewee describes his or her relations with
      Muslims before independence. More often than not
      these relations were close. Sardar Aridaman Singh
      Dhillon's grandfather protected Muslims in his area
      and ensured they crossed safely to Pakistan,
      motivated by the principles of Sikhism. Dhillon sees
      the original roots of the divisions in Punjab in the
      aggressive attitude of the Arya Samaj to other
      religions and its expression in the Punjabi press
      published from Lahore. He is one of the few to
      mention the press. For many during Partition local
      news seemed to come through word of mouth, much of
      it rumour. Dhillon also assesses the damaging role
      the British and the local Congress party played,
      while many of the other interviewees blame Partition
      more generally on politicians.

      Inexplicably only four of the respondents in this
      collection are women, although those who are
      included have valuable experiences to relate. One
      helped to recover Muslim women abducted by Sikh and
      Hindu men and take them to Pakistan. One of the
      women escaped back to India at great personal risk
      and others objected violently to being taken away.
      Another interviewee tells how her brother intended
      to kill her so that she wouldn't be raped if their
      column of carts were attacked by Muslims, but that
      other refugees dissuaded him. Three of the
      interviewees were under 10 years old at
      independence, perhaps too young to have been
      included. This is, however, a small complaint.

      Nearly 60 years have passed since 1947 and the
      chances to hear the voices of witnesses to Partition
      are dwindling just as the importance of oral
      accounts of historical events has been widely
      recognised. In this context this serious and
      scholarly volume is to be warmly welcomed.

      http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2005/dec/1245921.htm
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