Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Partition Center Journal 2017

ISPaD Partition  Center
Journal  2017
ISSN 2377-7567

70 Years of Partition & Independence

Sachi G. Dastidar, Ph.D.
Published by
Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project (ISPaD)
Established: 2009

The Table of Contents

2016 Conference Report             Shuvo G Dastidar                          Page 1
First Person Narrative: 70 Years of Partition    Samriddha Datta           2
The 1946 Noakhali Carnage     Tathagata Roy                                          7
Partition and Discriminatory Laws: 52 Years of Enemy (Vested) Property Act in Bangladesh 
                                                                                            Sitangshu Guha 21
Story of Partition and Change: There is No More Malo Para in Our Village Badrun Nahar 25
Opinion: Please, don’t let our daughters down              Hasan Ferdous 29
Reflection:  Visiting Pakistan … Revisiting 1971      Syed Badrul Ahsan 31
India’s New Citizens:  A Timely Humanitarian Measure by Narendra   Modi’s   Government
                                                                                      Saradindu Mukherji 33
Sri Lanka: Brutal War and Path to Reconciliation     Sachi G. Dastidar 37
ISPaD Information                                                                                        41
Sponsors:         42--60
Cover Picture: Family Home of generations of Raja Bahadur Shyama Sankar Roy (Hindu) after 70 years of abandonment following 1947 partition. It is located in Teotha Village, Manikgonj District, in East Bengal in pre-partition Muslim-Hindu mixed Bengal Province of India, now in (Muslim-majority) Bangladesh. Photo Credit Pratip Dasgupta, 2017.
© ISPaD Project Inc. NY
Date: October 2017
Editor:  Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar
ISPaD Office, 85-60 Parsons Blvd, Ist Floor, Jamaica, NY 11432
Phone: 917-524-0035
Email: Ispad1947@gmail.com  
Web: www.ispad1947.org  

All the papers in the Journal  reviewed by the Editorial Board:  Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar, Editor, New York;  Dr. Alireza Ebrahimi, Long Island; Dr. Edislav Manetovic, New Jersey; Dr. Saradindu Mukherji, India; Dr. Caroline Sawyer, Wisconsin; and Dr. Mohsin Siddique, Maryland.

Price: $5 Dollars; $6.50 by mail 


Synopsis of the ISPaD Partition    Center’s 2016 Conference
Shuvo G. Dastidar**
Partition Center Project Coordinator

  Dr. Shefali S. Dastidar (l) with Keynote Speaker Dr. Rudranath Talukdar

  On Saturday, October 1, 2016 6th Partition Center Conference was held at SUNY Old Westbury, New York.

The Conference was opened by Professor Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar, Chair of the Conference by welcoming the guests and by introducing the focus of the Conference. He thanked the donors and volunteers of ISPaD. During a later panel he shared a few of the hundreds of testimonies of firsthand eyewitnesses and victims of refugees, survivors and protectors taken by ISPaD and made available at “ispad1947” channel of YouTube. They come from Hindus, Muslims, Christian, Buddhists and Sikhs of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh going back to the anti-Hindu Noakhali (East Bengal) pogrom of British India, then 1947 carnage, 1964 Hazrat Bal pogrom, 1971 Bangladesh Liberation struggle and more. Some described how they barely survived onslaught of their former neighbors losing their family members never to be seen again while some were saved by kind neighbors.

Dr. Tom Lilly, Jr., a Board Member, released the 64-page 2016 Partition Center Journal which includes nine articles from British colonialism to 1947 partition to changing identity to Roma of Europe.


Mr. Mathias Rozario, standing, with Session Chair Mr. Ramen Nandi

  Dr. Rudra Nath Talukdar in his keynote speech “Current Trends of Socio-politics in India” talked about the rise of conflict between pro-independence nationalism and neo-colonial forces in India and their supporters in the West. Dr. Dilip Nath while talking about Professor Taj Hashmi’s “Global Jihad, Subcontinent and America” described how his own home in Bangladesh of hundreds of years were burned to the ground during a pogrom in 1992 making his parents live as stateless refugee in India. Historian Dr. Saradindu Mukherji’s paper “A Timely Humanitarian Measure by Narendra Modi’s Government” addressed a very important issue of giving citizenship to millions of stateless Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian, mostly poor and oppressed-caste, refugees from the Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan whose plights have been neglected by successive governments. Mr. Pratip Dasgupta told the group as to how his Hindu family before 1947 was spread from today’s Bangladesh, Pakistan and India but had to abandon their homes in Pakistan and Bangladesh for India. Mr. Mathias Rozario in an emotional presentation told the how his Hindu family was forced to abandon their faith 200 years ago by other Hindus as his ancestors took shelter in a Portuguese Catholic church during a cyclone. He said every day his heart aches not only for his own family but also for his ancestors’ Hindu faith and that of his Hindu neighbors who are still being persecuted on a daily basis in their own Bangladesh.

  Others who spoke include Dr. Alireza Ebrahimi who briefed the group the diverse nature of his ancestral home of Abadan, Iran where institutions of various communities existed including a Hindu temple. Dr. Edislav Manetovic appraised how many similarities with partitioned Indian Subcontinent developed with his own former Yugoslavia after her partition. Some others who spoke include Dr. Shefali S. Dastidar, Mr. Ramen Nandi, and Mr. Usama Shaikh who shared his family history in Sind Province in southern Pakistan, and growing up in Karachi, Pakistan. This writer appraised the group as to how people worldwide are connection with ISPaD via social media. “It has become more than a full-time job: a cause.”

**Shuvo G. Dastidar, edits both Partition Center Newsletter and Probini Digest where he writes columns on a regular basis, and writes in social media.

First Person Narrative
70 Years of Partition (1)
Samriddha Datta
Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India

  70 years ago a few local and foreign representatives decided that India must be divided. On that very day 70 years ago in the month of June in the last session of United Bengal Legislature began Bengal and Bengali’s new path forward. That was June 20.

    Lord Mountbatten was so conscious about his image that on March 22, 1947 as soon as he got the appointment as Viceroy (of Colonial India) he gave  directive  public and private press photographers, that, on every occasion when his picture is taken the focus must be 6 inch above his eye line or below. This way face wrinkles don’t show up in pictures. The famous superstar of Hollywood Kerry Grant taught this formula. Thus on June 4 that year when he called for an important press conference as usual his secretary and press information department made arrangements for a high platform. Because on that day the proclamation that Mountbatten was going to make, India was not prepared for that. That proclamation was completely theatrical and surprising. Thus there was no doubt that next day papers at home and abroad will print Mountbatten’s picture. So above-6 inch eye line issue was confirmed once again. What Mountbatten proclaimed with his worry about bright picture that created extreme worry for the nation. Because that was the first time that Mountbatten or British Government formally informed that they will leave India. In that year in August. Or, in two months. Why surprising? Because in that very 1947 on 20 February the Labour Party (of Britain) announced in London that they will leave India in the month of June of 1948. And right after that discussion started on partition of India. Thus until that day it was known that there is one year on hand. And right after that slowly began discussion on division and transfer of power. But why suddenly there is the decision of transfer of power in eight weeks without any prior notice? What’s the reason? Even today there are many opinions on that. On the advice of V. K. Krishna Menon Mountbatten gave an incentive to Congress (Party) that if independent India joins Commonwealth then the date for independence could be advanced. Congress also agreed to that proposal. If we could have waited until June of 1948 then could our history be different? About this there is unending debate among historians and politicians. Most important, Gandhiji wouldn’t have had such a death.
  In a desperate bid to prevent partition of India Mahatma Gandhi offered his last bid by offering Mohammed Ali Jinnah to become the Prime Minister of undivided India. In that case Jinnah may not want Pakistan. But there was no support of that proposal. Because Jinnah wasn’t listening to anything. He was frantic about Pakistan{This seems to contradict Moulana Azad! Just an observation; please remove}Thus the Chief of Staff of Mountbatten Lord Ismai went to London in May with paperwork of the proposed division. He returned back with the approval from the Council of Ministers. Still there were lots of tension between Congress and Muslim League (Parties) on the division plan. Almost every day there were new proposals and counter demand. At one time Jinnah demanded a 900-mile corridor from East Bengal to West Pakistan. His wish was that the corridor would connect two wings of Pakistan. That would be the territory of Pakistan. Because of these unrealistic demand it was not possible to come to a real decision. Thus before the final decision Mountbatten himself went to London. And immediately after returning he called for a meeting on the morning of June 3. Jawaharlal Nehru, Jinnah, Liaquat Ali, Ballavbhai Patel, Acharya Kripalani were present at that meeting. At the onset he said that the message that Gandhi has sent I hope you’ll share with all of your worker-supporters. Now we are at the entrance to the door of the final decision. Now do not indulge on forceful attacks against the other, spread rumors and stop killings. In general if Jinnah was present Liaquat Ali Khan didn’t speak much. Even when Jinnah used to get up from chair he too would get up to show respect. And when he used to speak it meant that it was Jinnah’s word. It was being said through Liaquat Ali. For the first time Liaquat Ali opened his mouth. Said, I am forced to say this. Whenever he (Gandhi) talks about non-violence, whatever he says at the prayer meetings those are kinds of provocation. It shouldn’t be. He is trying to say, that no one should accept partition. People must take action through consciousness. No one would agree with forced administrative decisions. Aren’t these attempts to agitate people? Immediately Acharya Kripalani objected and said what are you saying? That’s what we feel with words used by Gandhi. We are here talking about partition and peaceful transfer of power, yet Gandhiji is saying no one should agree with administrative decisions if that goes against one’s desire. What kind of talk is this? Sardar Ballavbhai Patel was listening quietly. He said in cool voice, you misunderstood him. He prays for non-violence. He may not be able to accept this division of the country. But you are giving wrong explanation. Mountbatten said, even now Gandhi is not able to accept this division in his mind. Nehru and Sardar Patel looked at each other. They knew, Bapu (Gandhi) isn’t able to accept this. But, it is their responsibility to make Bapu understand. That’s what they said to Mountbatten.  Thus realizing that there is no end to this discussion said, time has passed for this kind of discussion. Now we’ve to take decision. After this it was decided that they’ll issue a statement saying that there will be division and independence of India. This announcement will be made shortly through All India Radio. At first Mountbatten spoke to the radio, then Nehru afterwards Jinnah. Citizens learned that India is being divided. But the real decision came next day, 4th June. There was a press conference. That’s when we learned in only two months. But who is going where? When we’re going to learn about that? You’ll have to wait another 17 days. Because on 3rd June’s radio statement it was told that the legislatures of two provinces – Bengal and Punjab – will have to make decision as to how the provinces will be divided. Or, if  they would be divided at all. On that very day a list of Muslim-majority districts were given. Of undivided Bengal 16 districts had Muslim majority. Based on 1941 Census. Chittagong, Noakhali, Tippera, Bakharganj, Dhaka, Faridpur, Mymansingh, Jessore, Murshidabad, Nadia, Bogura, Dinajpur, Maldah, Pabna, Rajshahi and Rongpur. Thus if Bengal is divided these districts will go to East Bengal. Yet there was a proposal that Hindu-majority areas may be separated and attached to West Bengal. Thus the first decision is to find out if Bengal will be divided or not. In the 1946 election the main issue was division. Muslim League ran on the platform of demand for Pakistan. And Congress’ slogan was undivided India. Based on these slogans the legislatures met to decide on June 20, 1947 the fate of the Bengalis. Because on that June 20 legislature was called to session. There’ll be voting. There were two main items on the agenda: 1. Bengal Province will remain united and will join either India or Pakistan, 2. Bengal will be divided in two parts. It was decided that there will be 3 sessions. First the entire legislature will meet. After that legislatures of Hindu-majority districts will meet; after that the Muslim-majority districts will meet. In the first session or the session of all the legislatures naturally there were more Muslim legislatures. Thus in the first session by a vote of 126-90 it was decided Bengal won’t be divided and would join Pakistan. After that the Hindu-majority districts met and by 58-21 vote decided that Bengal Province will be divided and will join India. Finally, legislatures of the Muslim-majority districts met and by 106-35 vote decided Bengal will not be divided. The entire Province will join Pakistan. And if Bengal is still divided then East Bengal will join Pakistan. And Sylhet of Assam (Province) must be joined with Pakistan. When on that day,  20th June legislatures of West Bengal decided that Bengal must be divided and will join India that mostly decided the fate of the Bengalis. And in that session there was no speech. Only voting was done. And resolutions were passed. After that the last Premier of Undivided Bengal, Sahid Surahwardy, stood up in the Legislature and said all our pain is over. The agony is over, Bengal will be partitioned. Although in the prior one year he began the permanence of injury of India. On August 16 of 1946 Surahwardy declared a Government Holiday in support of Direct Action Day for demanding Pakistan (by Muslim League). And with that excuse started rioting in Calcutta (Kolkata). That terrible rioting gradually spread to all corners of India. Noakhali after Calcutta. Tripura after Noakhali. Bihar. After Bihar Punjab. Comilla…. The report Calcutta Police Commissioner Hardwick gave to Viceroy Wavell, it was clearly stated that Premier Surahwardy himself managed operation in person at Lalbazar (Calcutta Police Headquarters).

  The party that had the most difference with Congress & Muslim League  was Hindu Mahasabha. Two important leader of that party were Shyama Prasad Mukhopadhyay and Nirmal Chandra Chattopadhyay (Communist Party-Marxist leader Somnath Chattopadhyay’s father.) Although Hindu Mahasabha was opposed to the partition of India but from the beginning it was for partition of Bengal. Whether there is partition of India or not, they always demanded division of Bengal. If Cabinet Mission’s proposal fails, then why Bengal should be divided? Shyama Prasad met with Mountbatten on 23rd April 1947 with rationale, papers and documents. After that on 2nd May Shyama Prasad wrote a long letter to Mountbatten. There he spoke clearly with reason and documentation showing how Muslim League misrule for the last 10 years Hindus have been suffering through administrative discrimination. After that if Bengal Province becomes an independent nation or joins Pakistan then there will be no end of suffering of Hindu Bengali. He wrote, there is immeasurable contribution of Hindus towards Bengal’s development. Yet there is no role for Hindus in administration. He spoke clearly, how Jinnah is saying that Muslims need a separate nation to get their rights, then why 25 million Hindus will be sent to a Muslim nation? They also have the right to ask for inclusion with Hindustan Union where they are in majority. If Muslims being only 24% of the nation can demand a separate nation, then why Hindus with 45% of the population cannot demand such a division? Cabinet Mission documents have already said that the reasons forwarded for division of India also applies to Bengal. We are also hearing a proposal of a sovereign, independent Bengal nation. We vehemently oppose that. Because it will be another Pakistan. Its constitution will be written by Muslim League. We cannot leave Hindu’s destiny on them. Truly there is no civilized administration in Bengal. In the entire country it is the most dishonest rule. This firebrand position of Shyama Prasad forced Mountbatten think afresh.
  You must have realized that Shyama Prasad mentioned that we are hearing of sovereign, independent Bengal nation. This was one of the opinions at the time of partition. Mountbatten was ready in his hearts of an independent Bengal. On April 26, 1947 Mountbatten had a secret meeting with Bengal’s Premier Surahwardy, and in two hours after that meeting he met with Jinnah. Mountbatten informed of his top secret meeting with Jinnah where he said that Surahwardy has proposed that if Bengal remains undivided as a nation then she may not join either India or Pakistan. Jinnah in response said, he has no objection. Without Calcutta it didn’t matter if Bengal became independent. They will also be Pakistan’s friend. Those handful of leaders who thought of separate, independent Bengal were Sarat Chandra Bose, Kiran Shankar Roy and Jogesh Chandra Gupta. By that time Sarat Chandra Bose had severed relation with Congress. He wanted an ideal socialist republic. Discussions on sovereign Bengal used to take place at Sarat Chandra Bose’s Woodburn Park home, and at Theatre Road home of Surahwardy (both in Calcutta.) Satya Ranjan Bakshi used to be with Mr. Sarat, and Abul Hashim with Surahwardy. After that they also made a treaty on 20th May. There they left out the term of socialist republic. After that Mr. Sarat and Abul Hashim discussed for quite some time this proposal of a sovereign Bengal with Gandhi. Gandhi wrote back in a letter that this demand may not be attainable. Although he said that he didn’t want to hurt Mr. Sarat’s feelings. Simultaneously he also said that, it is my belief that transfer of power is not possible besides the two parts of India. The effort to create a united Bengal reduced after the June 20 decision of the Bengal Legislature.
  After that worth mentioning is that there were lots of pull-and-push for the status of a city. Name of that city is Calcutta. Bengal’s last governor or Deputy Viceroy was Frederick Barrows. In his first life he was a train driver. That Barrows had the impression that if Bengal is divided, and East Bengal doesn’t get Calcutta Port it will not only harm East Bengal but Calcutta Port will lose its importance. Barrows’ concern was with Bengal’s jute industry. Jute is grown in East Bengal, but the overwhelming majority of the jute mills are in West Bengal. Of Bengal’s 100 jute mills almost all are in Calcutta and Howrah. There were a few in other districts. That’s why Barrows gave Mountbatten a bizarre proposal. Said that let Calcutta be made an international port city. Or in other words it won’t belong to either India or Pakistan. Barrows’ plan was to create an organization with 5 representatives from West and East Bengal each. They will run Calcutta. Calcutta will be a sovereign international city. Mountbatten had no support for that. He asked his personal secretary to prepare a note and convey that to Barrows and the British Government. Through a note Abel informed, 76% of Calcutta citizens are Hindu. In that case why would Hindus agree to equal representation of Muslims in administration? 90% of investments in the city is done by Hindus. Besides, Congress has agreed to partition the entire nation. Now if we want Calcutta to be an international city Congress may not agree to that. Yet in opposition they may also leave the interim administration. That there was such discussions within British administration no one on the outside knew about that. Question is why Barrows was having headache about Calcutta. Is that to protect British and European business interests? If Calcutta became an international city could that have become today like Hong Kong or Singapore? Or, could it have gradually become an international army base? Just as Djibouti in Africa? Although in which Bengal Calcutta will join, and what status will that have, Cyril Radcliff himself was worried about. The person who used a scissor to create maps of India and Pakistan. (In Rashtrapati Bhavan [Indian Presidential Palace] that table is still there where Radcliff put the map of India and created the boundaries for the last time. For the first time seeing that table I thought that it is the only witness to partition of India. For some time I stood there speechless.)
  Once the decision of the June 20 meeting became known, then the legislators of West Bengal elected Prafulla Chandra Ghosh as their leader at a meeting on June 22. Or in other words he will be the first Chief Minister of the State of West Bengal in India. Another name was proposed for that post. That was State Congress President Surendra Mohon Ghosh. What is worth mentioning is that the two names proposed to be West Bengal’s Chief Minister, Prafulla Chandra Ghosh was from Dhaka (East Bengal). And Surendra Mohon was a man from Mymansingh (East Bengal). Meaning both were from East Bengal. Later Surendra Mohon withdrew his name. On July 4 Governor Barrows administered oath to Prafulla Chandra along with eight ministers. In July Cyril Radcliff came to India to draw the boundary of the divided nations. Both end of the country engulfed in rioting. Mountbatten went to Lahore. Returning on July 22 Mountbatten write a letter to Radcliff. Do it quickly. We’ve no time. Although it was decided Bengal will be divided on the basis of 1941 Census. Meaning, Hindu majority districts will go to West Bengal, Muslim majority in East Bengal. On that basis there was almost an informal division. This was known as Notional Division. But it was known that in the final decision there will certainly be some changes. Because of Mountbatten’s pressure boundary demarcation was done by August 9. On 12 August Radcliff submitted his report. But Mountbatten decided that it will not be published before independence. It will be published on August 16. On August 17 (days after August 14/15 independence) citizens if India learned the outline of division. What does it matter to rest of India? A Historic tragedy settled on Punjab, Bengal, Tripura and Assam. Lightning struck on millions of people. According to Notional Division Khulna thought they would belong to West Bengal. But it had to go to East Pakistan. Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia thought they would go to Pakistan but they were added to West Bengal. Although partially. Overall those old districts didn’t remain intact. In Chittagong Hills Muslim population was only 3%. Even then India didn’t get it.
  Land was divided. People  were divided. Water of Karnafuli and Padma (Rivers) got divided. People had to leave their puimacha (kitchen garden). One had to leave one’s boyhood. One had to leave how one learned to row the first boat. We won’t see the English teacher. We won’t see again the Goalondo Steamer Ferry Terminal. We won’t see again Durga Puja at Comilla Kalibari (Kali Temple). Thus after 70 years in the emotional gene of the Bengali is not merely iPhone. One address. Permanent. Bengali knows home means an identity. Home means independence. Even today the name of the greatest satisfaction in Bengali minds is – Aamaar Baari (MY HOME).

Note: (1)  Originally published in Bartaman, a Bengali daily of Kolkata, India, as “Desh bhager 70” on July 18, 2017. Translated from Bengali by Sachi G. Dastidar


Tathagata Roy ** (1)
Author, Activist, Engineer, Governor of the State of Tripura, India

Editor’s Note: Noakhali anti-Hindu carnage – locally known as Noakhalir Danga – in eastern Bengal under the British Administration, when Bengal Province was ruled by the Muslim League Party, beginning in the October of 1946, is still little known and rarely discussed in the Subcontinent. It is considered the last nail in the coffin of the idea of a United Bengal in United India. Left censors it, nationalists avoid it. 

Very few know about Noakhali or what had made the place notorious. A few words about this forgotten corner of the world, which saw another bloodbath in 1946, would therefore be in order.
A look at the map of present-day Bangladesh is called for. The mainstream of the holy Ganga River leaves its holiness to the tiny spill channel called Bhagirathi River and enters present-day Bangladesh to become the ordinary but wide Podda or Padma River. The Padma then meets the mighty Brahmaputra (Jamuna in Bangladesh) coming from the north, and flows south-eastwards with its enormous volume of water. This combined stream is then met by the rain-fed Meghna flowing in a south-westerly direction. The river, which continues to be called Meghna beyond this confluence, then becomes virtually a flowing inland sea, nearly twenty kilometres  wide, flares out, and flows for another hundred kilometers before it meets the sea, the Bay of Bengal. The sluggish flow of this huge mass of muddy water also causes extensive siltation in and around its mouth which gives rise to formation of delta, roughly triangular islands known locally as char. Some of these chars in course of time got connected with the mainland, but their names remained.
The district of Noakhali, as it existed in the British times (all districts of undivided Bengal have since been divided up many times in independent Bangladesh - Noakhali of those days now consists of the districts of Noakhali, Lokkhipur (Lakshmipur) and Feni, including the huge island of Hatia, once a char), lay on the left flank on the east of the combined Meghna as it was meeting the sea, and included a number of these islands or chars. It is dangerous to live on the chars as they are often less than a meter above high water level, and are the first prey to any cyclone. Nevertheless, the fertility of the soil on the chars, combined with the pressure of population on the mainland, causes many people to settle on these islands. The district was, and still is, almost totally rural and agricultural, the main produce being paddy, jute, coconut, paan (betel leaves) and supari (betel or areca nut). The district included a number of char islands, of which two – Hatia and Sandip – were quite big. Among the smaller ones were Char Alexander, Char Lawrence, Char Bele and several others. Another feature of Noakhali was its remoteness. In order to reach the district from Calcutta – the capital of united Bengal Province of British India – one had to take an overnight train from Sealdah station in a Broad Gauge line which would reach a steamer station called Goalondo on Padma River. Then one had to take a steamer down the Padma till one reached another river station called Chandpur on the Meghna near the confluence of Padma and Meghna. This could take a day. Then one had to board a slow Metre Gauge train which would take one via Laksam junction to Noakhali town, the district headquarters. Thereafter to reach a village or one of the chars one had to take a bullock cart or a country boat or simply walk a few miles. It took nothing less than forty-eight to seventy-two hours to reach such a village from Calcutta. The means of transportation within the district were also primitive, being confined largely to bullock carts and country boats. Also, the district was crisscrossed by innumerable small rivers, canals and water courses, and transportation over land even by bullock carts was limited.
  The population in the British days was overwhelmingly – more than eighty per cent – Muslim. Now it is around ninety-five per cent or so.  The minority Hindus were largely schoolteachers, lawyers, moneylenders, doctors, shopkeepers, small businessmen, artisans and the like, and some sharecroppers. A few were small Zamindars or landowners. The Muslims were largely cultivators, the majority of them sharecroppers or landless agricultural laborers. There were some Muslim Zamindars as well. On the whole the Hindus were financially somewhat better off than the Muslims. It is this financial disparity that was made use of by the Hindu-baiters in the run-up for the carnage. There was another disparity – not economic, not political, not social. It was the fact that Hindu women were considered prettier than their Muslim sisters, and being in the minority, and infidels at that, were considered fair game. This is not being facetious. Words to this effect were spoken by no less a person than Sir Frederick Burrows, Governor of Bengal, when the widespread incidents of molestation, kidnapping and rape of Hindu women in Noakhali were reported to him. (i)
The 1946 carnage at Noakhali was begun by a Muslim League leader and Member of the Bengal Provincial Legislature called Ghulam Sarwar assisted by a Moulvi (Muslim Priest) Rashid Ahmed and a Mukhtar (Lawyer) Majibar Rahman. Sarwar was a fire-breathing rabble-rouser from a Peer’s (Muslim holy man) family who had lately wrested the leadership of the Krishak Samiti (Cultivators’ Association) from milder leaders such as Khan Bahadur Abdul Gofran. Once begun, the violence gathered its own momentum and rolled on. The inspiration of course came from Muslim League leader and Bengal Premier Suhrawardy’s launching of the Calcutta Killings (including the Hindu reprisals), and the assurance that under Suhrawardy’s benign rule and Burrows’ indifference the police could be trusted to look the other way while Muslim plundered Hindu. (In 1946 the Bengal Province in British India was ruled by the Muslim League Party.) In fact that is what happened in the Calcutta Killings, and that is what would have continued to happen, had not the tide of rioting turned against the Muslims. There was no such fear in Noakhali. The overwhelming numerical majority of Muslims, and the remoteness of the area would ensure that there would be no retaliation, nor any official action in a hurry.
Sarwar’s motivation in starting the carnage was simple, and remarkably similar to Suhrawardy’s. Just as Suhrawardy wanted to curry favor with Jinnah and elevate himself to a National Level, so did Sarwar want to curry favor with Suhrawardy and raise himself to Provincial Level. He had won the 1937 elections on a Muslim League ticket, but had been refused a ticket by the League in 1946. He was determined to show his political bosses that he deserved a ticket. He began with touring the district, making rabid speeches and provoking isolated incidents of harassment of Hindus, outraging the modesty of Hindu women, even killing. The Hindus looked for help from the Congress Party, but predictably, no help came. They then turned to the Hindu Mahasabha. Dr. Syama Prasad immediately promised them help, and came to Noakhali town and held a mammoth rally of Hindus at Arun School grounds. If this did not instill any confidence among the Hindus, it at least drew the attention of the District Administration to the fact that something sinister was in the offing.
Meanwhile Sarwar went round making his speeches. Just how provocative these speeches were can be made out only by a person who understands the Noakhali dialect (a lot of Bengalis, even East Bengalis, do not understand). Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sinha (b.1935), a retired Deputy Registrar of the Calcutta University, is himself a fugitive from Noakhali, and now lives near Calcutta. Dr. Sinha has quoted the main points of the speeches verbatim in the dialect in his work ‘Noakhalir Mati o Manush’ (ii). An English translation is given below, with the caveat that it can never capture the explosive potential of the words.
Brothers, all the rice that you grow – who eats it? – Hindus!
Brothers, all the fat bananas that you grow – who eats them? – Hindus!
Brothers, when our women fall ill who grope and feel them all over? – Hindu doctors!
Brothers, why are we Muslims thin and underfed? – because we do not get enough to eat!
Brothers, why are the Hindus fat and greasy? – because they get all the best things to eat!

These are lies of course, however much one might want to see the struggle between the haves and have-nots in them. The twenty per cent Hindus of Noakhali could never eat up even a quarter of the rice and bananas that the eighty per cent Muslims grew. The bulk of the Hindus, who were mostly either in the white-collar professions or small tradesmen or artisans or peasants and land-less laborers, could be only marginally better off than their Muslim brethren. The third allegation is particularly provocative, for obvious reasons.
These words were very similar to those that unemployed ruffians and goons used to go around preaching, in a country far away from Noakhali and Calcutta. These ruffians and goons had names like Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Goering, Ernst Roehm, Alfred Rosenberg, Julius Streicher, Gregor Strasser; and they were led by a discharged Austrian corporal called Adolf Hitler. The name of the country was Germany of the Weimer Republic, the time was in the nineteen-twenties, and the people about whom all this was said were called Jews, whose only fault was that they minded their own business and prospered while doing so. Nobody paid the goons any attention, and the Austrian corporal eventually became the Head of the German state. Rather similarly, the Congress or the rest of the country did not pay attention to what was happening in Noakhali. What happened in Germany thereafter was the War and the Holocaust about which everyone knows; what happened in Noakhali was the Carnage which even the victims’ children do not know of.
 The carnage began on October 10, 1946, the full moon night of Kojagari Lokkhi (Lakshmi) Puja when Bengali Hindus traditionally worship Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Sarwar and other League leaders had already created the necessary atmosphere by moving from village to village, making inflammatory speeches to the congregations at the daily Islamic prayers, describing in vivid detail what the Hindus had done to the Muslims during the Calcutta Killings, duly skipping the other part. As with the Calcutta Killings, elaborate arrangements had been made beforehand to ensure the success of the operation. The hinterland was cut off from Noakhali town by breaking the Sanko-s (one-pole bamboo bridges crossing canals and streams in that stream-filled district). The boatmen in country boats were all Muslim. There was no way a Hindu could get away once the killings started. Still, to make doubly sure, Muslim League volunteers guarded all routes leading to railway stations.
There were qualitative differences with the Calcutta Killings. In Calcutta the intention of the marauders appeared to be primarily to loot and kill, or at least maim. In Noakhali the objective seemed to kill selectively, but mainly to rape and convert forcibly and to desecrate Hindu places of worship. The process was begun as usual with the familiar slogans of Nara-e-Takbir, Allaho Akbar, Pakistan Zindabad (Long Live Pakistan), Ladke Lenge Pakistan (Our fight will create Pakistan), Marke Lenge Pakistan (We’ll create Pakistan through killings), Malauner Rokto Chai (We want the blood of infidels). The areas attacked were Ramganj, Begumganj, Lokkhipur, Raipur, Senbag, Sandip, and some of the adjoining areas of Tipperah district. The atrocities then spread to Karpara, Narayanpur, Shaistanagar, Gopairbag, Noakhola, Gobindapur, Nandigram, Dalalbazar, Panchgaon, Sahapur and many other places (iii). The attackers had organized themselves into parties each of which they gave the fancy name of Fouj (Army).  There were several of them, such as Mian’s Fouj (led by Ghulam Sarwar himself), Akbar’s Fouj, Qasem’s Fouj, and so on. The task of these Fouj-s – a few thousand bloodthirsty, Jihad-crazed locals surging forward to kill, rape and forcibly convert a few hopelessly outnumbered victims – would be the envy of any army in the world.
The story of the escape of Nalini Ranjan Mitra (1892-1978), a schoolteacher of the village of Khilpara and a Hindu Mahasabha Party leader, from sure death at the hands of Sarwar’s goons is quite hair-raising and has been described in Dr. Sinha’s Noakhalir Mati o Manush (The Land and the People of Noakhali) in graphic detail. This escape was made possible only by the goodwill and ready wit of two illiterate Muslim youths. Likewise, a number of Hindu lives were saved by Muslims, although their continued security could not be guaranteed, and eventually all of them were forced to leave for Hindu-majority West Bengal. A shortened and abridged version of Dr. Sinha’s account, as heard from Mitra and his son Usha Ranjan Mitra, appearing in Bangla in his book (iv), is given below:
Nalini Ranjan Mitra was at the time teaching at Khilpara (Noakhali) school which he had himself founded. He declared the Puja holidays for the school and came to his home village of Sindurpur (also in Noakhali). Sindurpur was about four miles from Advocate Rajendra Lal Roy Chaudhuri’s house in Karpara. Roy Chaudhuri was the President of the district Hindu Mahasabha. Ghulam Sarwar had a hit list in which Nalini Mitra’s name figured just below that of Roy Chaudhuri. Nalini came to know upon reaching home that the entire extended family of Roy Chaudhuri, some twenty-six of them, had been butchered on October 11. He immediately set out with his wife Shobhonabala and the rest of his family in a boat manned by a boatman he knew very well, bound for the village of Dadpur, where Shobhonabala’s brothers lived and where the bedlam had not yet started. A little while later they heard shouts ‘There, there, Nalini master is running away – catch him’.”
What followed was a nightmare. A bloodthirsty mob came running and caught and fastened their boat. The family was saved from being butchered by the ready wit of a well-meaning Muslim peasant Qadir Ali, who pacified the mob by saying that there was no point in killing Nalini right away, he could be kept incarcerated in his home, until orders from Ghulam Sarwar were received. The family was sent back home.   
That night it rained very heavily and there were no further raids.  The family held a council of war and decided that the only way for Nalini to be saved was for him to go to Nandigram, a nearby village where a police platoon had camped.  This itself was a very tall order, because to go to Nandigram Nalini would have to penetrate the siege thrown by Muslims all around his house. However, there was no alternative. Nalini therefore set out dressed as a Muslim for Nandigram, accompanied by Ramesh Das, a Hindu Barui (paan or betel leaf cultivator) and a Muslim called Ali.  One advantage at the time was that the jute and paddy fields were all flooded and covered with fully grown plants. The jute plants grew at least five feet above the water and provided excellent cover. Ramesh and Ali left Nalini on the edge of a jute field and returned home by daybreak.
  By that time the weather had improved and a raiding party arrived.  They ransacked the house but could not find Nalini.  One of the Muslims who had been laying siege the previous night meanwhile let it out that they had seen Ali, Ramesh and an unknown Muslim that night going out into the rain. The raiders immediately understood that Nalini has escaped and ran for the jute fields.  By that time Nalini was nowhere near Nandigram.  The raiders surrounded the fields and, shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great) started combing the fields. Nalini lay hidden in the jute fields with just the tip of his nose above the water.  In this state he lay still, for more than a day without food, with only the turbid and stinking water of the jute field to drink, bitten black and blue all over by insects, lacerated by the sharp edges of the plants, while the raiders watched for tell-tale signs of movements in the jute plants. Finally in the dead of night he managed to reach the house of the Pal family at the edge of the same village. This family had saved themselves by converting en masse to Islam. The Pals hid Nalini in a loft. The raiders came to search the Pal household a number of times but Nalini managed to stay hidden.  After about four or five days Ramesh and Ali arrived at the Pal household and again in the dead of the night escaped with the half-dead Nalini to the police camp at Nandigram. Upon reaching the camp he fell unconscious, and thus he lay for more than twenty-four hours. Meanwhile the raiders, on a suspicion, killed Ramesh and mercilessly beat up Ali, but still continued with their search until a partially decomposed headless torso was found floating in a jute field.  They then took this to be Nalini’s body and called off their search.
The entire family of Nalini was forced to convert to Islam.  The men were driven to offer Namaz at the local Mosque. The women were placed under purdah (head covering) and forbidden to come out. A group of Moulvis came and changed the names of the family members. A girl called Niru was named Nurjahan, Monu was named Mumtaz.  The women were told to hold one end of a piece of cloth which passed out below the curtain (purdah).  The other end was held by the Moulvis who recited verses from the Quran and the Haadis.
Meanwhile Nalini convinced the police at Nandigram to conduct a raid on Sindurpur to rescue his family.  By this time the Police had been reinforced by a Military Contingent. Some Hindu families who had been forcibly converted into Islam were rescued and taken to Choumuhani, the district headquarters.  They all renounced their conversion to become Hindus again. Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee had meanwhile set up a Relief Committee at Choumuhani and Nalini busied himself in this relief work.
Nalini eventually, like everyone else, moved to West Bengal and became the Headmaster of Nangi High School near Batanagar in the district of South 24-Parganas, in the southern suburb of Calcutta. Nangi, incidentally, was and still is a Muslim majority area. It must also be mentioned that Nalini later got a letter from his Muslim students of Khilpara, regretting the incident and urging him to come back.
   Louis Fischer, the American journalist, describes the Noakhali carnage thus (v): "Mr. Arthur Henderson told the House of Commons on Nov 4, 1946 that the dead in Noakhali and contiguous Tipperah districts had not yet been counted, but will, according to estimates, be low in the three figures category. The Bengal government put the number of casualties at 218 (vi); some families, however, hid their victims out of fear. Over ten thousand houses were looted in the two districts. In Tipperah 9,895 persons were forcibly converted to Islam; in Noakhali inexact data suggested that the number of converts was lot higher. Thousands of Hindu women were abducted and  marmarried to Muslims against their will. . . . to convert Hindu women, Muslims broke their bangles and removed their 'happiness marks' on their foreheads which showed that they were not widows. Hindu men were compelled to grow beards, to twist their loincloths the Muslim instead of the Hindu way, and to recite the Quran. Stone idols were smashed and Hindu temples desecrated. Worst of all, Hindus were made to slaughter their cows if they had any, or in any case to eat beef. It was felt that the Hindu community would not accept back into its fold one who had killed the sacred beast or partaken of its flesh." (vii)
In fact, one of the very few good things to have come out of the unmitigated evil of the carnage was the fact that the Hindus who had been forced to eat beef, or Hindu women who had been raped or brutalized by Muslims, were indeed accepted back into the Hindu fold. Rabindra Nath Datta had journeyed to villages in the far interior of the district with Gandhi's entourage. Here he had found Hindus in such a stage of demoralization as to be reduced to the level of animals. Some of them had been tied up and incarcerated in huts. Most of the young, and even some middle-aged women had been raped and brutalized, some of them in the presence of the local Muslim womenfolk. Some men, including little children, had been killed. A common method of disposing of the latter was to toss them into a pond. All of them had been forcibly converted. Datta asked them to come with him so that they could be rehabilitated. Most of them were very skeptical about such rehabilitation as they had been made to eat beef and their womenfolk had been touched by the Muslims. Datta was prepared for this and had carried several copies of a booklet published by the Ramakrishna Mission. The booklet quoted a number of venerable Hindu religious and scriptural authorities emphatically saying that people subjected to forcible conversion, molestation and eating of forbidden food could come back to the Hindu fold without any difficulty. With this he had persuaded them to come with him (in this connection see Syama Prasad Mookerjee's remarks below and endnote on Prayashchitta). The local Muslims did not object, because the Hindus' departure would mean their property being available for grabbing. (See Datta’s interview on YouTube channel ispad1947 of Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project.)
Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee toured the affected areas of Noakhali and Tipperah districts and made a statement in Bangla which is quoted in Dr. Sinha’s Noakhalir Mati o Manush (viii).  A freely translated version of the same is given below.
“What happened in Noakhali and Tipperah have certain features which have no parallels in the history of communal riots in India. The Carnage at Noakhali was, of course, not a communal riot in any sense.  It was a planned and concerted attack by the majority on the minority (the name for this in Eastern Europe, when practiced against the Jews, was ‘Pogrom’ – Author).  The central purpose of this attack was to effect mass looting, conversion and total desecration of Hindu temples and deities.  Killing was mainly for the influential Hindus and for those who resisted the rampage. Rape and kidnapping of Hindu women was an essential part of the plan.  From the slogans used in the attacks it is clear that the design was to cleanse the district totally of Hindus, and to establish Pakistan. The attackers were all Muslim League supporters and knew that it was their own Government which was ruling at Calcutta.  This had emboldened them in their task to a very considerable extent.
  It is not a fact that this pogrom was the act of a few hoodlums or that they had all came from somewhere far away. Practically all the atrocities were committed by local Muslims on their Hindu neighbors and the Muslim population of the district was generally sympathetic to what they were doing.  There were a few exceptions among the Muslims who had managed to save Hindu lives. Their number is negligible. The Hindus who had been saved in this manner but who had not been able to run away have all been forcibly converted.  Those who ran away were looted of all their belongings. That such a carnage was in the offing  had been brought to the notice of the district administration repeatedly and well in time, but the British and Suhrawardy administration took no steps against the persons who were inciting hatred. These administrators proved themselves to be totally unfit to hold their posts. So long as they continued in their posts it was very difficult to restore peace in the district. After such a calamity only some fifty persons in Noakhali and a few in Tipperah were arrested. Thousands of people ran away from their homes with only the clothes on their backs. They were housed at camps at Comilla, Chandpur, Agartala and a few other places.  The total number of such destitute would be somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 in that small land mass.
“Apart from these people another 50,000 or so are still marooned in areas where the administration has no say.  These people needed to be rescued immediately.  They were all been forcibly converted.  Their belongings were looted, their spirit was broken. They were hardly human beings any more. Their names have been changed, their women have been ravished.  They were being forced to wear Muslim clothes. The men have to attend mosques.  The women are given religious instructions at home by Moulvis (Islamic preachers.)  All steps were being taken to ensure that they were totally cut off from their moorings and made to surrender completely to their tormentors.
Visitors said, “they have lost the courage to even protest. They dare not meet any Hindus from outside who come to visit them unless they are with armed guards. Handbills are being printed in the names of influential Hindus in both their Hindu and Muslim names which say that they have willfully embraced Islam. They are being forced to write to the Sub-divisional Officers to that effect. They can leave their villages only with the written permission of the local Muslim leaders.” A few of them managed to meet Shyama Prasad at Choumuhani near Noakhali town and told their heartrending tales.
“The immediate task at hand is to rescue the minorities who are still marooned, and completely in the clutches of the majority community. Until recently the rioters had kept the villages inaccessible by cutting off the means of communication. This has now partially been set right by the Military, but just access is not enough. Our volunteers will have to visit the villages to restore the morale and confidence of the thousands of Hindus, rescuers observed.
“It is a welcome development that the Military have decided to visit each and every village. They must remove certain officials from these villages, failing which they will find it very difficult to do any work. Punitive taxes must also be imposed. Such taxes were imposed on Hindus alone during the 1942 (Quit India) movement. This time punitive taxes upon the Muslims alone would be in order as they have not been able to give protection to the Hindu minority. When I discussed this aspect with officials I was told that there were a lot of Muslims who had helped the Hindus. I propose that if any Muslim can produce sufficient proof that he had helped the Hindus then he may be exempted. The destitute Hindus must be compensated from the money  realized by way of punitive taxes and also from general funds.
“Rehabilitation must be taken in hand immediately. Harvesting time is near. Those who have been ousted from their homes may not get their share of the harvest, in which case they will have nothing to eat. In order to be rehabilitated the Hindus must be made to feel secure. They must be housed in temporary camps for the present until their homes and temples in their villages are rebuilt and their deities are reinstalled. This alone will restore their morale.
“I do not accept that so many brothers and sisters of ours who had been forced out of the Hindu fold have left that fold. They were born Hindus, they are still Hindus, and they shall die Hindus. I have said this to all and sundry: there cannot be any question of any Prayashchitta (atonement for sins  [xi]) for them to come back to the Hindu fold. There shall be no talk of any Prayashchitta (confession of guilt).
“Any woman rescued from a disturbed area and found to have been forcibly married to a Muslim shall go back to her family. All unmarried women and girls should be given in marriage as far as possible. Hindu society must get out of this horror with a clear sight and a view of the future. Else, its future is dark.
“I have constituted committees for rescue, assistance, and rehabilitation at Noakhali and Choumuhani. Ten groups of five volunteers each, together with armed escorts, will shortly leave for the affected areas.
“I make this statement only upon observing a small part of East Bengal. What we have seen and heard have no parallels in civilised society. There are disturbances and tension in many other parts of Bengal, including Calcutta. The administration has practically collapsed, for which the Governor and the Provincial cabinet are squarely responsible. We have warned them repeatedly, but with no effect. We can clearly foresee that lawlessness will get worse if these people continue in the administration.
“In this hour of its peril Hindu society will have to realise something very important: it must stand unified, or else it will perish. It is perhaps God’s will that from this destruction the reawakening of Hindus will begin.
“We are not to forget, at this hour of darkness, that we are 30 million Hindus living in Bengal. If we organize ourselves, and if at least some of us dare to brave all odds with resolution and without fear then we shall be able to vanquish our enemies and restore our rightful position in our motherland”. 
The Noakhali carnage came to be widely known because of Gandhi’s famous visit to the district. Gandhi arrived at Choumuhani on November 7, 1946, almost a month after the carnage began and stayed in Noakhali till February 1947. Even before this, as information about the atrocities began to trickle out, well-meaning people from all over Bengal flocked to the district, wanting ‘to do something’, generally to give relief to the affected families. Of these the efforts of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee have already been mentioned. Mrs. Ashoka Gupta (x), wife of Saibal Gupta of the ICS (British Imperial Civil Service), was at that time at Chittagong, quite close to Noakhali. Nellie Sengupta (xi) was at that time also at Chittagong and convened a meeting on October 26 to organize women’s teams for relief work at Noakhali in which Ashoka joined. A number of leaders accompanied Gandhi, others came along to join him. Among the prominent people who congregated in remote Noakhali then there were Acharya J.B.Kripalani and his wife (and a prominent congresswoman in her own right) Sucheta Kripalani, Sarat Chandra Bose, Surendra Mohan Ghosh, Muriel Lister,  A.V. Thakkarbapa, and others. Among these Ashoka Gupta has recorded some of the reminiscences in a short volume entitled Noakhalir Durjoger Diney (During the Dark Days in Noakhali) (xii).
Descriptions of atrocities recorded by Ashoka Gupta fall in the familiar pattern: pillage, rape, forcible conversion, occasional killing. A Hindu widow’s only means of livelihood was a cow. Her house was burnt down, the cow was slaughtered, and she was forced to eat the beef. Among the victims a large number of people were from the depressed classes – known then as Harijan and today in India as Scheduled Castes or Dalits. A.V. Thakkarbapa, a longtime adherent of Gandhi, was the General Secretary of the Delhi branch of the Harijan Sevak Sangh (Association for Helping Oppressed Castes), and had previous experience in relief work. His experience in the villages of Char Mandal and Char Ruhita have been recorded by Mrs. Ashoka Gupta (xiii). Most of the Hindu houses in the two villages had been either torched or looted. Two thousand people had been forcibly converted, six girls forcibly married to Muslims, one person was killed. Thakkarbapa noticed that even six weeks after the atrocities ended people still wanted to flee their villages. A major reason for their insecurity was the attitude of the Police Stations. The police would either not record complaints or would threaten or harass those who came to complain.
Ashoka Gupta’s personal experience (xiv) was identical. Months after the atrocities, the Hindus were still deathly scared to speak out. As she was crossing a river in a ferryboat, a Hindu pointed at the Muslim boatman wearing a Red Cross armband and whispered that this very man was the leader of a bloodthirsty mob. She had somehow convinced a tormented young Hindu couple to come to Lokkhipur police station to record a complaint. The wife pulled a long ghomta (xv) over her face and said, between sobs, that even two months after the riots were over, two or three Muslims came to their home every night, took her away and returned her early in the morning. The police officer asked for their names. The husband replied that telling their names would mean sure death for him. Was there any other way in which they could be saved from this unbearable state? Of course there was none, and the couple had to flee their village.
At Mojupur village two orphaned babies, a boy and a girl, were being brought up by their Mama (mother’s brother) and his wife, a childless and well-to-do couple. Their house was first looted, then they were asked to convert. When they refused they were set on fire alive, along with their belongings. Meanwhile news had reached Lokkhipur Thana (police Station), where the District Magistrate McInnerny (xvi) happened to be present.  He rushed to Mojupur with his force. The couple by then were near their end. The last words they said to McInnerny was to save the two babies. McInnerny handed over the babies to Ashoka. She sent the boy to Prabartak Sangha (social organization) in Chittagong, but had to send the girl away to Comilla (xvii).
Sucheta Kripalani (xviii) once brought to the notice of McInnerny an incident of a kidnapped Hindu girl living as a daughter-in-law in a Muslim household. McInnerny met the family with his police force in the presence of Sucheta. The head of the family said that this was a marriage out of love between his son and the girl, there had been no force used. McInnerny sent for the girl. She seemed very broken and unable to talk, but she told McInnerny by gestures that she was here of her own free will. Sucheta asked McInnerny to take the girl aside and question her. McInnerny said that was hardly necessary, since this seemed to be  a simple case of love followed by marriage. Sucheta burst out “Please Mr. McInnerny, please give me one case of love affair between the communities from 10th October to this day, after the riots. This is not a case of love marriage. Take evidence in a separate room so that the girl can speak the truth”. McInnerny relented and took her to a room separately. As soon as the girl was alone with McInnerny she fell on his feet howling, begging to be rescued. At Sucheta’s insistence McInnerny had to take the girl away immediately (xix).     
According to eyewitness Mr. Rabindra Nath Datta, Ghulam Sarwar had it put out that whoever could rape Sucheta Kripalani would be honored with the title of 'Ghazi' (Hero). For this reason Sucheta carried a capsule of cyanide on her while she was in Noakhali. (Incidentally after independence of India Sucheta became the elected Chief Minister of the largest Indian state, Uttar Pradesh.)
Datta had further heard that Rai Sahib Nagendra Kumar Sur, a leading lawyer of the Noakhali district bar, was kidnapped, taken to a lonely spot, and asked to dig his own grave. He had the guts to ask his tormentors why he should oblige them, since he was going to be killed anyway. They replied that if Sur dug the grave he would be beheaded in one stroke, but if he refused he would be tortured to death. Sur is said to have obliged them. His son Prasanta Kumar Sur fled to West Bengal, became a prominent Communist politician, Mayor of Calcutta and a Minister in the Government of West Bengal. This author had occasion to meet him and his son several times. At no point of time, either in public or in private, did he mention the death of his father. In this connection the reasons for Hindus to hide the atrocities committed on them are relevant, and these have been described and discussed in Chapter 12 of my book “My People Uprooted.”
Ashoka did not find the slightest signs of remorse among the local Muslim population. To them Gandhi and the entourage had come to help only the Hindus. A Moulvi told her ‘You have come simply to help the Hindus. What do you care about the poor Muslims’ (xx)?  Ashoka retorted that they had given sarees to poor Muslim women who did not seem to have one intact saree to wear, but the Moulvi was not impressed. At one point of time, near Dalalbazar, their Jeep got stuck in the soft soil of the new road embankment built out of ‘test relief’ funds. The Muslim workmen who were still working on that stretch of road refused to help out (xxi). Bakul Guha Roy (later Mrs. Ganguly), a Hindu woman social worker and an associate of Ashoka, was on the way to Noakhali, and at Chandpur steamer station, in order to get to know the rural folk, went ahead to meet some rural families (all Muslims) along the riverbank. They were roundly abused, and generally received very badly. Prafulla Chandra Ghosh (longtime associate of Gandhi, the first Chief Minister of West Bengal 1947-48, and again 1968-69) who was escorting them told them, after they came back crestfallen, that he had let them go only to let them find out for themselves what sort of odds they were up against (xxii).
One small voice of conscience heard among the Muslim Leaguers must be mentioned. This was that of Mr. Shamsuddin Ahmed, the Labour Minister in Suhrawardy's ministry. In one of Gandhi's prayer meetings at Choumuhani on November 7, 1946 he roundly condemned the misdeeds of the Muslim goons, and has been reported in Sinha's Noakhalir Mati o Manush (xxiii). Parts of his speech made on the occasion, freely translated, are quoted below.
". . . . I have myself toured the areas and spoken to the affected people. There is no denying that over a wide area,  stretching from Ramganj to parts of Chandpur subdivision of Tipperah to Begumganj, there has been widespread violence and torture practiced on Hindus. Hindus have been forcibly converted to Islam, they have been forced to wear lungis – sarong – and round caps, their names have been changed, their women have been ravished. . . . . It has been said that the poor Muslims avenged their persecution by the Hindu Zamindars. If that is so then why was it necessary to convert them forcibly? In Noakhali there was no killing by the communities of each other; there was just the killing of the minority Hindus by the majority Muslims."
Addressing the Hindus Mr. Shamsuddin said “There is no denying that you have been subjected to Zulm (or Julum, meaning use of force to achieve an improper objective). Islam does not teach Zulm. No one can be converted to Islam by Zulm. Those who have been forcibly converted have not really been converted at all. . . . It is the duty of every right-thinking Muslim to persuade the Hindus of his village to come back and get rehabilitated there". This speech of Mr. Shamsuddin was very adversely commented upon by the pro-Muslim League newspaper Azad.
Abul Mansur Ahmad has disposed of the entire sordid chapter of the Noakhali carnage in just one line, admitting the slaughter of Hindus there, but simultaneously saying that this was a reaction to the overwhelmingly larger losses that the Muslims suffered in the Calcutta killings (xxiv).  
How did those in faraway New Delhi view the incidents in remote, inaccessible Noakhali? V.P. Menon, considered to be one of the architects of the transfer of power from British to Indian or Pakistani hands, writes: “In about the second week of October 1946, there was large scale outbreak of lawlessness and hooliganism in the Noakhali and Tipperah districts of East Bengal. Large forces of armed police and military had to be employed to control the situation. The loss of life was not great, but the loss of property was considerable. Referring to these disturbances, a prominent politician, who himself hailed from East Bengal reported that whereas the lawlessness had been given the colour of pure goondaism (thuggery), it was in fact not so; it was an organised attack engineered by the Muslim League and carried out with the connivance of administrative officials (this is what would have been termed today as Human Rights Violation – author). The attacks, he said, were made by people armed with guns and other deadly weapons; roads were dug up and other means of communication cut off to prevent ingress and egress; canals had been blocked and strategic points were being guarded by armed insurgents. Two of the Muslim League’s nominee to the interim Government were openly indulging in belligerent speeches. One of them went so far as to declare that the events in East Bengal were but part of the all-India battle for Pakistan” (xxv).
Gandhi's trip to Noakhali brought the obscure area to the front page of every newspaper of the country, and is still celebrated as one of the great journeys undertaken by the apostle of peace to restore sanity among his fellow human beings. Now the time has come to ask a few critical questions. What did Gandhi attempt? And with what success?
His mission was to restore confidence in the Hindus so that they could come back to their villages, and his method, according to him, was abiding, endless love for one’s fellow men. He chalked up a very punishing schedule for himself in visiting remote villages to hold prayer meetings there and kept it, moving over the very difficult terrain on foot at an incredible speed from strangely named  hamlets like Toomchar and Qazirkhil to Atakhora and Lamchar. He had told Ashoka Gupta and others at the very beginning of their project: “Bear no ill-will towards anyone. Work without fear, mix intimately with the villagers. Success will come your way only if you remain completely fearless, stay on the path of truth, inspire confidence in the weak. The rioters will respect you only when they see true fearlessness in you, not any fake bravado (xxvi).
Louis Fischer, the American journalist who described Gandhi as something of a combination of Jesus Christ and Tammany Hall (xxvii), had covered the Noakhali carnage quite extensively in his biography of Gandhi (xxviii). He described the journey of the Mahatma through Noakhali as a pilgrimage of penance, in which the pilgrim wears no shoes. Sometimes hostile elements, obviously Muslim Leaguers, strewed broken glass, brambles and filth in his path. He was once sitting on the floor of a hut in the midst of Muslims and discoursing on the beauties of non-violence. Sucheta Kripalani passed him a note saying that the man on his right had killed a number of Hindus. The Mahatma smiled and went on speaking. In the village of Palla, on January 27th, he was asked "What should a woman do if she is attacked? Should she commit suicide"? His prescription was in the affirmative (xxix).
Not one word about bringing the guilty to book. Instead he was advising rape victims to kill themselves!
Did Gandhi succeed in his mission? The simple answer seems to be a big NO. Can anyone succeed in convincing a large populace that they did wrong upon the minorities, when what they did is sanctioned by their religion in the name of Jihad? His central purpose was to get the Hindus back to their villages in Noakhali where they would, if he had his way, live happily ever after in perfect harmony with the majority community, the Muslims. Did it happen? No, of course not, the good intentions and deeds of a large number of sensible Muslims notwithstanding. In 1946 while he was touring the district, Muslim Leaguers en masse excreted on the route that he was due to take, and also spread glass shards, nails and similar objects to make his journey difficult. Today, in 2017, seventy years after partition, and forty-six years after the formation of independent Bangladesh, there are practically very few Hindus left in what used to be the district of Noakhali in British India. The number of Hindus in that Noakhali used to be 411,291 as against 1,608,337 Muslims, namely 18 per cent (xxxi), while the percentage of Hindus in the land mass today known as Bangladesh was around 29 per cent. Today it is less than 5% according to 2011 census, taking together the present-day Noakhali, Feni and Lokkhipur districts (formerly one district) of Bangladesh. The proportion of Hindus in the whole of Bangladesh is currently around 9%.
  Therefore Gandhi, the apostle of peace, advocate of universal love and brotherhood failed and Ghulam Sarwar, the sectarian, murderous loudmouth, succeeded. This is not an isolated case of failure. Gandhi succeeded in packing the British off, but failed in every case where it was his intention to establish Hindu-Muslim amity. He could not prevent the recurrence of riots that rocked the country since the 1920s, culminating in the Punjab bloodbath of 1947-8. He could not prevent the partition of the country nor the expulsion of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Christians from what became Pakistan – total and one-time expulsion in the case of West Pakistan, partial and gradual in the case of the East. All that he could prevent was the reciprocal expulsion of Muslims from India. This is being mentioned as a matter of  fact, without comment on the right and wrong of it. He failed in convincing the Muslims, where they were in a majority, that it was their duty to protect the Hindu minority. And he failed in all these cases because he was in gross error in regard to the basic nature of Hindu-Muslim relationship in India.
What was Gandhi’s error? The error was twofold: first, not being able to appreciate the significance of Jihad in the Islamic code, or having indulged in wishful thinking about it ; and secondly, inability to foresee what a superbly skillful and powerful politician like Jinnah could do, and actually did, with the Muslim masses by wielding this aspect of the Islamic code, and the powerlessness of his own code of Ahimsa, love and non-violence, or passive resistance in the face of Jinnah’s brand of militant Islamist politics (see Chapter 11 for further treatment of this aspect). The Indian habit of deification of a great man has not let the nation comprehend the enormity of Gandhi’s failure. Perhaps Gandhi alone understood it, because he was truly a great politician, and he died a very sad man in partitioned India.

(1) An abridged version of a chapter of Roy’s book, My People Uprooted and Ja Chhilo Aamar Desh (How was my homeland [Bangladesh])


i. Spoken to J.B.Kripalani, husband of Sucheta Kripalani (see later for her struggle in arranging relief for the Noakhali victims). Kripalani says he felt like hitting Burrows, but restrained himself. See India's March to Freedom, by D.P.Mishra, Har-Anand Publications, 2001, 1st Ed., p. 566.
ii. Noakhalir Mati o Manush, ibid., pp. 95-96.
iii. ibid. p.120-122
iv. Noakhalir Mati o Manush, , ibid. pp. 129-138.
v. The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, ibid., p. 450.
vi. Other sources indicate the number of Hindus killed is between 220 and 5,000, See Sachi G. Dastidar. ”Empire’s Last Casualty….” Firma KLM, Kolkata, 2008
vii.  According to historian Taj ul Hashmi, the number of missing Hindu girls and wives may have been into tens of thousands, see Dastidar, “Empire’s Last Casualty….”
viii. Noakhalir…. ibid. pp. 122-126.
ix. A very unfortunate custom prevailing in Hindu society until recently was that anyone who converted out of Hinduism, even if he was forced to do so, could not ordinarily come back to the fold. Prayashchitta was one way of doing this. Return to Hinduism is today actively administered by several organisations, among them the Arya Samaj and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
x. See Sachi G. Dastidar’s “Empire’s Last Casualty…..” “Noakhalir Durjoger Diney” (Bangla, During the Dark Days in Noakhali) by Ashoka Gupta, Naya Udyog, Calcutta, 1st Ed. 1999.
xi. Nellie Sengupta (1986-1973) British-born wife of ‘Deshapriya’ Jatindra Mohon Sengupta, Congress President, 1932.  Nellie herself was the President of the Congress in 1933 when the party had been declared illegal. She stayed on at Chittagong in Pakistan even after partition, and worked for the Prabartak Sangha.
xii.  “Noakhalir Durjoger Diney” (Bangla, During the Dark Days in Noakhali) by Ashoka Gupta, Naya Udyog, Calcutta, 1st Ed. 1999.
xiii. ibid. p.33.
xiv. ibid. p. 34.
xv.  Ghomta (Ghunghat in Hindi) is the end of the sari made into a hood to cover the head of a woman for modesty. Once very common among Bengalis of both varieties, it has practically gone out of use among Hindu women, especially urban women, in West Bengal. Muslim women however still use it because of their religious compulsion to cover their hair.
xvi. McInnerny, E.F., Irishman, ICS Officer, District Magistrate, Noakhali 1945-46. He stayed on in Pakistan after independence. He was fluent not only in standard Bangla, but also in the dialects of Noakhali and Chittagong, which most Bengalis from outside these districts do not follow.
xvii. ibid. p.37
 xviii. Sucheta Kripalani (1908-1974) Congresswoman, Gandhian, Bengali-born wife of Acharya J.B.Kripalani. Sucheta was an irrepressible character, and has been described as such very fondly by Ashoka Gupta. She was the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 1963-67.
xix. ibid. pp. 62-63.
xx. ibid. p. 14.
xxi. ibid. p. 20.
xxii. ibid. p. 73.
xxiii. Noakhalir Mati o Manush, ibid. p.127-129.
xxiv. Amar Dekha Rajneetir Ponchas Bochhor, ibid., p. 198.
xxv. The Transfer of Power in India, ibid. p. 318.
xxvi. Noakhalir Durjoger Diney, ibid. p. 13.
xxvii. Tammany Hall is the headquarters of the Democratic Party in New York City, supposed to be the abode of wheeling-dealing politicians.
xxviii. The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, ibid.
xxix. ibid., p. 450-454.
xxx. Jihad, Holy war upon infidels, the duty of every Muslim. 'A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Mohammed' (Dictionary of Islam by Thomas Patrick Hughes, 1999 Edition, p. 243). It has been argued that Jihad does not condone atrocities upon innocent unarmed non-Muslims, that it necessarily includes an inner struggle that every Muslim must wage within himself to cleanse himself of all that is impure, and so on (based probably on the distinction made by Sufi writers between al-Jihad'ul Akbar, the greater warfare against one's own lusts, and al-Jihad'ul Asghar, the lesser warfare, against infidels, ibid.). The duty of religious war (which all commentators agree, is a duty extending to all times) is, however, quite explicitly laid down in the following verses of the Qur'an, and no such fine distinctions are made there: Surahs ix, 5,6; ix, 29; iv, 76-79; ii, 214, 215; viii,39,42. The Traditions are equally explicit on this score -- see Sahihu Muslim, Sahihu Bukhari. The academic Sufi interpretations are, it is submitted, rather unimportant to hapless non-Muslims who have been the victims of Muslim mobs baying for their blood in the name of Jihad.
xxxi. Noakhalir Durjoger Diney ibid. p. 76.

Abul Mansur Ahmad, Amar Dekha Rajneeetir Ponchas Bochhor (Witnessing of 50 years of politics), Khosroz Kitab Mahal, 15 Banglabazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1999
Louis Fischer,  The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, Harper & Row, New York, 1983
Ashoka Gupta, Noakhalir Durjoger Diney,” (During the Dark Days in Noakhali), Naya Udyog, Calcutta, 1st Ed. 1999;
V P Menon, The Transfer of Power in India, Orient Longman, Chennai, 1999 
D.P.Mishra, India's March to Freedom,  Har-Anand Publications, Delhi, 2001, 1st Ed;
Dr Dinesh Sinha, Noakhalir Mati o Manush (People and land of Noakhali), ,Tuhina Prakashani, Kolkata, 1991

** Mr. Tathagata Roy is a writer, author of numerous books and articles on Bengal Partition, accomplished Engineer, and now serves as the Governor of the Indian State of Tripura.


Partition and Discriminatory laws

52 Years of the Enemy (Vested) Property Act in Bangladesh

Sitangshu Guha**
Columnist, Journalist and Activist

  Bangladesh’s Enemy Property or Vested Property Act is a black law, instrumental only in the persecution of the indigenous Hindu minority. The law was enacted originally by the Pakistani military regime in 1965, but has been amended by successive post-independent governments of Bangladesh. Its evil effects are oppressive to religious minorities, especially the Hindu population whose human rights are violated by this law. Almost all Hindu minority families have been victimized by this law.
The law also violates the following sections of Bangladesh Constitution:
- Article 11: Democracy and human rights;
- Article 13: Principles of ownership;
- Article 27: Equality before law; and
- Article 28: Discrimination on grounds of religion, creed and caste.

 Abusing this law, the government has seized almost three million acres of Hindu land (US States Department statistics) and leased them to Muslims. Indeed, the very application of the term ‘enemy’ to a ‘collective minority’ is a violation of democratic principles. In April 2001, the then government passed an Act ending the tenure of the repressive law. But in October 2002, the newly elected government passed an amendment to that bill, which virtually shelved the return of the confiscated properties to the real owners. There is hardly any Hindu family that has not been affected either directly or indirectly by the Enemy Property turned Vested Property Act. The number of effected members is increasing daily due the non-stop abuse of this law. Moreover, the whole process of handling the vested lands has created huge corruption in the country.

This law is worse than apartheid! It should have been be repealed long ago. 20 million minority citizens of Bangladesh have been waiting anxiously for the last 52 years to see the end of this law, but it remains on the statute book because the huge vested properties have created an entrenched vested interest! The government and society must give a big push to repeal it completely, else Bangladesh cannot claim to be a civilized nation. The law is a curse for the country and our motherland should be free of this curse.

Timeline of the Enemy Property Act:

1965: Government of Pakistan passed an executive order titled “Enemy Property (Custody and Regulation) Order II of 1965” under the provisions of Emergency powers and the “Defense of Pakistan Rules” on Sept. 9, 1965.

1968:  The Supreme Court of Pakistan considered it a pure political issue asked the Government of Pakistan to explain viewpoint on the said Act in 1968 [21 DLR (SC) page 20].

1969: Government of Pakistan promulgated a new Ordinance, the Enemy Property (Continuance of Emergency Provision) Ordinance 1969 (Ordinance No. I of 1969). Field Marshall Ayub Khan handed over power to Pakistan Army Chief General Yahya Khan who promulgated Martial Law on 25 March 1969 and cancelled the then constitution of Pakistan on April 1, 1969.  Notwithstanding cancellation of the constitution, to continue the Enemy Property Ordinance, a new Ordinance was incorporated retro-effective from March 25, 1969, which kept alive the most discriminatory law against Hindus till the formal declaration of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971.
1971: Independence was declared on March 26, 1971, and the proclamation of independence and formation of a provisional government of Bangladesh took place on April 10, 1971 in Mujibnagar, the temporary capital of the new country. The same day, the “Laws of Continuance Enforcement Order, 1971” was promulgated to keep in force all Pakistani laws in force in the then East Pakistan till March 25, 1971. Thus, Ordinance No. I of 1969, which was inconsistent with the spirit of the proclamation of independence of Bangladesh, remained alive in the new-born nation.

1972: Immediately after the war was over, the Government of Bangladesh on March 26, 1972 enforced the “Vesting of Property and Assets Order, 1972” through Order No. 29 of 1972. 

  1974: This order brought together the properties left behind by Pakistanis in  Bangladesh and the erstwhile enemy properties of Pakistan in a single category. Then, on March 23, 1974, the Government of Bangladesh passed the Enemy Property (Continuance of) Emergency Provisions (Repeal) Act, Act XLV of 1974, repealing Ordinance I of 1969. But despite repealing Ordinance I of 1969, all enemy properties and firms vested with the Custodian of Enemy Property in the then East Pakistan remained vested in the Government of Bangladesh as “vested property.” At the same time, the Government of Bangladesh enacted the “Vested and Non-resident Property (Administration) Act” (Act XLVI of 1974). 

1976: To help plots to grab Hindu lands by Muslims, in November 1976 the Government of Bangladesh repealed previous Act No. XLVI of 1974 by Ordinance XCII of 1976 with retrospective effect from the date of the enactment amended of Act XCIII of 1976. 

1977-1990: Military dictator Gen. Zia-ur Rahman and later Gen. H.M. Ershad made the situation worse. Although Gen. Ershad declared that no new property would be declared as vested property and that properties already enlisted as vested would no longer be disposed of, the opposite happened. During these two Generals’ tenure, the abuse of this law made hundreds of thousands of Hindus homeless; they were forced to migrate to India, causing a major decline of minority population in Bangladesh.  

1991: Bangladesh Nationalist Party won the election of 1991 and throughout its tenure until mid-1996 did not touch the Vested Property Act, which remained on the statute book as it was.  

2001: The Government led by the Awami League took five years to place and pass a bill in parliament on April 11, 2001, the “Restoration of Vested Property Act, 2001” (Act No. 16 of 2001) near the end of its tenure. But the Act did not much help provide solutions to affected Hindus, and made some issues more complicated because of inherent defects. 

2002: In the October 2001 election, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led 4-party coalition formed the government, including Islamist elements. This government passed an amendment bill in parliament to the “Restoration of Vested Property Act 2001” on Nov. 26, 2002, which virtually shelved the return of confiscated properties to Hindus. This amendment allows Government unlimited time to return vested properties which are to remain under the control of Deputy Commissioners until a tribunal settles ownership. The amendment gives Deputy Commissioners the right to lease such properties until they are returned to their owners. 

2009: The government was trying to reform the law, but the victim religious minorities want the law repealed completely and effectively.

No reform: repeal enemy property

On Sept. 5, 2009, Sangbad, a national daily published from Dhaka, wrote in its editorial ‘No reform, Repeal Enemy Property’. The newspaper questioned the rationale of the Enemy Property Act being reformed, argued, ‘we are doubtful about promises made by the government’ and wrote, ‘we expect that government should completely repeal the unconstitutional Vested Property Law instead of revision. This will free the affected people from harassment and deprival.’    

 2009-2017: Awami League came to power again. After marathon discussion and controversy, it passed “Vested Property Return (2nd amendment) Act 2013” and it was published in the government gazette on 10 October 2013 (46 number law of 2013). From 10 July 2013 to 30 September 2014 government of Bangladesh had published four gazette notification on this law, those are: 30 Sept 2014/ vested property return (2nd amendment) Act; 14 September 2014/ vested property return special appeal tribunal establishment gazette; 02 February 2014/ vested property return special appeal tribunal gazette and 10 October 2013/ vested property return tribunal gazette notification.

One may think government is keen to solve the problem, but it is 2017, not a single property was released to its owner and doubt prevails that, will it happen ever?
Bangladesh Minority Rights: Vision 2021
Bangladesh government declared ‘Vision 2021’ by which time the country would be a digital nation. Where will religious minorities stand then? In 2021, Bangladesh will be 50 years old. With the growth of the country, will minorities also grow? If the trend of last 52 years continues and the Enemy Property Act also continues, minorities will have no hope. So, how does the Enemy Property Act fit in with a Digital Bangladesh? 

Appeal :
We appeal on behalf of the indigenous religious minorities, tribal and indigenous peoples of Bangladesh to the whole world community including political parties and government of Bangladesh, to come forward to uphold the basic rights and dignity of one of the most destitute populations (around 20 million) and save the Hindus from the atrocities of a black law called the “Enemy/ Property Act” which turned into the “Vested Property Act”. This is the moral responsibility of the world community to save a people with a rich civilization and cultural heritage from being made extinct.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: The Vested Property Act is a controversial law in Bangladesh that allows the Government to confiscate (Hindu) property from individuals it deems as an enemy of the state. Before the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, it was known as the Enemy Property Act and is still referred to as such in common parlance. The act is criticized as a tool for appropriating the lands of the Hindu minority population.

Professor Abul Barakat, An inquiry into causes and consequences of deprivation of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh through the Vested Property Act Prip Trust, Dhaka, 2007.
Barakat, Abul, Shafik uz Jaman, Mohammad Shahnawaz Khan, Avijit Poddar, Saiful Haq and M. Taher Uddin, Bangladeshey Shangkhyaloghy Hindu Sampradayer Banchana: Orpito Sampattir Sanghey Basabash (Discrimination of Minority Hindu Community of Bangladesh: Living with Vested Property), Pathak Samabesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh; 2009
Professor Abul Barakat, Deprivation of Hindu Community in Bangladesh: Living with Vested Property at the USA State Department/ USCIRF
Datta, Santosh, Jibon Manthan (Recollection of life), Jyoti Laser Point, Kolkata 700 009; 2011
Malakar, Prodip, Bangladeshey sampradayik rajneeti o sanghkhyaloghu nirjatan (The Communal Politics and Minority Oppression in Bangladesh), Bohota Prokasona, New York; 2006
 Pramanik, Bimal, Paschimbange Ashanisanket: Bangladesh thekey hindu-bitaran O musalman onuprabesh (Dark signal over West Bengal: Hindu ethnic cleansing and Muslim illegal migration), G.C. Modak Publisher, Kolkata, 2008
Rakshit, Sree Mridul Kanti, Law of Vested (Enemy) Properties in Bangladesh, Vol.  I, M. K. Publishers, Chittagong, 1985
_____, Law of Vested (Enemy) Properties, Vol. II, Chittagong, 1991
Roy, Tathagata, Ja Chhilo Amar Desh (A tale of exodus of minorities from Bangladesh), Mitra & Ghosh Publishers, Kolkata; B.S. Aswin 1423 (2016)
Tirvedi, Rabindranath, Murder, Mayhem & Politics in Bangladesh, Kakoli Prakashan, Dhaka; 2010

**Mr. Guha is a noted freelance journalist of Bangladesh, a human rights activist of pro-independence movement, now living in New York City. He is a columnist of a Dhaka, Bangladesh daily.

Story of  Partition and Change

There is No More Malo Para (i) in Our Village (ii)

Badrun Nahar**
Author, Educationist and TV Producer
The river Bhubaneswar was lying there with both of the villages on the either sides of his chest. HatKrishnapur and CharBishnapur. It was so many days ago, now there is field full of sand, field of nut. When the water got down creating a char (sand-bank), some cried with their heart out, some were happy to see the silvery bank! These are told by the people. Nevertheless, it is true that people had a scarcity of fishes. And people understand that it is because the water of Bhubaneshwar has turned into sand, but what God it did? Everything is in the fate! Now sell the nuts and send the sand to the cities. Thus the business grows! The boatmen and the fishermen have nothing for them. When? How? Does one remember it at all? All one can remember is newer fights, the change of the aisle borders in the lawsuit.
While going through the mist carrying wooden pole borne on his shoulder Zayed Ali feels low. He has started for Krishnapur with only three pots of saps! The pots are not even full, so they denote splashing sound and moves heavily. He is used to carry even more weight on his shoulder still he was walking bending under this light-weight! Does the spine only bent by the weight only? This does not cross his mind, yet he feels low. As the reason for that are not limited to one or two, but numerous. However, the sap only comes to his mind. How much sap is he carrying!  He used to carry three pots in one end and 3 pots on the other end of the pole. He would finish selling in CharBishnupur very early in the morning and then he would carry the sap to Krishnapur. Folks from the houses would call him to buy the sap. In spite of the sap being turbid because of the fog, people would drink it. People would drink it even though they are shivering in the cold. They would drink in full glasses dipping rice popcorns and sometimes would eat making solid payesh, the rice pudding. He would work as tree climber – gachi – for at least fifteen houses at that time. There were not even fifteen trees found in CharBishnupur that time. He was not alone, there was ChiruGachi, MotiGachi and BakkaGachi altogether would collect sap from the trees and the daylight would almost finish as soon as they finish, is it not? It was indeed a time!  
While crossing the sand field to Krishnapur Zayed Ali’s sadness for the sap became greater. Sadness for the trees became greater. While walking he  he remembered that it wasn’t a field of sand, not a field of nuts. It was Bhubaneswar. “My father would go to Krishnapur with his boat,” he did remember that. Everything is getting reduced, date palm trees, the sap. Is that the only thing? For the fear of Nipah virus, now people don’t even touch raw sap glasses. What can we get selling glasses of sap, or selling a pitcher? As if the gachii doesn’t carry sap on his shoulder but he is walking on the chest of a dead river.
Krishnapurhat is also full of sorrows. The country had an election but did the people of “Keshtopur’ as known colloquially was able to cast the vote?  The number of the leaders of this country also got reduced! People become sad if there is a monopoly in election. That Zamir Fakir is now MP. It’s not about Zamir Fakir, it’s about the election with which what could have happened in the village, and did that happen? With thoughts like these the villagers have eternal sorrow. Though they do not get to eat stomach full, they at least could cast the vote. Zayed Ali listens to these gossips while carrying the empty pots.

He also discussed about these ‘reductions’ in the tea stall of Rais saying- If things started to get reduced like this, how can we run our lives! Rais says that his sorrows are greater. There could have been a rise in selling in his tea stall during the election season, or did that sell rose? People became melancholic. In this winter everything is stupefied in cold. No one even extends hand for a cup of tea!

There was no noise anywhere before the election. However, after the election villagers started talking about the election. The regret for not being able to vote didn’t last for long, when the news of malopara of Jessore reached to CharBishnupur. All the people were talking about it. In the evening a discussion was going on that matter in Fazlu’s shop in Sreeramdihat in CharBishnupur.
- So why did the Hindus vote? Montaz Mia cut the words of ModhaMajhi, if our village held vote, wouldn’t you vote?
- The vote didn’t happen at all,
- If voting happened, would you have gone?
- You would have gone too.
- So why wouldn’t the malos?
There is no answer to it. ModaMjahi says- when the election was happening there was no chaos, the chaos happened after the election.
-  That happened because of the vote. Saying so Mozammel Mia took a long puff of the local cigarette. He is a member of Union Council. Stupidity among these peasants and farmers makes him angry.
Zayed Ali was eating biscuit dipping it into hot tea, he took the taste of tea and biscuit with a slurp of the saliva and sais- then was it good that we voted?
Mozammel got irritated. “What are you saying? Do we have malos in our village?”
Zayed Ali became thoughtful, with a half-eaten toast-biscuit in one hand, he started searching in his mind- Chobir Munshi’s house is next to his house… Akkas’ house… Khondkar’s house… Mia’s house…Mollah’s house… he searched one house after another but couldn’t find any belongs to a Hindu.
- Yes … we have no nomo (1) in our village!
Moda Majhi scratches his face with nails, as if he cannot round up his calculation. He says- yes, when there is a Hindu, there is a problem. You remember Dabir Munshi was killed after the last election.
Montaz Mia doesn’t forget things very easily, he agrees- yes, that happened…

 Moda Majhi laughs like a fool and says- then occurrence happens even without the Hindus.
Mozammel Mia gets very irritated quite a lot and says- “hey stupid, when there are more Hindus, the chaos is more. There are call of torching and burning in the village.”
Their debate gets heated up, though there is no election but on the new issue people drinks tea a lot in the Sreeramdi-haat. Modasser Ali, Jaynal and Biru Sheikh along with the others comes to the haat (2). They discuss that brands of Scales of Balance and Ear of Corn forbade the Hindus to not to vote. The election symbol Boat asks them to vote. If they go to vote they are defaulter, if they do not they are defaulter as well! – So, who torched the houses? Where were the Boats then? – Why? They were busy counting the ballots… with the thousands of questions malopara of Jessore drinks tea in Sreeramdihat.
Montaz Mia’s son Bakhtiar has just took admission to the sub-district highschool. He cannot go to school without uniform that brings him to the Sreeramdihat along with his father. Overhearing the heated discussion his ears got pricked up just like a robust bull. He interferes- Hey father, why don’t we have a malo para in our village?
- Did you not here that we do not have a single nomo in our village?
- There is no nomo?
Everyone started pondering on this. Everyone started searching the past… when was the last time the nomos were living in this village? They cannot remember.
Moda Majhi’s heel started itching, even though the itching was too much but he kept saying- My father told me that they existed before the war.
Montaz Mias says- They existed before the partition, and the problem started from that period…
Mozammel Mia says- I have never heard that this village had nomos.
With so many information Bakhtiar does not find the right answer. He jumps into his next question- If they existed before the war, where are their houses? Where are they? In a discussion under the kerosene light cutting through the darkness Mozammel Mia with an authoritative gesture says- Why does a child talks so much? He even asks about the houses. You got the habit of your father I see…
Everyone feels uneasy in fear of some old fight do not heat up again. They move on to other topic. Mozammel Mia wants to talk about the forthcoming sub-district election. However, the people are not seemed to be interested. There were lots of thoughts revolving around Bakhtiar’s head including the name of this village. His eyes were glistening like someone has found an unhatched egg in a bird’s nest, similarly his brain enlightens like a dancing firefly. He has read in the book that Vishnu is the God of the Hindus, there was one named Krishna as well. In a village full of Muslims cannot bear such name without any reason. Did anyone turned the ear to what Bakhtiar said? Suddenly Biru Sheikh says- the government asked the Hindu community not to leave the country under any fear. They have built brick house for them! No one says a word. Their discussion goes on whether there would be games between the Boat and the Rice Corn, and whether the Plough will run in the election. There is a thin line of moustache under the nose of Bakhtiar, his lips are probably still thin, full of words, he says- “What does the Hindus fear of, father?”
Everyone looks at Bakhtiar again. Now Montaz Mia cannot sit there any longer, he gets up and says- Let’s go home. Mozammel Mia remarks- Your son wants to find the nomos after getting educated in the school only, who knows what he  will do after going to the college! After Montaz
Mia left with his son, the other are also about to leave. The gossiping does not go very well this evening.

While following his father Bakhtiar says- I will ask the teacher Bilal tomorrow.
- What will you ask?
- Where did the malos of our village go?
- What is it with you?
- Nothing special, the teacher knows a lot… he teaches us the history.
- You don’t need to know everything.

The villagers mourns, oh! What a young man was Montaz Mia’s son. Some says he has left in search of the nomos! Montaz Mia looked for him even in Jessore. Who can say? He is a young man…. He might be in the malo para there! All the news are talked round and round under the kerosene light of Fazlu’s shop. At the end of the gossiping while going home with Moda Majhi Zayed Ali says- Brother Modad, did you notice that not only our village is nomo-less, but everything is getting less to lesser also…
Moda Majhi stops and asks, - what are you saying? What getting less to lesser?
-  You see there is no river anymore, you have the title Majhi, but there no Majhi (3) anymore.
Helplessly Moda Majhi agrees- yes…
- There is no date palm trees, and there are no Gachis but Biru and I.
- What do you mean?
Zayed Ali has a strange kind of moisture in his voice- No, maybe one day we will vanish like the nomos. Moda has a kind of sensitivity in the voice- If you get vanished, that’s alright… you will pull rickshaw in the town… don’t talk about the nomos. Did you remember what happened to Bakhtiar? They do not finish the talk, they went silently.
For a few days Zayed Ali is having problem to sleep, he falls asleep and then wakes up. Today his awaken eyes have a burden of sleep, he is worried about sap-pot being theft. Amidst of these he sees a strange dream! There is water of erosion on the banks of Bhubaneswar. Suddenly a Hanuman – black-faced monkey – with a long tail conjure up, it drinks the water of the river with one sip and turns it into a field of sand! Then the Hanuman leaves the village jumping! Many people left with that as well!
His grandfather appears in his dream.-Zayed, my brother, do not go to the southern side of the house.
- Why grandfather?
- There was temple of Kali (4), They would sacrifice he-goats.
Zayed saw that he, in a shorts climbs to the shoulder of his grandfather, but he cannot see his face. The cloudy sky can be seen. He says- I will not go. However, you will get me Kadma.
- Ok, dear.
Suddenly a bunch of hen cock-o-doodles and he is awake. There is no sign of grandfather, Zari’s mother if feeding the hens and roosters. He jumps from the bed, it’s too late.  He has to take the sap-pot down, but he is feeling heavy. He gets up forcing himself. He thinks- should I tell Zari’s mother about the dream? No, let it go.
Moda Majhi has no boat anymore. He pulls a three-wheel van being a Majhi, a boatman. There are roads through which a van can go, but if there is no tree can he live in the village? He cannot find any meaning of his dream. Still, he remembers that grandfather forbade him to not to go to the southern part of the house. Should he share his dream to anyone? He remembers Bakhtiar, did the boy left the village? Montaz Mia fainted weeping too  much. Should he share his dream to anyone? No, let it go. What is the benefit talking in the village where there is no Malo? He feels that one day there would be no Gachi! Though he is thinking all these, he takes the pots on the shoulders. He would be crossing the field of sand, when he is on the road, he thinks again- Will he go to the Sreeramdihat! Will he share the dream?

1. Namo, at times Malu/Malo, are also used as a derogatory slang for Hindus
2. Weekly market
3. Meaning boatman
4. Black Hindu Goddess of Strength

i. Malo Neighborhood (of the oppressed community)
ii. An English version of a short story from a Bengali book by the same name, published by Gantha Kutir, Dhaka, 2016. The story was read at the Baisakh New Year Forum of Partition Center, New York, April 8, 2017

**Nahar lives in Bangladesh

Please, don’t let our daughters down

Hasan Ferdous**
Editor & Journalist

  The story goes somewhat like this.

  (Rabindranath) Tagore, then in his 70s, saw a little girl walking wobbly towards him. The poet lent his little finger to help her walk. The girl joyfully grabbed not just his lone finger, but the entire hand. Smiling, the poet said, oh, I gave you a little finger, and you want my hand or pani. (In Bangla, pani or hand implies accepting one’s marriage proposal).
  It may seem an irony, but fundamentalist groups in Bangladesh are behaving just like the little girl.  The government had lent them a little finger by accommodating some of their demands.  Bolstered, they wanted more.  In recent months, they have scored successive victories.  Their demand for revising our school text books to make it more “Islamic” was accepted without so much a peep. Two weeks ago, they netted another victory.  They had long argued for lowering marriage age for girls. That wish was granted, too. The next item on their agenda: the removal of a symbol of justice placed within the premises of Bangladesh Supreme Court.

Who knows what would come next.
  The situation of women and girls in Bangladesh is paradoxical. On one hand, they have made tremendous strides, both in terms of political and economic empowerment and social status. Yet, they are constantly under threat from the fundamentalist forces, who are determined to chip away every little battle the girls and women have won in the past three decades.
  Take the case of revising school textbooks.  As has been widely reported in Bangladesh and outside, the government relented to the demand of a small group of fundamentalists aligned with the ruling party and rewrote the texts that suited the cultural and political needs of the religious groups. The changes made include dropping poems written by Hindus, deleting Hindu names and references and dropping any graphic presentation that even hinted at women’s progress. One particular demand they made was to drop girls’ images in any shape or form used to illustrate a story. For example, they wanted to cut out all pictures that depict girls taking part in physical exercises. Justifying their demand, a leader of the Hefajote Islam argued, girls and boys are not equal. For example, boys can climb a  tree, something no girls can do.
  These changes were made all very surreptitiously. When Hefajote made their demand, the Board initially declined. Undeterred, the group’s leaders dialed up their political connections in the government’s higher echelons, and their wishes were quickly granted. “We know the right people in the government,” some leaders of Hefajote Islam boasted. Thousands of copies of textbooks were thrown down the tube and new revised text books were printed.
  As the New York Times reported (https://nyti.ms/2kgs7JJ), the religious leaders are unlikely to stop at just revising the textbooks. They have bigger plans. They want to drop art as a subject. Islam does not sanction drawing human images. So, why should our children learn drawing such images? They have argued. This could be the next thing coming.
  There are other bigger fish the fundamentalists want fried. The latest catch they have notched is lowering the legal age for girls’ marriage.  This has been an old fight that the fundamentalists have waged.  Islam allows the early marriage of girls, they have argued. In some Muslim countries, girls as young as 9 and 10 are deemed ready for marriage. Mercifully, Bangladesh isn’t going that far. The new law enacted by Bangladesh’s parliament sets the new minimum age for boys at 21 and girls at 18 but allows an exception for girls for “special circumstances,” including unwanted pregnancies. No minimum age is specified and, if a court agrees, this could be as low as 10 or 12.
  Sadly, Bangladesh is already known for having the highest rate of child marriage in the world. According to UNICEF, nearly one-third of girls in Bangladesh are forced into marriage before reaching age 15.  What is even more alarming is that about two per cent of girls in Bangladesh are married before age 11. Human Rights Watch has called child marriage in Bangladesh an epidemic. Bangladesh is also among the countries where domestic violence against women is rampant.
  The new marriage law has been greeted by Islamist groups in Bangladesh. Leaders of Hefajote Islam has called it the right decision. “Having a law that you cannot get married before a certain age, this I cannot agree with,” one of them told the New York Times.
  Why is the government so eager to please the Islamists? A clue to this question can be gleaned from the aforementioned report in the New York Times.  A leader of Hefajote Islam frankly told the Times that they were able to persuade the government, because the political parties must take into account “their popularity among the people.” In simpler terms, with elections approaching, having the Hefajote on its side could be a great boon for the ruling party.
  This is a significant departure for Bangladesh’s “progressive” government that likes to present itself as a model for the developing world. Prime Minister Hasina herself has rightfully claimed the mantle for leading a campaign for women’s rights.  Bangladesh was among the first countries to ratify the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child, which defines anyone under 18 as a child.  In a nod to the UN treaty, in July 2014, at the Girl Summit in London organized by UNICEF, Sheikh Hasina pledged to completely stop child marriage in Bangladesh, first for those under 15 by 2021 and those under 18 by 2041.
  This new law could not be the kind of action that would inspire confidence in our government’s intention to stop child marriage. Any sexual contact with girls below 18, whether married or not, is nothing but rape. Regretfully, under the new marriage law, it now becomes sanctioned by law.
  Whether the Islamists agree or not, no  girls should be married off before they are 18, the age when they leave childhood. Little girls should go to school, prepare to become doctors and scientists and to run for public offices.  They should marry only when they are able to decide on their own who and when to marry. It should be up to them, and not the hujurs (Islamic leaders) at the local madrasa or legislators.
  Everyone agrees girls and women in Bangladesh have made progress. They have closed gaps with boys in education and are now ahead of them in many areas. Hefajote Huzur may not know any girl that can climb a tree, but some girls in Bangladesh have already conquered the Himalayas. Bangladeshi girls have won gold in swimming and weightlifting in South Asian Games. And yes, our Girls, as young as 15 and 16, from Kolshindur village in Mymensingh, have won championship trophy in international competitions in football. Nabia Akhter, after winning a gold in weightlifting in last year’s South Asia Games, said she hoped one day to compete in the Olympics.  There are other Nabia Akhters in the making. Now is not the time to let our daughters down.

**Lives in New York City.

 Reprinted from Dhaka Courier, March 8, 2017, sent by the author 
  Visiting Pakistan … Revisiting 1971

Syed Badrul Ahsan**
Author and Journalist

  In these forty six years since the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, I have been to Pakistan four times. The first three --- in 1995, 2000 and 2004 --- were at the invitation of the South Asian Media Association (SAMA) and the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA). Besides, I have been to India at the invitation of its Ministry of External Affairs, in 1991 and 2000. This year, it appeared to be the turn of the Pakistan authorities, particularly its Institute of Strategic Studies based in Islamabad, to invite me as part of a team to visit Pakistan. Given the sensitivities involved in the present state of relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh and given to a desire on my part to live up to my old principle of knowing, or trying to know, the mind of the adversary, I visited Pakistan recently for a week. The Pakistan authorities have always known of my views on the war foisted on us in 1971 and of the steps they have taken or not taken where a development of friendly relations between the two countries is concerned. I am quite certain they remain wary of anything that I write concerning Pakistan.
  It was a point not lost on my hosts in Islamabad. For me, the need was to observe first-hand how Pakistanis in these times perceived the past, especially with respect to the war. The opportunity to come by that knowledge was a meeting organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies, currently headed by Khaled Mahmood, a former ambassador and, as he so happily pointed out, a contemporary of Farooq Sobhan and the late Mustafizur Rahman. All three men joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1964. Sobhan and Rahman were to serve as foreign secretaries in Bangladesh. The meeting at the ISS was quite an eye-opener, for a good number of young Pakistani trainee diplomats and foreign policy researchers were in attendance. What became clear within minutes of the meeting getting underway was the absence of information among the young about the causes behind the break-up of Pakistan and the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. Obviously, there remains a tendency among the political establishment in Islamabad to shy  away from a full and adequate coming to terms with reality. These young people at the ISS interaction were obviously keen on knowing more about Bangladesh and certainly were desirous of the young citizens of both Bangladesh and Pakistan coming closer in the days ahead. But when informed that an important step towards a normalization of ties between Dhaka and Islamabad was surely an expression of apology by Pakistan over the atrocities committed by the Pakistan army in Bangladesh in 1971, they appeared to be quite unaware of the nature of the crimes committed by their soldiers.
  I cannot but add here that our hosts, the Pakistan authorities, went out of their way to make our visit --- we were in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore --- as substantive and pleasant as possible. Their hospitality was beyond compare. And yet interaction with such individuals as the new Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Tehmina Janjua, elicited little indication that Pakistan would be ready any time soon to say sorry to Bangladesh over the genocide of 1971. To be sure, almost everyone in Islamabad is ready to point to the expression of regret from former president Pervez Musharraf in the early 2000s over the role of the Pakistani soldiers in 1971. The argument that our team consistently put forward was simple: just as the Germans and the Japanese have for years been going around in contrition over the acts of their soldiers in the countries they occupied during the Second World War, Pakistan too needed to be bold about letting Bengalis and the rest of the world know, publicly, how sorry they were about the misdeeds of their soldiers back in 1971. This absence of an expression of contrition remains a stumbling block in a normal development of relations between Dhaka and Islamabad.
  A fairly good number of Pakistanis I came across are disturbed at what they consider to be the hostility of the Bangladesh government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina towards Pakistan. In their opinion, Pakistanis and Bengalis have shared a common heritage and should go ahead in a fraternal spirit to forget the past and build a new relationship in tune with the demands of the times. On a personal level, I made it clear that I understood the nobility involved in the presentation of their arguments. But, then again, I thought it necessary to inform them that the atmosphere was spoiled when the Pakistan government, ignoring diplomatic norms, publicly went into the job of condemning the trials of war criminals in Bangladesh. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan did not have to bring in the resolution in the Pakistan national assembly that was a clear and blatant interference in Bangladesh’s internal affairs, did he? The so-called hostility of the Bangladesh government was generated not by any pathological hatred of Pakistan but by that single unwise act of the Pakistan government in condemning the war crimes trials in Dhaka.
  My sense is that while at the social level, Pakistanis are keen about developing and nurturing friendly relations with Bengalis, it is the state of Pakistan which remains shy of tackling head-on the issues arising out of the war of 1971. That is where the problem lies. That is where avenues of cooperation between the two countries lead to a cul-de-sac.

  Postscript: A Pakistani with obviously sincere feelings of friendship toward Bengalis asked me in Islamabad what I thought precipitated the political crisis between East and West Pakistan in early 1971. My response was simple: Following the general elections of December 1970, on the basis of globally acknowledged convention, power should have been transferred to Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. But since the Legal Framework Order (LFO)  was in the way and a constitution needed to be arrived at within 120 days of the sitting of the new parliament, the National Assembly as called into session for 3 March should have been convened despite the opposition of the Pakistan People’s Party. The postponement of the session, two days before the MNAs were to meet in Dhaka, changed the entire political matrix of Pakistan. Disaster then became inevitable.

** Ahsan is Senior Editor of Daily Observer, Bangladesh; and in 1971 during Bangladesh Liberation War was trapped in the then West Pakistan, now Pakistan.

India’s   New Citizens:  A Timely Humanitarian Measure by Narendra   Modi’s   Government
Dr. Saradindu Mukherji**
Historian and Author

  At partition, Pakistan’s western wing had 23% Hindu/Sikh population, and  now only 2%,: East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), which had about 30% Hindu/Buddhist population in 1947, has now only 8% of them. Only when people face unprecedented inhuman sufferings and colossal hardship, that they are compelled to abandon their hearths and homes and seek safe havens elsewhere. This problem calls for urgent remedial measures, both at the country of origin and the host nation. Since partition India has hosted persecuted Buddhist refugees from Tibet, Afghan Muslims, and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, and Hindu/Sikh refugees from Afghanistan, Hindu/Sikh/Jain/Buddhist/Christian refugees from Pakistan, Hindu/Christian refugees from Sri Lanka, Hindu/Christian/Muslim from Burma, and the Jumma/Chakma/tribal refugees from East Pakistan/Bangladesh etc.  However, the case of the unending flight of Hindu refugees from Pakistan/Bangladesh since 1946-47, several millions of them stands apart. (1)

  The object of this paper is to show how the decision by the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to grant citizenship to the persecuted Hindu/Sikh refugees from the neighboring countries is a timely and much needed  measure.

  The land (Pakistan/Bangladesh) from which these refugees are moving into India were once part of eternal Bharat (India), with several Shakti-pithas (religious centers). We may take it as the first cognitive mapping of India as far as memory goes.  Those who had been worshiping for generations at Hinglaj Mata (now in Baluchistan, Pakistan) and various sacred shrines, have a right to live and die as sons and daughters of Mother India if they so desire. Secondly, innumerable places   associated with our classical heritage, and Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s empire are located there (in Pakistan).
  Some of our most creative geniuses and greatest of freedom fighters came from these regions. It is in Lahore (now in Punjab, Pakistan) that revolutionary Jatin Das died after fasting for 64 days, Lala Lajpat Rai fell to the police lathis and died, and Bhagat Singh was hanged. Titans of Indian Freedom Movement Bipin Chandra Pal came from Sylhet (now in Bangladesh) and many areas of eastern Bengal, particularly Dhaka, Barisal and Chittagong (now in Bangladesh) happened to be the main fields of operation of the Anushilan Samiti (one of the groups leading anti-British independence struggle). This is the land of Anandomyee Maa, Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, Michael Madhusudan Datta, Dr. Meghnad Saha, Swami Pranavananda and many of India’s “Renaissance” figures.  A large number of our revolutionaries who were sent to the gallows and deported to the distant Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal belonged to eastern Bengal. The Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists were indeed, “thrown to the wolves” by the  Nehruvian leadership.

  Demography, Religion, Culture and   Politics.  An   Historical    Background:
  Given the history of Islamic separatism and its violent politics as espoused by the Muslim League, Islamic Pakistan went on implementing its blatantly Islamic agenda. As the British High Commissioner to Pakistan had put it. “Muslims are religious and fanatical, and they are more fanatical about religion than about anything else. ---What Jinnah appears to be aiming at is a State sufficiently Islamic on a high level to make it acceptable to the brotherhood of Islamic States.” (2)
   In West Pakistan, elimination of the “Kafirs” was swift and fast. By 1948, almost its entire Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsee and Christian population was thrown out; in the eastern wing it was gradual and by stages.  In a colloquial “Islamic parlance, it may be said that while the Hindus in West Pakistan were subjected to jhatka - instant slaughter at one go, the Hindus and Buddhists in East Pakistan became items for halal - the process of slow slitting of the head from the torso.” (3) Prafulla K Chakrabarty regretted that, while, Prime Minister of India Nehru effected an exchange of population and resettled the West Pakistan refugees very well, but in the case of East Bengal,  there was much apathy on the part of both the central and state governments. Sir Jadunath Sarkar, conversant with the behavioral pattern of India’s Muslim rulers had warned in August, 1948, about the dangerous consequences of the mass exodus from East Pakistan (4).

  Political-Administrative System in Pakistan and its Effects:  Taya Zinkin had observed, ‘—so long as there are Hindus in East Pakistan-there are practically none left in West   Pakistan the status of India’s Muslims cannot be finally settled. Hindus are very tolerant, but if the remaining 9 million of Hindu of East Bengal was to flood into India, Hindu tolerance might be tested beyond endurance, and pressure might be brought to bear on Muslims to migrate to Pakistan and make room for the newcomers’ (5). When a massive pogrom of Hindus was launched in East Pakistan in 1950, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Minister in the first all-party Nehru’s Cabinet – and a former deputy in Muslim-Hindu Shyama-Haq ministry in pre-partition Bengal under Premier Fazlul Haq – realizing that the sufferings of the Hindus of East Pakistan did not have much effect on Nehru’s government, wanted strong action against Pakistan, and revived the old idea of an exchange of population, which however, was rejected by Nehru. A disillusioned Mookerjee resigned from Nehru’s callous government.  Mr. Jogendra Narayan Mondal, the sole Hindu Minister in Jinnah’s new Pakistan Government fled to India and submitted a 20-page resignation in the safety of Calcutta, India after witnessing a large scale killing of Hindu oppressed-caste peasants in East Pakistan.
  Hindus could seldom live with dignity and peace. To chronicle the entire story of the persecution and exodus of Hindu refugees being impossible in this paper, we would   provide its brief outline. There were many major genocide/pogroms in East Pakistan, in – 1950, 1952, 1964, 1971 and then, subsequently in independent Bangladesh.   Freedom from Pakistan in1971 gave some hope in Bangladesh but “- once the short-lived experiment with secularism ended in 1975, Islamization was vigorously pursued by Gen. Zia ur Rehman, and  especially after the 8th amendment to the Bangladesh constitution by Gen. Ershad, making Islam the State religion”. (6)
  Pogrom of Hindus in 1990 orchestrated by Gen. Ershad in 1990, and 1992 and 2001 orchestrated mainly by Prime  Minister Mrs. Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and their associates has been most vividly and poignantly described in a masterly study edited by the noted Bangladeshi intellectual Shariyar Kabir. One aspect was targeting the Hindu women-to take away their izzat (honor), and thus compelling these traumatized families to immediately flee to India, as it happened in post 1946 Noakhali era. (7)

  Enemy/Vested Property Act.
  The expropriation of Hindus’ ancestral land, homes, homesteads, ponds and businesses through the ‘motivated application’ of the Enemy Property/V.P. Act since 1965, is “just another aspect of the state-sponsored tyranny against the minority communities and one major factor behind their continuous exodus to India” It allows state to confiscate Hindu homes and hearths by declaring them “enemies of state” (8). Prof. Dr. Abul Barkat, a Bangladeshi (Muslim) scholar, has shown that 6 million Hindus have  lost  landed property  amounting to 2.6 million acres of land in a short period of time (9). The enormity of dispossession on the basis of religion, being one of the worst-ever examples of misuse of State power, led to an   international campaign   to abolish it, and later, despite its official abolition, most of the dispossessed have not been restored their legitimate ownership back, and many of the illegal occupiers belong to the ruling Awami League Party, otherwise known as a pro-tolerant pro-secular party.
  The present government of Mrs. Sheikh Hasina has, indeed, taken strong measures to punish the collaborators of 1971 genocide, and bring on record the contribution of India in the war of liberation, but the on-going and orchestrated attacks on the Hindus, by the pro-Pakistani Jamat (Islami) and similar fanatical elements has not stopped. Destruction of Hindu temples, abduction and forced conversion of Hindu women, arson and dispossession of Hindu homes/landed properties go on unabated. Once in a while, diplomatic staff from the Indian mission in Bangladesh would   pay a visit  to the affected areas, but nothing substantive had been achieved to give the hapless Hindus greater security, dignity and safety.

Towards a Conclusion:
  One major reason that encourages, abets and emboldens the deeply ingrained anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist anti-secular forces in Bangladesh and Pakistan (and Malaysia also for that matter) is that there are not many  in India to take up their cause and bring it before to the appropriate national or international fora  worth the name. 10 There is always some reaction in Tamil Nadu whenever the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka are known and the DMK Party withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance two governments in federal New Delhi on this issue.  Nothing like this happens in West Bengal, home to tens of millions of Bangladeshi Hindu refugees. It is a humanitarian emergency of utmost importance, and a solemn duty for India and the international community to save them, and the proposed legislation on granting them Indian citizenship is just one basic step.

** Retired Professor of Delhi University and  Member, Indian   Council   of Historical Research, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, New Delhi.

  1.  For this writer’s views on this subject, see the link below directly  live telecast.  on NDTV National Debate. http://www.ndtv.com/video/news/left-right-centre/hyper-nationalism-growing-65-former-officers-write-open-letter-460178. I4 June 2017. also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtSbGmwOrzU  6 July 2016 (Times now national debate).
  Mukherji, Saradindu, “Indian Experience  with Forced Migration: Its Lessons and Limitation” conference held at RSP. F 30/5 1998. See also Mukherji at “Refugee Studies Programme Centre” Queen Elizabeth House Oxford. Saradindu Mukherji, “Generous or Hapless Hosts” Hindustan Times 13 Oct 1996.  “Exodus of Hindus and other Minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh: Indian Predicament and Tragedy of Indian “Secularism”. Journal of the  Third Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Conference: Partition: Past and Present. New York, October 13 2012.  “The plight of Hindus in eastern Bengal  is one of the most traumatic stories in the history of human civilization-comparable in scale to the elimination of the Pagans, Zoroastrians, Hindus and Buddhists by their Islamic conquerors across the world. The sufferings of the Aborigines of Australia, the Orang Aslis in Malaysia, and that of the Natives ‘Indians’ by their European conquerors belong to the same category of brutality”. Saradindu Mukherji’s review of Sachi Ghosh-Dastidar, Empire’s Last Casualty, Indian Subcontinent’s Vanishing Hindu and Other Minorities, in Sunday Pioneer 5 Sept 2011.
  2. British High Commissioner to Dominion Office, London, 5 May 1948. File. No. D0/142/345. (Public Record Office, London).  Saradindu Mukherji, “Pakistan Must Apologise for War Crimes”, Sept 22, 1995, “Blame the Pakistan Apologists” June 26 1992. “Subservience to Pan-Islamism Must End: Sept 18 1992, all in   The Pioneer.
  3. Saradindu Mukherji, Subjects, Citizens and   Refugees. Tragedy in the Chittagong Hill Tracts 1947-1998. Delhi, 2000. p.32.
  4. Prafulla. Chakrabarty , The Marginal Men , p.24 Introduction by Prof. Triguna Sen, p.1. p,24 G.D. KHOSLA, Stern Reckoning: A survey of the events leading up to and following the partition of India. Delhi, 1989.
  5. Taya Zinkin, India, London,  1965. p.132.
  6. Jayanta Kumar Ray, Democracy and Nationalism on Trial: A Study of East Pakistan, Simla, 1968, S.K. Bhattacharya, Genocide in East Pakistan/ Bangladesh, Houston, 1987, G.D. Khosla, Stern Reckoning: Delhi, 1989. Tathagata Roy, My People Uprooted. A Saga of the Hindus of Eastern Bengal, Calcutta, 2001: Life and Times of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee: A complete biography. New Delhi,2008. Sabyasachi Ghosh-Dastidar and Shefali Ghosh-Dastidar, Memories of  Homeland: Refugees of 1947 Bengal Partition in India. Calcutta,  2015. Richard L  Benkin, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: The Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus,  A.J. Kamra, Bangladesh, The Prolonged Partition and its consequences. 1946-64. A Vast Concentration Camp For Hindus, with a foreword by Koenraad Elst, New Delhi 1996. Kali Prasad Mukhopadhaya, Partition, Bengal and After, Calcutta, 2007; Dinesh C. Sinha & Ashok Dasgupta, 1946: The Great Calcutta Killings and Noakhali Genocide: A Historical Study, Kolkata,,2011.Saradindu Mukherji,   Hindus Betrayed. Religious Cleansing in Bangladesh, Delhi,2013. Debdutta Chakraborty, Selected Political Documents of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Kolkata, 2017. Saradindu Mukherji, “Genocide of Hindus Must Stop”  The Pioneer 27 Dec 1991. “There is more to Dhaka than water”. The Indian   Express.  Dec11 1996.
  7. Shariyar  Kabir, ed, Shwetpatro. Bangladeshe Sonkhaloghu Nirjataner 1500 Din.  Prothom Khondo (Prothom Porbo), Prothom Khondo (Dwitiya Porbo) and Dwitiya Khondo,  Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, Dhaka, 2005  (White Paper: 1500 Days of minority persecution in Bangladesh. Vol.1. Part. I . and Part II, A Collection of news clippings, articles, field reports, photographs and observation.)
  8. Abul Barkat , ed. An Enquiry into Causes and Consequences of Deprivation of Hindu   Minorities in Bangladesh through the Vested   Property Act. Framework for    a Realistic Solution. PRIP Trust, Dhaka 2000.
  9. Saradindu Mukherji, “Put Dhaka In Its Place,” The Telegraph,    12 June 1992  1. The Times of India, “Harassed Minorities Of Bangladesh,” 15 Nov 1994.  “Jyoti Basu’s misguided foreign policy”, The Pioneer,30 July 1993.  “ Are the Minorities in Bangladesh Endangered” 22 Oct Saradindu Mukherji, “Potentialities of Cultural Cooperation between Neighbouring Countries,” pp. 96-106., “A Case Study of Indo-Bangladesh Relations” pp. 92-106, in B. Khan & J. Ray,  Ed, Indo-Bangladesh Cooperation Broadening Measures , Calcutta, 1997; The religio-ethnic cleansing of the Jumma people, commonly known as Chakamas has been dealt with in Saradindu Mukherji, Subjects, Citizens, op.cit. Also Saradindu Mukherji,“Do Something about the Chakmas”,  21 Oct  1994.“Ominous Portents from Dhaka”, 10 March 1995 in the Pioneer. “Chakma Conflict”  24 May 1995,  Times of India. “Chakma. A Sad Story”, 10 Aug 1995, Hindustan Times.


Sri Lanka: Brutal War and Path to Reconciliation

Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar
Educator, Author, Writer and Researcher


      Modern Sri Lanka – formerly Ceylon – is simultaneously known a land of peace, the Serendipity Island, and a land with severe religious, ethnic and political strain. It has been known as a “model” developing nation and a nation which witnessed a civil war and mass killing against her own indigenous minority and where a President in under the sanction of United Nations and by several nations for war crime.

  Sri Lanka’s institutional discrimination of its own Hindu, Muslim, and Christian Tamil minority – over a quarter of the population by the Sinhala-Buddhist majority is well known. As soon as Sri Lanka gained independence its majority nationalism promoted Sinhala/Singhalese language. The majority Buddhist religion was declared the State Religion. Attacks on Tamils began immediately after independence in 1948, prior to thrsedeclarations. Then again in 1960s when thousands of the so-called “Indian Tamils” – many living for generations, including father of my Tamil-American neighbor – were deported to India. Singhalese called that “repatriation.” Luckily India being a large state of polyglot of peoples accepted them. In its majority-Sinhala nationalist quest the Tamils were an afterthought and thus began the era of institutionalized discrimination, and expulsion of her Tamil citizens to India, which soon gave rise to extremist Tamil politics, eventually to the murderous LTTE or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Eelam being the name of Tamil-majority areas in Sri Lanka used by Tamils. Demand from Tamil minority first started with autonomy to statehood within Sri Lanka to an independent nation. Finally in May of 2009 Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared end of civil war that began in 1983 with the defeat of LTTE. Tens of thousands of Tamils were killed. Many Sinhala were victims of LTTE terror. But the magnitude of suffering was significantly different. With normalcy returning under strict military control elections were held throughout Sri Lanka with limited devolution of power to newly formed provinces. With an upset victory in 2015 of Maithripala Sirisena to the Presidency with Tamil support, and attempts to incorporate the minority in governance, Sri Lanka has witnessed a return of relative peace and restrictions to travel to the North and East, the traditional homeland of the Tamils, eased. The process of reconciliation has begun which both majority and minority communities’ hope will succeed. Incidentally, it is not just Sri Lanka but many states in the region has fallen victim to majoritarian or Single Identity Nation State syndrome – Pakistan, Burma, Bhutan and Bangladesh where the elites pushed only one language or religion as the sole identity of their nation.

  With that in mind as well as the beauty of the Sinhala-majority areas and the hospitality of the Singhalese, this writer visited Colombo and Anuradhapura.            

Colombo: Investment is returning

  This writer visited the Sinhala-Buddhist heartland and the Jaffna area, the traditional bastion Tamil culture.

  Anuradhapura: The Ancient Capital of the Buddhist Kingdom

  In the winter of 2017 I was invited to visit the beautiful tear-drop island beyond the southern tip of India. I visited the tree-lined capital Colombo in the western Arabian Sea coast. The city contains ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, Christian churches and Islamic mosques as well as British colonial buildings and post-colonial architecture of modern Sri Lanka. During my stay I visited the holy Buddhist city of Anuradhapura in the center of the island which is a former capital of Sri Lankan kingdoms. Further north I traveled to Jaffna, the heartland of the minority Tamil and Hindu population in the Buddhist-and-Sinhala-majority nation. In Sri Lanka demand for discrimination-free equal treatment for the quarter of the nation – the Tamils – led to a protracted civil war lasting for more than three decades until the extreme Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was defeated by the military of Sri Lanka with massacre of tens of thousands. With the election of a new pro-reconciliation government in Colombo and minority Tamil-based parties in power at provinces Sri Lanka as a nation and Tamil-majority areas are in the process of normalcy.

Two Hindu monks who provided relief during and after the war

  Once you enter the Tamil-majority areas one sees presence of security on roadside yet traffic moves freely mostly without any stoppage, also one sees new homes – often standing next to destroyed ones as reminders of the long war and its cost. Long-time Tamil pacifist activists Kandiah and Sashi, Jayashingham, Swamiji, Dr. Thiru, or members of the old All Ceylon Hindu Congress, whether in Colombo or in Jaffna, are looking to reconciliation as well as peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic Sri Lanka. This of course depends on the majority.  Scores of refugees who returned from refugee camps in Tamil Nadu State of India tell visitors how lucky they are to survive the war, and how lucky they feel getting a new home built by poorer India. The bastion of Tamil nationalism is the City of Jaffna 

 on the northern tip of the island seemed to be bustling and busy with new investments – a sign of returning normalcy. People are eager to reconcile. At times a stranger will mention “how our boys are still rotting in prison in Colombo and no one has been held responsible for the killing of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians after LTTE surrender and during the war.” Yet the same individuals also said “in the name of our Lord Murugan we must look to a brighter future and a prosperous nation.” I met a Tamil family who went to “visit’ their Jaffna home after decades of absence although they have lost two of their sons in the war. In Colombo the majority Sinhala-Buddhists expressed relief that the “war” has come to an end. They too are looking for a happier future. To them Jaffna is too far away, not only geographically but also emotionally.

War-destroyed Tamil Homes

New Homes built by Poorer India

  One of the real bright spots was the regeneration of Jaffna City, the millennium-old capital of northern Jaffna region. Although a few days ago the region had a curfew from sunset to sunrise, people are now able to go out in the evening, and more importantly investment is returning back to the region, though not as fast the leaders want.

Bustling Jaffna; New Buildings on the Left

Nightlife too
    In addition, several Hindu ashrams and civic groups who provided help, food, clothing, medical care and shelter to the war victims, are now in the forefront of providing education to the children of war-affected families and the orphans. Several Hindu organizations and some Christian churches are providing much-needed help.
    In Sri Lanka Tamil speakers follow Hinduism, Christianity and Islam although majority is Hindu. The beautiful Red Mosque in Sinhala-majority Colombo has schedules written only in Tamil and English. A concerned Muslim said “after the war many Muslims are turning away from their Tamil roots for majority Sinhala. Most Tamil Muslims didn’t support Tamil Hindu-Christians’ drive for autonomy or independence thus receiving disdain from Tamil nationalists. Ruling Sinhala-Buddhist elites have also used religion to create division within the minority Tamil population,” the concerned Muslim alleged.

School for War-orphans and Poor Children

  Rebuilding of a war-torn country is more-than-difficult, especially creation of jobs. Near the northern tip of the nation now there is a neighborhood of newly-built homes of families who lost their homes and family members through military action. That is great. Yet what has not come back, many locals mourned ruefully, is their job at the cement factory where most worked.
  They said “the factory is not coming back. It is closed forever. What are we supposed to do with our lives?”
On the other hand, a builder wanted to construct a hotel on the scenic northern tip which is otherwise known as Varanasi of Sri Lanka – where the ashes of the departed is offered to the Indian Ocean. Because of slight empowerment of the minority Tamils, elected and civic leadership demanded abandonment of the idea of encroachment of their sacred space. The locals won. 

Historic Red Mosque in Colombo Downtown

    In Jaffna one Lakshmi Devi, a small trader in her fifties wearing a battered brown sari, said gratefully “we first fled to Colombo (from the north to the capital in the south) to escape constant bombing, then we were flown to India without any visa. We stayed there for years in a refugee camp in southern Tamil Nadu State, across the strait from our northern Jaffna. We were fed and clothed there by India. Once the war was over Sri Lanka government allowed us to return, and the government of India helped us with rebuilding our home (and shop) in the city. That is where we live now (picure below). The shop is a result of that! We are grateful to India. But the war cost us my young son’s life. He died in a bombing ” Then she gave a goodbye with folded hands.

More info: http://empireslastcasualty.blogspot. com/2017/02/Sri-lanka-brutal-war-and-path-to.html


Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc.
ISPaD      Needs     Help    from    Y O U
  Several Bengali-Americans in New York, individuals whose families were victims of partition of the Indian Subcontinent – especially of former British-Indian Bengal – formed a partition documentation project called ISPaD or Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc. to save the history and experiences of lost and displaced individuals and families, their villages, their life, and of survivors and that of protectors.

The Project has received not-for-profit status from the Departments of Education and State of New York State and a 503-C tax-exempt status from the I.R.S. (of the U.S. Government). ISPaD is open to all.

The purposes of the project are:  

  a) Document information from the people affected by the partition;
  b) Collect historical records;
  c) Study and document demographic and social changes caused by the partition;
  d) Create a center to disseminate and share the information with the public and civic groups and rights organizations engaged globally in such activities;
  e) Interact with the concerned governments and international bodies to raise awareness about the plight of the victims of ethnic cleansing and support the needy; 
  f) Organize meetings, seminars, conduct scholarly research, and publish journals and books.
  g) Solicit funds to support the above activities.
Ispad is looking for individual and family stories, documents, pictures, narratives, deeds, artifacts, books, family history, stories of refugees, survivors, protectors and that of the lost ones, tapes, films, videos of Bengal and Indian partitions – from 1947 through the present.

I’m pleased to help Partition Documentation! Here’s my gift!
Please make checks payable to ISPaD: The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc.
Donation Amount $______ [ ] One time; [ ] Yearly _________ ; [ ] Monthly _______ (Approx. Date)
Name __________________________________________________
Phone ____________________     __________________________

Mail to: ISPaD, 85-60 Parsins Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11342;
Phone: 917-524-0035; www.ispad1947.org;  ISPaD: Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc. and Check on YouTube Ispad1947, Channel; email: ispad1947@gmail.com

  Board of Directors:  Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar (Distinguished Professor & Author, NY);  Mr. Pratip Dasgupta, (Social Advocate; NY); Mr. Ramen Nandi (Engineer; NJ;)  Dr. Dilip Nath, (IT Specialist & Activist; NYC); Dr. Tom Lilly (Attorney & Professor; Long Island); Dr. Shefali S. Dastidar, (City Planner, NYC); Dr. Rudra Nath Talukdar (Physician, Texas);   Project Coordinator — Shuvo G. Dastidar

Wishing a Successful

 2017 Partition Center Conference and Journal;  
Amitabha & Keoly Chattterjee, New Jersey

Wishing a Successful

2017 Partition Center Conference and Journal; Dr. Mohsin Siddique, Maryland

Wishing a Successful
 2017 Partition Center Conference and Journal
 Jill Hamberg; New York City

Wishing a Successful
Partition Center Conference and Journal
 October 14, 2017
 Joyeeta G. Dastidar, M.D.
New York City

Wishing a Successful
 Partition Center Conference and Journal
October 14, 2017

 Prabir Roy, & Roy Cole & Speranza CPAs
Queens, New York City

Wishing a Successful

Partition Center Conference and Journal

October 14, 2017

Bijoy, M.D. & Aparna Sharma Roy
New York

Wishing a Successful

Partition Center Conference and Journal

October 14, 2017

  Ms. Milita Chanda



Wishing a Successful
Partition Center Conference and Journal

October 14, 2017

  Jagan Pahuja, M.D.
Long Island


Aahar  Cuisine
Specialists  in  BengaliPan-Indian Cuisine
Home-style-Cooking  –  Corporates   –  Parties 
Weekly Dinner Packets----Familes**Couples** Singles** Students
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Wishing a Successful

 Partition Center Conference and Journal
October 14, 2017
Dr. Rajan Anantharaman, Georgia & Dr. Akkaraju Sarma, Pennsylvania

Wishing a Successful

Partition Center Conference and Journal
 October 14, 2017

 Dr. Tom & Teresa Lilly
Long Island


Congratulations to ISPaD
The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project (Of course to all the Board Members, Volunteers, and Supporters as well!)
For your commitment & contribution in documenting our Partition-era (South Asian) previously undocumented history. Thanks to ISPaD's novel and unique efforts at documentation, you all have been working to ensure a crucial segment of global history does not vanish.   

Best Wishes for
The 2017 Partition Center Conference

Dr. Dilip & Dipa Nath
New York

Wishing a Successful

2017 Partition Center  Conference and Journal

Seshadri Gupta, P.E. , New York City

 Wishing a Successful
2017 Partition Center Conference and Journal
Priyotosh Dey, Vidya Dham Panchatatva Gitapith, Queens, NY; 646-643-3668


Wishing a Successful
 2017 Partition Center Conference and Journal

Shuvo G & Sumedha J Dastidar, New York City

Wishing a Successful
Partition Center Conference and Journal 

October 14, 2017

  Pabitra Choudhuri
Indian American Intellectual’s Forum 

Wishing a Successful
Partition Center Conference and Journal 

October 14, 2017

  Jay S. Hyman, C.S.W.
Social Worker

ISPaD: The Partition Center  and The Journal Committee
 Wish all of their Supporters a Successful and Productive Year
October 14, 2017


 Wishing a Successful
Partition Center Conference and Journal 

October 14, 2017

  Pratip Dasgupta
 Queens, New York City

Wishing a Successful

Partition Center Conference and Journal

October 14, 2017

Drs. Sachi G. & Shefali S. Dastidar
New York


Best Wishes for a Successful 2017 Conference & Journal

Wishing a Successful

2017 Journal & Conference

 Rudra Nath Talukdar, M.D.
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