InFocus: Ethnic cleansing and genocidal massacres 65 years ago by Ishtiaq Ahmed

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The Partition of India of was the division of British India into two independent dominion The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and Punjab, goddess, who stood variously for Bengal, India, and the Hindu goddess Kali. when the date of independence – 15 August – was also announced.

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Following terror attack on a gurdwara in Kabul, Sikhs and Hindus Guru Nanak’s followers from Kabul also started visiting present-day Punjab region. “​The majority of Afghan Hindus are now settled in Germany and Sikhs in the UK. who moved to India before the cut-off date of December 31,

Later the Hindu Shahi dynasty ruled. Sikhism founder Guru Nanak visited Afghanistan in the early 16th century and laid the foundation of Sikhism there. As per the history of his travels recorded in the earliest janamsakhis, it was during his fourth udaasi travels during , with his companion Bhai Mardana, that Guru Nanak reached Afghanistan and visited present-day Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Sultanpur.

All these places now have gurdwaras. The seventh Sikh Guru, Har Rai, too played a pivotal role in sending Sikh missionaries to Kabul and a dharamsaal earlier name for gurdwara was established there. Afghanistan now refuses to acknowledge them as their natives but they have made contribution to their motherland despite a turbulent journey.

Can an Afghan be a Hindu or a Sikh? According to Singh, there were at least 2 lakh Sikhs and Hindus in a ratio in Afghanistan until the s. In , on the first day of Baisakhi festivities, a man with an AK stormed a gurdwara in Jalalabad and gunned down 13 Sikhs and four Afghan soldiers. The exodus started in when the Mujahideen took over. The US and its allies started providing weapons to Mujahideen to fight a proxy war against the Soviet occupation.

Under the Mujahideen, there were widespread kidnappings, extortion, property grabbing incidents, religious persecution, targeting Sikhs and Hindus which became the trigger point for exodus. After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, those who remained continued to face persecution. But still the Afghan government in the months before the Mujahideen took over entire Kabul issued speedy passports under a scheme called Aab Gang pilgrimage passport Aab meaning water, Gang meaning river Ganga.

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Baisakhi is going to be celebrated on April 14th this year. Also known as Vaisakhi or Vasakhi, the festival is celebrated every year by Sikhs or followers of Sikhism, as well as Hindus around the world. Additionally, the festival is a Sikh harvest festival and it coincides with a number of regional New Year festivities which are observed in various parts of the Indian subcontinent.

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The Indian Independence Bill, which carves the independent nations of India and Pakistan out of the former Mogul Empire, comes into force at the stroke of midnight on August 15, In the northern province of Punjab, which was sharply divided between Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-dominated Pakistan, hundreds of people were killed in the first few days after independence. In the s, the British government made some concessions to the Indian nationalists, but during World War II discontent with British rule had grown to such a degree that Britain feared losing India to the Axis.

British colonial authorities responded by jailing Gandhi and hundreds of others. Anti-British demonstrations accelerated after the war, and in the Indian National Congress reluctantly accepted the creation of Pakistan to appease the Muslim League and conclude the independence negotiations. On August 15, , the Indian Independence Bill took effect, inaugurating a period of religious turmoil in India and Pakistan that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, including Gandhi, who was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in January during a prayer vigil to an area of Muslim-Hindu violence.

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At the time, few people understood what Partition would entail or what its results would be, and the migration on the enormous scale that followed took the vast majority of contemporaries by surprise. The main vehicle for nationalist activity was the Indian National Congress, whose best-known leaders included Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Under imperial rule, they had grown accustomed to having their minority status protected by a system of reserved legislative seats and separate electorates.

The prospect of losing this protection as independence drew closer worried more and more Muslims, first in parts of northern India, and then, after World War II, in the influential Muslim-majority provinces of Bengal and Punjab. When Britain took India into the war without consultation in , Congress opposed it; large nationalist protests ensued, culminating in the Quit India movement, a mass movement against British rule.

For their part in it, Gandhi and Nehru and thousands of Congress workers were imprisoned until Meanwhile, the British wartime need for local allies gave the Muslim League an opening to offer its cooperation in exchange for future political safeguards. Historians are still divided on whether this rather vague demand was purely a bargaining counter or a firm objective. But while it may have been intended to solve the minority issue, it ended up aggravating it instead.

A Cabinet Mission was dispatched to India in early , and Attlee described its mission in ambitious terms:. My colleagues are going to India with the intention of using their utmost endeavours to help her to attain her freedom as speedily and fully as possible.

Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan — how many remain, why they want to leave

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Date: 18th July The Bengal and Punjab provinces were partitioned between the two new countries. These dominions separated the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh population and caused the biggest forced migration which has ever.

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People across the UK will be celebrating one of the world’s most colourful festivals over the next five days. Diwali gets underway today October 25 , with the Festival of Lights commemorated all over the world by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. A hugely important date in the religious calendar, Diwali is celebrated through a variety of different traditions including the lighting of the diyas and decorating houses with rangoli artworks.

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The Partition of India of was the division of British India [b] into two independent dominion states, India and Pakistan. The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and Punjab , based on district-wise non-Muslim or Muslim majorities. The partition was outlined in the Indian Independence Act and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj , or Crown rule in India. The two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan legally came into existence at midnight on 15 August The partition displaced between 10—12 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions.

There was large-scale violence, with estimates of loss of life accompanying or preceding the partition disputed and varying between several hundred thousand and two million. The term partition of India does not cover the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan in , nor the earlier separations of Burma now Myanmar and Ceylon now Sri Lanka from the administration of British India.

It does not cover the incorporation of the enclaves of French India into India during the period —, nor the annexation of Goa and other districts of Portuguese India by India in Other contemporaneous political entities in the region in , the Kingdom of Sikkim , Kingdom of Bhutan , Kingdom of Nepal , and the Maldives were unaffected by the partition. Among princely states, the violence was often highly organised with the involvement or complacency of the rulers.

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British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Most of Britain’s Sikhs have their origins in immigration either from the Punjab in Northwest India in the s and 60s, or from East Africa slightly later. Duleep Singh was the last ruler of the Sikh kingdom of Punjab. The Maharajah was dethroned after six years’ rule, and exiled to Britain in at the age of 14, after the Anglo-Sikh wars. The statue was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in

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But the process of partition was attended by mass migration and ethnic violence that has left a bitter legacy to this day. Indians increasingly expected self-government to be granted in return for their wartime contribution. But with this came serious inter-communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.

Violence escalated and the threat of civil war loomed. In August of that year, six British battalions had to be deployed in Calcutta. They took nearly a week to restore order. The violence quickly spread to Bombay, Delhi and the Punjab. Eventually, the British concluded that partition was the only answer. The ‘Princely States of India’, not directly ruled by the British, were given a choice of which country to join.

Those states whose princes failed to join either country or chose a country at odds with their majority religion, such as Kashmir and Hyderabad, became the focus of bitter dispute. Mountbatten confirmed the date for independence as 15 August As soon as this was announced, British troops were withdrawn to their barracks. In the weeks leading up to independence, responsibility for maintaining law and order was handed over to the Indian Army.

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