The Agenda of Riots
The recent outrage over a movie, The Kashmir Files and the stone-pelting incident during Ramnavami processions in five states, have once again brought forward the deep entrenched hatred for India and its culture from a section of the followers of Islam and their partners in bed, the left-Congress cabal. While the movie was the adaptation of the reality that happened in Kashmir in those troubled times, the stone pelting, on the other hand, was a clear proof of the original agenda of the Muslims in the country: destroy Hindu and their culture and make this country a Sharia ruled state. A foreign religion/culture was thrust upon India through the force of “iron and blood.” Right from Sultanate period through Mughal era and national movement momentum, the agenda of this so-called minority community was and is clear- to turn India into a Muslim state.
Dr. Vivek Singh, professor of History in Delhi University says, “History is replete with instances where these Muslim invaders not only looted this country but also tried to destroy the culture of India through the power of sword, but they failed miserably. In modern times, the Wahabi ideology induced young Muslim minds of the country, instead of making their future bright in this beautiful country, they are hell bent on creating Dar-ul-Islam. But History is proof that whenever these marauders have raised their tentacles, they were nipped in their bud.” It is up to the readers to agree to the viewpoints of a knowledgeable professor or not, but these are the facts which are embedded in history.
One does not need to delve deep into the vast history of this holy land to know about the atrocities inflicted upon the soul of this country by this so -called peaceful community. The Direct Action Day call during the freedom movement is a testament to what mayhem would have been caused when they ruled the roost in this country.
When the national movement reached its pinnacle in 1946-47, there were high hopes for coming liberation all around. At the same time, Muslim sentiments were stoked by the idea of a free Pakistan, which the Muslim League had been seeking and mobilising for. Communalism, which had assailed a composite Indian nationalism, was now taking centre stage, with violent overtones seen across the country. Calcutta, the capital of the Bengal Presidency, suffered one of the bloodiest communal riots in history on August 16, 1946, which claimed the lives of many people over the course of four days. Seven weeks later the easternmost districts of Bengal bordering Burma, Noakhali and Tippera, burst into violence. There were attacks on people of mostly Hindu community and other minorities as well and violence overtook the humanitarian outlook.
It is no secret that the undivided Bengal Presidency was always at the forefront of the anti-colonial struggle. But at the same time the demand for a separate Muslim homeland had created a lot of mistrust between the Hindu and Muslims of the province. Like other parts of India, even in those times, the economic power was in the hands of the Hindus, the minority community while the Muslims mostly worked as subordinates under the Hindus. Their inferior social status along with the Hindu economic supremacy for ages were the main factors of resentment of the Muslims against the Hindus. Their simmering anger exploded in the autumn of 1946 on the day when Hindus were worshipping the Goddess Laxmi( the Goddess of wealth). What made matters worse was the fact that the perpetrators received full support from the Muslim League ministry of the province.
16 August 1946 was fixed as the Direct Action Day by the Muslim League to pressurise the British government and the Congress to accede to their demands of a ‘Free Pakistan’ but it turned into the “Great Calcutta Killing”. This date started the week of long Knives and following this day, around and about 6000 Hindus were stabbed, shot, and butchered by the other. 20 thousand were maimed and raped. India was yet to taste the independence.
The Chief Secretary of Bengal was R.L. Walker. The Prime Minister of Bengal was Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, from Muslim League. Suhrawardy requested Governor of Bengal Sir Frederick Burrows to declare a public holiday on 16 August. But the Bengal Congress protested against the declaration of public holiday, because this would enable the Muslims to enforce hartals.
Both the political parties had their own thousand reasons of observing it or not observing it a public Holiday. Congress leaders urged the Hindus to keep the shops open. The Urdu newspapers called for a complete strike on that day. The programme was published in the newspapers that the processions would start from multiple parts of Calcutta, Howrah, Hooghly, Metiabruz and 24 Parganas, and would converge at the foot of the Ochterlony Monument where a joint mass rally presided over by Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy would be held.
The troubles started on the morning of the August 16. Shops were forcefully closed. Stabbing, throwing of stones and brickbats started. At 12 O’clock, the League’s rally began, which was the largest ever Muslim assembly in Bengal. The Muslims from all sides of Calcutta with iron bars and lathis started congregating and this was followed by a namaz at 2.00 PM. Here some fiery speeches were made by Khawaja Nazimuddin and Suhrawardy. This was followed by widespread riots in Calcutta. The riots soon spread to other parts of Bengal and it turned into a mass killing day of Hindus.
The main targets of attack were Hindu property and Hindu influential people, some of whom were brutally murdered. Conversion of the Hindus was undertaken in an organised manner and on a larger scale than in the earlier riots. Hindus were to perform acts which were forbidden in their religion and perform Islamic practices like reciting the Kalma, eating beef, wearing lungi (a long loin-cloth worn by men) and women had to wipe off the vermillion mark on their forehead and to break their conch bangles- all symbols of Hindu marriage. Converted Hindus were compelled to marry their daughters to the Muslims. Hindu temples were also desecrated and idols were also damaged by the mob. Assaults and molestation of women formed a significant feature of the riots. Women were abducted and were forcibly married to Muslims. To keep the outside world completely in darkness about the terrible happenings rioters cut off the entry and entrance from and to the riot-stricken areas. Muslim employees in Post and Telegraph offices held up Hindu telegrams asking for urgent help.
Gandhi was also aghast
The Great Calcutta Killings (a title given by the Statesman newspaper, after it started functioning withstanding the killings), is a blot not only on the history of Muslims living in this country at the time, but it also had ramifications on the thought process of the great great soul of India, Mahatma Gandhi. He was aghast at the intensity of the violence that hit the Calcutta and most importantly Noakhali (then East Bengal, now Bangladesh). While it was ‘the cry of outraged womanhood’ which brought him to Bengal, (Harijan, 10 Nov. 1946, p. 396. ‘It was the cry of outraged womanhood that had peremptorily called him to Noakhali’, CWMG, Vol. LXXXVI, p.65) he was equally aghast at the religious intolerance shown by the local populace. Gandhi believed that this violence has put his principles at stake. ‘My own doctrine’, Gandhi said to N. C. Chatterjee, ‘was failing. I don’t want to die a failure’. But what was his doctrine that was failing? Throughout his journey he would mention about this failing doctrine but one does not come across any specific instance where he is explicit about his doctrine. It raises a very serious question. The Noakhali riot was no different from other communal riots as such. Then, why was it that only in the case of Noakhali, Gandhi would talk about the failing of his doctrine? It seems to us that it was phenomena like forced conversions and the way that religion was made to legitimise violence, which shook Gandhi’s previous understanding of communalism.
Hindus- Easy Target
Over 6000 Hindus were slain, hundreds of Hindu women were raped, and thousands of Hindu men and women were forcibly converted to Islam during these riots, according to estimates. In Comilla, Chandpur, Agartala, and other places, between 50,000 and 75,000 survivors were housed in makeshift relief camps. Aside from that, some 50,000 Hindus were stranded in the impacted areas. Miss Muriel Leister, member of a relief committee sent to Noakhali wrote on 6th November, 1946, “Worst of all was the plight of women. Several of them had to watch their husbands being murdered and then be forcibly converted and married to some of those responsible for their death. Those women had a dead look. It was not despair, nothing so active as that. It was blackness…….the eating of beef and declaration of allegiance to Islam has been forced upon many thousands of as the price of their lives”
Every report of the time contains graphic descriptions of the crimes perpetrated against Hindus. They were not only slaughtered and malnourished, but they were also compelled to convert to Islam in the most inhumane and horrific methods possible. A report in the Statesman on 16/10/1946 states that “In an area of about 200 sq miles the inhabitants surrounded by riotous mobs, are being massacred, their houses being burnt, their womenfolk being forcibly carried away and thousands being subjected to forcible conversion. Thousands of hooligans attacked the villages, compelled them (Hindus) to slaughter their cattle and eat. All places of worship in affected villages have been desecrated. The District Magistrate and the Police Superintendent of Noakhali took no step to prevent it. Aanand Bazaar Patrika, a renowned newspaper of Bengal reported on 23/10/1946 that ““For the 13th day today, about 120 villages in Ramganj, Lakshmipur, Raipur, Begumganj and Senbag thanas (police stations) in Noakhali district with a Hindu population of 90,000 and nearby 70,000 villagers in Chandpur and Faridganj thanas in Tippera (Comilla) district remained besieged by hooligans. Death stares the people of these areas in their face and immediate rushing of supply to these areas with the help of military, who alone could do it, would save the lives of these people, most of whom have been without food for the last few days.”
Incidents of rape with women of Hindu religion were most rampant. G. G Simpsons, ICS wrote in his letters “It has been known from authentic sources that at a place 400 and at another 300 women were mass raped by Muslims. To the Muslim crowd, violation of the honour of Hindu women meant the exposure of the most protected aspect of the Hindu identity and religion”
The Great Calcutta killings and the corresponding Noakhali genocide’s ultimate purpose was to turn Bengal into Dar-ul-Islam, an ‘Abode of Islam.’ The police did little to stop the bloodbath, instead joined forces with the rioters. Suhrawardy positioned himself with his cronies in the Police Control Room, and thus prevented the Police Commissioner, a British national who was technically in charge of law and order, from attending to the trouble with a free mind. Also, at the meeting held in the Maidan, a vast open space in central Calcutta, Suhrawardy told the Muslim League crowd (estimated to have been at least 100,000 strong) that he had taken measures to “ restrain” the police, which was interpreted by many in the crowd as a license to loot and kill. Leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru were unconcerned about the mass massacre, and Gandhi’s nonviolence teachings were powerless in the face of Islamic cruelty. His intervention, contrary to common belief, did not put an end to the bloodshed. The impact of violence instigated by ‘Direct Action Day’ was quite apparent as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel wrote to Sir Stafford Cripps on 15 December 1946, “You called the League delegation there to (London, December 1946) at a time when there was some realization that violence is a game at which both parties can play … Just when the time for settlement was reached Jinnah got the invitation, and he was able to convince Muslims once again that he had… (got) more concessions by creating trouble and violence… but I will only say that if strong action had been allowed to taken here, when ‘Direct Action Day’ was fixed by the Muslim League and when 16 August was fixed as the day of demonstration in Calcutta, all this colossal loss of life and property and bloodcurdling events would not have happened.
The Viceroy here took the contrary view, and every action of his since the great Calcutta killings has been in the direction of encouraging the Muslim League and putting pressure on us towards appeasement.”
Santosh Pathak, an ex- JNUite and spokesperson for Bihar BJP says, ‘‘Right from the Sultanate period to the Great Killings of Calcutta to todays incident of stone pelting on Ramnavami processions and the outcry over the Kashmir Files, the agenda of the peaceful community and their bed partners in Left and Congress is to turn India into a Sharia ruled country. But, India is not only a country of Hindus but a civilisation in itself and will continue to be so, whatever vicious tactics they may employ.’’Apparently, this is the truth.
By Nilabh krishna
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