Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1905 Bengal Partition Commemorative Petition; 2005

Committee to Commemorate Banga-Vanga (Partition of Bengal) Centenary
New York City
October 16, 2005

On this day, October 16, one hundred years ago in 1905, the Colonial British Administration mandated a Muslim-Hindu (Non-Muslim) partition of Bengal Province in British India ushering in the rise of intolerant religiosity and communal politics over the past 100 years. This event is commonly known in the Indian Subcontinent as Banga-Vanga or Partition of Bengal into a Muslim-majority East Bengal and a Hindu-majority West Bengal. With minor changes that Muslim-majority East Bengal is now Bangladesh where Islam is the State Religion and that Hindu-majority west is the West Bengal State of pluralistic, secular India.
A. Whereas before October 16, 1905 Bengal (and rest of British India, now Indian Subcontinent) was an area where Muslims and Hindus (non-Muslims) lived rather amicably;
B. Whereas prior to that engineered communal partition there were no demands for communal, sectarian, regional or racial separation between Muslims and Hindus from either of the communities who lived next to each other for hundreds of years or from any other segments of the society;
C. Whereas preceding that forced communal divide of majority-Muslim Bengal, as in rest of India, the religious-linguistic-ethnic communities had woven a composite culture where Muslims and Christians drew strengths from their ancient nature-worshipping, deity-worshipping Hindu-Buddhist-Jain roots while Muslims studied at Hindu tolls, just as Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs had drawn strengths from Muslim pirs (saints) and worshipped at those shrines, and many Hindu philanthropists establishing Muslim institutions;
D. Whereas 19th and early 20th Century Bengal was one of the leading players of India’s independence movement giving birth to numerous anti-colonial writers, intellectuals, poets, composers, saints and spiritualists — Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Brahmo, Buddhist — including Raja Ram Mohon, Vidyasagar, Bankim Chandra, Lalon Fakir, Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Madhusudan, Mir Mosharraf, Vivekananda, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Aswani Kumar, Sri Aurobindo, Atul Prasad, Rajani Kanto, Sarat Chandra, D. L. Roy, Swami Pranavananda, Rev. Lal Behari Dey, Begum Rokeya, Mukunda Das, Syruo Sen, Mohammad Shahidullah, Hasan Raja and Pritilata Waddedar;
E. Whereas Colonial British Administration devised a novel divide-and-rule policy testing in culturally homogeneous Bengal to create a schism among their colonized subjects which in later years will be tried from Ireland to Africa, and Asia to the Americas;
F. Whereas after an intense struggle from the citizens of Bengal and rest of India stretching from the Bay of Bengal to Baluchistan, the province was reunited in 1912, but Muslim-Hindu (non-Muslim) communal conflict became a part of life in Bengal (and in rest of the Subcontinent) while the Colonial Police and British Army remained in the sidelines;
G. Whereas the Muslim-Hindu (non-Muslim) fratricide and demands for Muslim-non-Muslim partition of India by then energized Muslim League Party intensified after a major riot that was organized in Calcutta, the capital of united Bengal, on August 16, 1946, then ruled by the Muslim League Premier Suhrawardy and Calcutta’s (Muslim) Mayor Osman, while the British Police remained a spectator;
H. Whereas 41 years later in 1946 on that exact same date, October 16, on the auspicious Hindu Lakhsmi Puja Day an intense anti-Hindu pogrom was organized by a Bengal Legislator Golam Sarwar with the Muslim League Premier Suhrawardy in the helm of the Province in the eastern Noakhali district taking thousands of lives and abduction of thousands of girls and wives, only stopped by a walking tour of unarmed ‘one-man army’ of Gandhi, while the British Police and Army remained in the sidelines;
I. Whereas 1905 led to 1946 and finally to August 15 of 1947 when Britain partitioned India into Muslim Pakistan (and East Bengal/Bangladesh), and non-Muslim India with loss of over 1½ million lives and displacement of tens of millions of people which continues to this day;
J. Whereas no one in the British Administration was punished for the 1905 forced communal partition of Bengal causing hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and no British Administrator, no Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi elite was held accountable for the loss of life and ethnic cleansing of minorities after 1947 partition of India which is still continuing;
K. Whereas the first two (Islamic) partitions — 1905 and 1947 — led to a third partition and independence of Bangladesh in 1971 when over 3 million people, including Muslims, were murdered by the Army of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its Islamist Al-Badr and Razakar killer gangs; yet no one involved in that genocide mutating from the previous killings were reprimanded;
L. Whereas the result of the 1905 Bengal Partition has been the transformation of a tolerant composite Bengali culture in East Bengal/Bangladesh into one where millions of Hindu along with Buddhist and Christian minorities have lost their lives because of the uncalled for British action, and tens of millions non-Muslims have been forced to flee their homeland, while the rest of the world looks on. This divisive policy has made life of Muslim minorities in West Bengal vulnerable as well;
Thus, we the signatories of this appeal call upon:
The leaders of Bangladesh, Paschim Bangla (West Bengal), India, Great Britain, and rest of the world that no such action of religious, linguistic, ethnic divisive politics is acted upon;
The leaders of Bangladesh, West Bengal and India, to recognize the right of the displaced families and their descendants to return to their homeland and create a composite culture that Bengalis/Indians are known for;
The current leaders of Great Britain to offer an apology to the people and their families who have lost their loved ones or were victims of ethnic cleansing because of actions they initiated in 1905;
The leaders and peoples of Bangladesh and West Bengal to create Banga-Vanga museums highlighting the lives lost, futures destroyed, families displaced due to that deliberate British communal action, and actions of Bengalis themselves, so that our children and grandchildren would learn from that preserved lessons of history and introduce study of subject in the educational curriculum for all;
Bangladeshis, Indians, Americans and rest of the world to observe October 16 as Shuvo Sampriti Community Unity Day by reading stories of courage and sorrow of their families to act as guides of our past mistakes and for a brighter future;
The leaders of the Subcontinent (South Asia) to follow a path of peaceful resolution to solve future societal problems and to accept all faiths as their own, and guarantee freedom of religion for all;
All to condemn the July 2005 acts of terrorism in London — a consequence of the seed planted one hundred years ago in Bengal, India — and similar acts in partitioned India including West Bengal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and in other parts of the world;
Leaders, intellectuals and the common man to encourage victims and survivors of pogroms, riots, genocide and ethnic cleansing in former Bengal Province not to forget the past but to revisit their ancestral lands and share their families’ experiences with their new neighbors.
This petition will be delivered to:

Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Chief Minister of the State of Paschim Bangla (West Bengal)
Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister of Great Britain
Secretary General of the United Nations
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Postal: .............. New York, U.S.A.
E-mail: BengalPartition1905@yahoo.com

Yours truly,

Name Signature Address

This petition was signed by hundreds of people around the world through the Internet and by signature in a hard copy and delivered to all the leaders mentioned as well as to the news media.


Unknown said...

I haveS een the silent sorrow and suffring in the eyes of my grand mother sadhana lahiry granddaughter of jatindra narayan acharya choudhury of muktagacha.ihave sen indescribable pain intheeyes of her brotherls.ithink thatvunless we goback to the soil of their hildhood their souls willx not rest in peace.

Empire's Last Casualty said...

Dear Rajeswari:

Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project (ISPaD)of New York will be happy to receive written memoirs or audio tapes or video recording. They are collecting such historical records. Would you please send such narratives to Ispad1947@gmail.com? Or documents or pictures you want to share? Please find such recordings in YouTube's Ispad1947 channel.


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