PERSPECTIVE

Monthly Archives: SEPTEMBER 2019


A FB chat with a Pakistani
Partition was a historical British swindle on basis of bogus two nation theory
28.09.19 - Justice Markandey Katju
Partition was a historical British swindle on basis of bogus two nation theory



A Pakistani lady, Ayesha Tariq, who is an Asst Prof of English Literature in a College in Lahore sent me a Facebook message today, which started a Fb chat given below:

Ayesha Tariq:  Sir, this is the comment i read by some Indian named Vijay Sinha on YouTube under a video clip of Imran Khan. I quote "If Pakistan initiates a war against India, then Indian tanks emblazoned with the Temgha of Hulago Khan will roll across Pakistan after we have launched 15 nuclear FIRST strikes taking out key cities in Pakistan: Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan and Faisalabad.....killing 150 million people in fifteen minutes. Lahore is too close to the Indian border and will probably be spared but 1 million Indian troops and paramilitary forces will enter the city with a vengeance and subject it to the same fate as Berlin was by Soviet troops in 1945. The river Ravi will be clogged up with the bodies of every male in Lahore. And Lahore's women can kiss goodbye to their chastity, virginity and their religion at the same time.” 

And u talk about reunification of India. On a daily basis we come across such hatred from literate Indians, that’s a pity. You will not find any anglicized Pakistani talking such rubbish. I am an educationist in Lahore, I can tell u that parhay likhay people here are concerned about the people of Kashmir and not the land. If it would have been possible to separate people from the land in any simple arrangement, we common Pakistanis would have preferred to take in the people and leave the land.

Markandey Katju:  I agree with u that this man spoke rubbish. If u see my views in indianreunificationassociation.co.in I advocate voluntary, peaceful reunification, as of West and East Germany in 1990. We must patiently explain to the people of India and Pakistan that we are really one nation, and were one since Mughal times. Partition was a historical British swindle on the basis of the bogus two nation theory, and was a culmination of the wicked British divide and rule policy which came into existence after the British suppressed the Great Mutiny of 1857 in which Hindus and Muslims fought together against the British (see my article 'The Truth about Pakistan' online).

The alleged hatred between us was artificially created by vested interests, which is proved by the fact that when Indians go to Pakistan they are overwhelmed by the love and hospitality they receive, and the same happens when Pakistanis come to India. We are one nation, and are bound to reunite one day, though that will take time, maybe 10-15 years from now. Till then we must patiently explain this to our people, and that is what Indian Reunification Association (IRA) has been doing (see Mission Statement and Addresses to the Indian Nation on indianreunificationassociation.co.in) and if u r convinced, please join us in our sacred mission. 

I repeat, we r against forcible or military reunification, and r in favour of voluntary, peaceful one. In reunified India everyone will have freedom to his religion, but religious bigotry and extremism will not be tolerated, and will be crushed with an iron hand. Reunified India will be led by modern minded, selfless, patriotic persons who will rapidly industrialise the country.  

AT:  Sir, a year ago, my son who was merely 5 yrs old at that time asked me, 'Mama, is India our enemy?' I told him that india is not an enemy, we were together once but we do not get along much now because of Kashmir dispute. He asked, 'what is Kashmir?' I told him that its a place, a piece of land. He said, "why can we not divide it between the two?" I told him that it is already sort of divided but both parties want the whole of it. He said, 'i have an idea we can share it without dividing it'. I was surprised at the way his innocent mind worked. Just a few days back, he again said to me, "mama my friends in the class were saying that india is our enemy". And I was so enraged because of the loud mouthed Indians seen everyehere on the social media that i answered, 'yes, India is our enemy'.

MK:  Since India and Pakistan r really one nation, how can they be enemies of each other? Can ur left hand be an enemy of ur right hand?

AT:  Sir, but religion has divided us. U r an atheist, u do not realize the gravity of religious sentiments felt by both hindus and muslims.

MK:  I believe all religions are superstitions, and the truth lies in science. However, I am also a strong supporter of religious freedom.

AT:  Sir, i believe india and pakistan should start by forming a block like EU for their common interests and should move towards removing religious fanaticism first. There is a lot of distrust. Politicians exploit the situation for their political goals.

MK:  As regards Partition of India, this was a historical British swindle on the basis of the bogus 2 nation theory. If religion is the basis of a nation then no nation can survive. UK should be partitioned into a dozen countries, since it has Protestants (of several varieties, e.g. Anglicans in England, Presbyterians in Scotland, etc), Roman Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews etc. Same with USA, France, Germany etc. No nation can survive in this manner.

AT:  The sane voices from both the countries should try to snub the hate narrative and should create space for mutual cooperation.

MK:  Ur mistake is that u call them 2 countries, whereas they are one, only temporarily separated by the British, using their agents Gandhi and Jinnah (see my blogs on them on my blog Satyam Bruyat), but which are bound to reunite one day.

AT:  Sir, I will try to read everything u recommend here.

MK:  Begin by reading 'History in the Service of Imperialism' by BN Pande online. Then read my article 'The Truth about Pakistan' online. Thereafter read the Mission Statement and "Addresses to the Indian Nation” on indianreunificationassociation.co.in. When u read 'History in the Service of Imperialism' u will realise that after suppressing the Mutiny of 1857 a deliberate policy of divide and rule came from London to the British authorities in India. There was no Hindu-Muslim hatred before 1857. It was artificially created by the British, using their Indian agents.

AT:  That may be true but the question is: how to root out this poison tree now? Everyday we nurture it with hate speeches and abuses. We have come far away from 1857.

MK:  Almost all Muslim rulers in India, e.g. the Mughals (except Aurangzeb), Nawabs, etc used to participate in Holi, Diwali and other Hindu festivals, and Hindus used to participate in Eid and Muharram.

AT:  I wish that could happen again now. Respecting someone's religion does not rob u of ur faith, it indeed turns u into a better muslim or better hindu.

MK:  It is the sacred duty of IRA to explain to the people of India and Pakistan that we have been befooled into thinking we are each other's enemies, when in fact we are one, share the same culture, and were one since Mughal times. By patiently explaining this we will be giving antidotes to neutralise the communal poison which was injected by vested interests into our body politic. We have to keep giving doses of such antidotes for maybe 10-15 years, because the poison was injected continuously from 1857.

AT:  Great thinking. Ur zeal for this philosophy is laudable.

MK:  IRA represents the truth, and truth has great power. U may not accept it today because it is new, and new ideas often shock, e.g, Copernicus' heliocentric theory (that the earth goes around the sun, instead of vice versa, the geocentric theory). This theory was for a long period fiercely condemned, as it was against the Bible, and Galileo was almost burnt at the stake for propagating it. But because it represented the truth, it ultimately triumphed throughout the world.

AT:  Lets hope that the truth will prevail.

MK: Our idea, that India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh) are one country and must reunite under a secular govt, represents the truth. As Victor Hugo said "There is one thing more powerful than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come." The idea of Indian reunification is an idea whose time has come, though it will take many years of patient work for its implementation.

AT:  I will study this idea in detail inshallah.  

MK:  We need enlightened people like u in IRA, Ayesha, and also others. We may be a small minority today, but we r confident our ranks will rapidly grow (since we represent the truth) and our cause will triumph one day.

AT:  If I will join ur camp then I will not like to look back and for this to happen I will have to study it from all perspectives. Give me some time, sir.

MK:  Of course. Take all the time u want. In Sanskrit (which by the way is as much ur language, as Urdu is mine, though u may be unaware of it) it is said 'Satyamev Jayate' which means, the truth ultimately triumphs.

AT:  Yup. Satyamev Jayate.

MK:  My God! I have really made a Pakistani speak Sanskrit! First victory to IRA!  
 
 
 
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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Comment by: Musthafa Parambu

Good initiative. An opportunity to undo the pain inflicted on subcontinent population by earstwhile colonisers and their stooges and Dalals amongst us. Best wishes. One day, we hope to see subcontinent map as it existed before 1947. If people can travel without barriers, borders and without showing visa and passports, what a beautiful state it would be. It can be the best tribute to all those millions of people who perished in the partition madness. Best wishes.

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HOWDY, MODI!
Following the Pied Piper of to their doom!
25.09.19 - Justice Markandey Katju
Following the Pied Piper of to their doom!



It was a dictum of the Nazi Propaganda Minister Dr. Goebbels that the bigger the lie, the more easily it will be swallowed.

To say everything is fine in India ( and that too in several languages ), when the Indian economy is sinking, with steep manufacturing decline and record and mounting unemployment, is like Goebbels saying that Germany was winning the war when everyone knew it was losing, or like the Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (known as Baghdad Bob or Comical Ali) saying that Saddam was winning the war even when the American forces were closing in on Baghdad.

Some political leaders really do believe Indians are fools who will swallow every lie dished out to them.
And not one of the 50,000 buffoons gathered there had the guts to stand up and say ‘ Mr. Prime Minister, that is not true .’

Shame on Houston NRIs.

From that viewpoint, Howdy, Modi! is to my mind just another gimmick, like Yoga Day, Swatchata Abhiyan, MNREGA, cow protection, building Ram Mandir, Ghar Wapasi, abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution etc, and is another desperate effort to divert public attention from the terrible economic crisis India is going through, dipping of GDP growth to 5%, with record unemployment, steep decline in the manufacturing sector ( growth down to 0.6% ), energy, agriculture ( growth down to 2% ) etc.

But it will hardly have any effect on the lives of the Indian masses. Over 300,000 jobs have been already lost in the auto sector ( and this figure may go upto a million by some predictions ), 100,000 jobs have been lost in the IT sector, etc. Child malnutrition continues as before, with every second Indian child malnourished ( as reported by Global Hunger Index, UNICEF, etc ), farmers suicides ( which are well over 300,000 ) will continue unabated, and the Indian masses will remain deprived of proper healthcare and good education.

Recently corporate taxes have been cut, ostensibly to revive the economy. The present Indian Govt believes in the ‘ trickle down theory ‘, according to which if benefits in the form of tax cuts/exemptions, subsidies etc are granted to big business, the move will trickle down and also benefit the poor masses, because the businessmen will then have more money which they will utilise in setting up new industries and businesses, which in turn will provide more employment and give more revenues to the government.

The flaw in this theory is that businessmen will set up new industries if they are reasonably sure that the goods produced by these new industries will be sold. But the position today in India is that there is little demand, and so if such industries are set up the goods they produce will remain unsold, like in the auto sector. So, businessmen will not invest the extra money they get in setting up new industries in India, but will set up such industries abroad, or take the extra money surreptitiously to tax havens abroad.

Also, the tax cuts will increase the deficit in the budget, which will have to be covered by either printing notes ( which leads to inflation ) or by borrowing from somewhere, which increases the national debt, which will have to be serviced by taking more loans, and lead to a vicious cycle, as it happened in France before the French Revolution of 1789 ( the French monarchy borrowing more and more money from Dutch bankers to cover the deficit, until a time came when the bankers refused to loan any more money realizing they will never recover it ).

Howdy Modi will not in any way benefit the Indian masses by giving them better lives. So,I don’t see why there is such a hullabaloo and hoopla about it.

As for the NRI Houston crowd, they behaved like the stupid mice which willingly and happily followed the crafty Pied Piper of Hamelin to their doom.

I have composed a short poem for them (Kabir ko mazarat ke saath ):
Kabira Houston ke NRI
Ketey gaye gadant
Ketey abahu jaat hain
Narak hasant hasant

The above poem (a parody on a poem of Kabir) means :

[Kabir says, O you Houston NRIs
Many of you who are already buried
Many of you are going to your burial in hell
Laughing incessantly with glee].
 
 
 
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
 
 ------------------
Watch video: Howdy Modi और गोदी मीडिया की ख़ामोशी 
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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Kashmir, the long walk home
22.09.19 - Jang-Vijay Singh
Kashmir, the long walk home



During this three-decade long conflict in Kashmir, many left Kashmir and moved on. I have often wondered, if after the loss, the pain, and longing, anyone ever had some sense of closure with just "moving on". My family also left Kashmir, with them first and later by myself I have called quite a few places home - Jammu, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Glasgow, London, and travelled in many more, and yet, I never actually moved on from Kashmir. For me, a point of closure never came, though, compared to people who were disrupted from West Punjab and "the other” part of Kashmir in 1947, I consider myself infinitely more fortunate – for that generation, the decision made, and "moving on” was irreversible.

On travels around Europe and Asia, I have visited many countries that started off in equally terrible - if not worse circumstances after the Second World War - but have been free and peaceful in living memory. Britain has been home for many years for me. England, the"green and pleasant land” is a country I have explored a lot on my bicycle and foot. 
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From my readings of English literature in childhood, it’s a place I felt nostalgic about even before having set foot here. Yet, it is still only a close second to the majestic mountains and valleys, rivers and alpine forests, fields and orchards of Kashmir that are always in my mind. 

Kashmir was and still is the way the cliché goes – a paradise, no exaggeration, as Priyanka Mattoo put it in her recent piece in New York Times. It was that article that prompted me to write something, as our stories also diverge significantly at some point. I also made a home everywhere, among different cultures, but then, I also tried to go back. 

I was seven in the winter of 1989 when we left for the neighbouring province of Jammu, carrying with us memories of life in Srinagar and of our ancestral village, its orchards, its greenery, the fragrance of its earth during rains, and its views of Gulmarg and surrounding mountains. I left with memories of the balcony where my grandmother would tell stories in the strong evening breeze that are characteristic of a particular spot that overlooks the Baramulla valley. She would often talk about the invasion of October 1947 that first disrupted the tranquillity of our paradise and swallowed my grandfather. After losing him, grandmother’s life turned upside down by what she referred to as the "kabailee raid” - she had had a harsh life, bringing up my father and his younger siblings. Within forty years of that invasion, we were back to square one, staring at another realistic prospect of a forced migration. 
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There are memories imprinted on my mind of the year 1989 –like how my father would check under the car every morning for "unidentified objects", of news of disturbances, and of frequent curfews. On an evening out to see a new showroom that had opened in the city, we heard a bomb blast, which we later learnt had targeted a busy, Hindu-owned sweets shop called Shakti Sweets. 

Due to the violence, schools frequently remained closed, and my parents felt it was no longer safe to bring up a family or give a good education to me and my sister in Kashmir.At the onset of winter holidays that year, we left Kashmir like we used to every year, only this time, I didn’t get a chance to return for nearly a decade. 

There was also opportunity elsewhere, and means, that possibly weren’t available to many.

From a college magazine (early 2000s) - author's father with his students 
 
But, unlike many other families, especially Kashmiri Pandits and some Sikhs who made a permanent move, my father continued in his job in Kashmir. He would travel back and forth every few months, so life continued like this for nearly two decades until his retirement. Phone calls in that era were rare and there were many anxious moments.
 
I vividly remember the morning we woke up to the news of the Chittisinghpora massacre splashed across TV screens. After only a few weeks of that, my father had to get back to work. My father never considered a permanent move, and community grapevine would inform us that Sikhs, unlike Pandits, were regularly discouraged from registering as migrants by governments of the day. 

My own first visit back to Kashmir was in the late nineties. I definitely harboured a lot of resentment against those who had started all this violence and driven people away (many Kashmiri Pandit migrant accounts record explicit threats to their lives). Yes, we heard much about migrant camps or cramped rented quarters in which many of my Pandit classmates lived in Jammu. 
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The small, close-knit Sikh community in my village persisted - but they were always in a limbo, never knowing when they would have to suddenly move. Most with means to do so, made homes outside Kashmir over the years, but could not leave the place entirely due to various compulsions. There is something about old family roots, and this attachment to a homeland which you nurture with your sweat and blood. Many stayed because they either had jobs or small farms and orchards to tend to. Maybe, for many of the older generation, memories of 1984 were still fresh, when Kashmir had been an oasis of safety for Sikhs when they were targeted all over India.  

On that first visit back in the late nineties, I first experienced a Kashmir transformed by extreme militarisation – full of barracks, barriers, sandbags, and checkpoints everywhere. Filmmaker Sanjay Kak, also from Kashmir, in an interview, shared a similar experience on his first trip back. It is comforting to read and hear about many shared experiences, and many shared realities. 

There are also many experiences that diverge. Life in a conflict zone has many parallel realities; picking one of them is too hard and feels like an act of betrayal, an intellectual dishonesty. A hill close to my village that was visible from our balcony used to be full of trees when I was a kid, with only a road connecting a neighbouring village snaking over it. As a five-year old on weekend trips to visit grandmother in the village, I used to look forward to watching a 6 pm bus, one of only two a day, winding up that road every evening. Over the late nineties and first decade of twenty-first century,that hill was completely covered by a military garrison. 

When Kashmiris speak of "occupation” it has a very real meaning – when the fortresses cross your orchards, you never know if the fruit trees you will plant and nurture until fruit-bearing age will be dismantled in a blink. People learn to live in an atmosphere which a visitor can only describe as "prison”. How many people know the reality of living through something called "crackdowns” – when all male members of a village are summoned and lined up, many never to return?Are there many places in the world where ordinary people pluck fruit from their trees with watchtowers and guns aimed in their general direction? On a trip back to Jammu (where I went to school), I saw my bus driver casually asked to pull over and beaten, humiliated, in front of his bus full of passengers, for something as flimsy as speeding. That memory is etched in my mind, but I never quite fully processed it for years and years. Surely, the "security” forces were always right, and surely, "they” deserved it. 
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As I went to college far from home in Mumbai, years passed between any trips to Kashmir. 

There was a university degree to attain, and a career to build, which went reasonably well. Still, there was always this palpable lack of an anchor that one has with a sense of belonging to a homeland. I had somehow made my peace with the fact that I was of a homeland I could in all likelihood never return to. 

As I moved to Britain, and travelled around, I could sense how people, especially outside big cities, had a deeper connection with their countries. That sense of walking over to the local parish church and laying flowers on your ancestors' graves. Of people having built and nurtured their countries over generations, a sense of continuity with the past. A Portuguese colleague working in London told me how he could live here for some years, but would never like to die in a foreign land. Much as I felt at home in Britain, I had none of that. I would read about Kashmir from different perspectives that I had blocked in my mind in the past. I learnt how the January of 1990 had seen a civil uprising, retaliated by firings on protesters. I learnt of Kunan-Poshpora and the thousands that had "disappeared”, just like thousands had "disappeared” in the 80s and 90s in East Punjab. I read the history of Kashmir and knew I had to visit again. 

So, during the last five years, that is what I did - I visited very often. Staying weeks and occasionally months at a time, often either arranging my work to accommodate that or taking career breaks as I worked on my masters dissertation, I experienced life in Kashmir and its people, up close. I tried to look after apple trees that my father had planted, some nearly 40 years old, each telling a story. In my amateur way, on a borrowed tractor, I tried to till the land that my grandfather might have once tilled. The unbelievable peace and satisfaction I derived from that is not something I can describe easily, and neither what most people can understand. After all, why would one want to do this, throwing away a comfortable life in London?
 
I met and spoke to many local people, like an elderly Sikh relative who had been 16 at the time of the invasion of 1947 (he passed away this August, a few week after I left, and the news of his passing reached us after nearly a week due to the ongoing blockade).  I spoke to a Muslim gentleman who had been my father's primary school teacher in the 50s and had been the chief guest at his retirement. I travelled around to far-off corners of the province, soaking in the valleys, the villages, archaeological sites, the Martand sun temple, and the many Sikh Gurdwaras of historic significance dotted all around. I met the nomadic shepherds with their herds, people who worked in the apple orchards, fellow-villagers whose generations past have known mine. 

Whatever impression one might form of Kashmir from the news, it really is not a place that harbours sectarian hate or prejudice. In my ancestral village, Muslims and Sikhs live side by side, as do Hindus in other parts. I am rather surprised to read about the nature of sectarian divide in Northern Ireland – a physical wall separates the Catholic and Protestant parts of Belfast city! The people of Kashmir, despite what they have been through, are kind, simple, generous, and hospitable to everyone. No stranger you ever spoke to ever let you go without offering a cup of tea or an invitation to their home. Everyone I met in my village somehow knew who I was, like on a morning run, an elderly, saintly-looking Muslim villager who said he was happy I was back and should offer a lot of sewa at Hargobindpora (site of a Gurdwara marking Guru Hargobind Sahib’s visit, name fictionalised). I still don’t know who he was – just that he called himself the "Rishi” of Hargobindpora when I asked. Yes, I knew I was home. The bitterness in my heart was long gone, and I knew I was home. 
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Also Read: CALLING A BLUFF
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Then, just like that, on a long evening walk with my father in the fields and orchards around my village, we came across a tall and ancient-looking chinar tree. It was under that tree that my grandmother had made her final journey from this world. Yes, I knew I belonged.

After the events of August 2019, I also know that this is going to be a long exile; home is still a long way. 

Truth and reconciliation is hard work and needs a two-way effort. The political history of Kashmir is complex and needs honest analysis. I don’t understand how, in this enlightened era, where human mind has invented such complex technologies and structures, we have not managed to solve this conundrum. Genuine empowerment of the people, empathy, transparency, sincerity, understanding, and humility might be the way forward.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT







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‘THE RADIANCE OF A THOUSAND SUNS’
A sensitive intergenerational story of traumatic events in Punjab’s history
09.09.19 - AMANDEEP SANDHU
A sensitive intergenerational story of traumatic events in Punjab’s history



Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s epic novel scores in bringing together narratives centred on Punjab that until now have almost always been viewed in isolation. This story about Bibi-ji, Nooran, Jyot and Niki travels across four countries and two continents as Sodhi weaves a rich tapestry of location, character and memory spanning four generations of women of the Nalwa family.

The novel opens with a scene from the days of militancy in Punjab. Ordinary people have come to ask Niki’s father, a human rights lawyer, to accompany them in filing habeas corpus petitions for their missing sons. This scene from the past plays in Niki’s memory as she works as a volunteer at a New York non-profit, which handles undocumented migrants from South Asia.

Thus a parallel is drawn between the two states — India and the U.S. — as they turn predator towards their people. This theme runs through the novel as Sodhi takes us through its chief events: the Partition, Emergency, Operation Blue Star, the anti-Sikh pogrom, the era of militancy in Punjab, and finally 9/11 on the world stage. 
 
The novel has three sections, with different kinds of numbering and style demarcating them. The chapters with the Hindu-Arabic numerals take the main story ahead but in a non-linear way, thus creating suspense; the chapters with the Roman numerals weave in the framework of the Mahabharata to suggest that the stories of our land have been playing in circles over many millennia. The chapters with Roman numerals and blank pages speak of the silences that mark Jyot’s experiences of Partition, which left her bereft of her family; of 1984, when her husband and children were murdered; and of post 9/11 New York, where she finds herself a vulnerable migrant.

The novel’s title comes from the creator of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita, but here it also stands for a grand sun that Niki’s daughter traces on an embroidery by Niki’s nanny which Niki carries with her wherever she travels.Sodhi’s dexterity lies in giving her characters interiority, illuminating the darkness inside victims’ minds. She makes the process seem natural as Niki and her father try to write a book stitching together the inter-generational trauma of Punjab. This meta-ness of the novel serves only to highlight the historical reality as experienced by the women of Punjab. (Courtesy: The Hindu)
 
The Radiance of a Thousand Suns; Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, HarperCollins, Rs 499

 
Amandeep Sandhu is working on a non-fiction on Panjab.
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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