Letter to the Editor

The Asian Age, Rough Passage to Secularism

Sir,

This is with reference to the ‘A Rough Passage to Independence’ (Aug 13) by Kuldip Nayar. The purpose of recounting of the horrors of partition seems to remind us that only the people of Punjab (both parts) were the hapless victims of the disastrous partition and its aftermath. Punjabis did suffer the maximum but there were others also whose saga of extreme suffering has gone unnoticed. I mean the victims of Pakistan – sponsored and guided tribal incursion of Kashmir in October 1947. The saga of suffering of the Hindus and Sikhs of Muzaffarabad and Baramulla (a district in Kashmir Valley) for three weeks of brutal slaughter, captivity and cowardly behaviour, especially towards hundreds of defenseless women holed up in a make-shift concentration camp then in ‘occupied Baramulla’ town, has never been documented or told. Actually, the locals particularly the neighbours in both the districts played the villain of the piece. That heart-rending story has been mischievously suppressed by the Kashmir rulers of post- independence era through their fallacious campaign of “communal harmony” among the people of the valley, a calumny that suited the Sultans of Delhi not for any love of Kashmir but for their contrived projection of Kashmir as the “secularist model of India.” Where is that model today?

As for writer’s lament that Jinnah’s secularist vision of Pakistan was spurned by his successors, nobody is so naïve as to forget that for nearly five decades the Muslim League headed by Jinnah struggled for a separate state for the Muslims of India on the basis of two-nation theory.

K.N. Pandita,, New Delhi, August 13, 2007.

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