‘Bloodshed and disorder are not necessary evil in themselves if resorted for a noble cause. Among Muslims today, no cause is dearer or nobler than Pakistan’. – H.S. Suhrawardy (on the right side), then Prime Minister of Bengal in an article of The Statesman,5th August 1946, Calcutta
Study of decade-old communal violence intertwined with an attempt of ethical cleansing requires careful investigation of contemporary historical events which must not spare any sort of political correctness or evil appeasement policy. It has to be told loud and clear which should be transmitted through generations.
Following the thumping victory of Muslim league in 97% seat of Muslim electorate in Bengal province in 1946 which also led to the formation of Muslim league cabinet, their leaders decided to turn Calcutta into lab rat of their dream country ‘Pakistan’. The mindless genocide on the fateful day of 16th August was carefully instructed and executed by then PM HussainSuhrawardy himself which is reflected in the quotation given at the beginning. Also, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was in favour of limitless atrocity on Hindus which became clear when he said ‘I am not prepared to discuss ethics. We have a pistol and we are in a position to use it.’ Accordingly 22 of 24 police stations of Kolkata, Muslim were appointed in the post of Officer-in-Charge. Rest two had Anglo-Indians before the menace came down. DC(HQ) Norton Jones was substituted by Doha and Hafizuddin replaced DC(North), Satyen Mukherjee. Instead of controlling riot and saving lives Suhrawardy himself operated it from the control room of Lalbazaar, directing local police to release the Muslims if they were caught.
Riots broke out at Maniktala Bazar, Terreti Bazar, CR Avenue, Beadon Street crossing in the early morning on 16th August. The situation in Sealdah was very grave. A Hindu family arrived in Sealdah station from the countryside. The Muslim goons forcibly stripped the teenage girl and made her stand in the street. Dharmatala, ChandniChowk, Garpar, Harrison Road, Mullick Bazar, Ripon Street were stormed by Muslim National Guard rioters – roads became crimson and vultures were seen flying!!
The bestiality of Razakars affected Hindus of Kolkata across sections, castes, class, professions. For example, Rajab Ali was the leader of the Muslim mob from Kasai bustee (slum) which set fire in two Hindu slums of Sasthitala mostly inhabited by Dalits i.e. so-called lower castes. Suhrawardy personally visited the slum and areas around Narkeldanaga main road and Maniktala main road to organise groups of Hindu hunters in order to ensure a flood by the blood of Hindu corpses. In other picture, houses of many aristocrat Hindus living in Park Circus area were not spared either. One of them was Mr P.C Dey, a relative of MrNizamuddin, ex-CM of Bengal and a leader of Muslim league!! Others were Captain P.K. Sengupta, Professor S.C. Mahalanobis, Dr. Sachin Bose, Mr. J.C Gupta. Renowned mathematician JadavChakraborty’s house was attacked by five hundred Muslim mobs and women of that family were raped by the beasts other than getting robbed of their ornaments and other properties of the house. Famous actor ChabiBiswas of contemporary Bengali film industry also fell to the barbarism of Muslim league.
In another shocking incident in Metiaburuz, around seven hundred Bihari and Odiya labourers were butchered by a Muslim mob which was led by local communist party leader Sayed Abdulla Farooqui. On 17 August, Farooqui, the President of Garden Reach Textile Workers’ Union, along with Elian Mistry, a hardline Muslim League hooligan, led a huge armed mob into the mill compound of Kesoram Cotton Mills in the Lichubagan area. Hindu labourers were also part of the same union of Communist Party of India. They even showed their union cards to the bloodthirsty mobs whom they used to know as ‘comrade-in-arms’ only to get laughed away and murdered!! Their bodies were chopped and thrown into the river. In the early hours of 17th August morning, a Hindu household at 25, BudhuOstragar Lane was ransacked by a Muslim mob. 25 members out of 37 were murdered. House was looted and set on fire. Few Muslim ruffians were arrested in connection to this incident who were later released under direct pressure from Suhrawardy.
Anti-Hindu pogrom didn’t limit itself to simple murder. Dehumanisation and brutalisation was remarkable characteristic of it which turned it into a fourth stage genocide. Sensationalisation of crime was necessary for them in order to inflict fear in heart of Hindus alive so that forcible conversion, as well as ‘dhimmitude’, could be sanctioned. In a version narrated by a cop namedGolokbehariMajumder who was a witness of the massacre, corpses of raped Hindu women were put on a skewer in a slaughterhouse to be seen by the public. In one of the most gruesome incident, four female students of Victoria College were raped and murdered and then their breasts were cut off to be hung from the outer walls of Victoria College Hostel. In the room where this incident took place has been kept sealed since then.
16th August didn’t happen overnight. Ignoring the century-long radicalisation of Muslim society and politicisation of radicalised Muslim elements of undivided Bengal will hinder the process of understanding of the genealogy of the anti-Hindu pogrom on the day of ‘Direct Action’. As deep as we can dig it may take us to Wahabi movement in the middle of the 19th century. One of the most remarkableWahabi leaders popularly known asTitumirhad history of massacring and forcibly converting Hindus of many villages. Historians suggested that Wahabi movement ceased to exist in mid-1860 but in reality it just cunningly shifted its strategy to asking the different state for Muslims from converting entire India to Dar-ul-Islam. Syed Ahmed Khan- the Two-Nation theory fame, NawabSalimullah of Dacca who founded Muslim League to persecute Bengalis (Hindus) in East Bengal, Ali brothers of Khilafat movement, ChowdhuryRahmat Ali and Muhammad Ali Jinnah were some very remarkable proponents of this new course of action.
1946 Kolkata &Noakhali, 1950 Barishal, 1966 Khulna, 1971 entire East Pakistan, 1989 Kashmir, 2002 Godhra are not isolated incidents from one another. It’s a continuous pattern which is followed and executed at different times at different parts of world. If the style of savagery exhibited by razakars in the Indian subcontinent is studied carefully one can unsurprisingly find resemblance with same done by ISIS in West Asia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shabab in Somalia in present days. It’s a chain of gruesome events which can be traced back to desert-dwelling tribes of Arabia in 6th century A.D.The incident in Sealdah railway station mentioned earlier reflected the mindset same from the Arab slave merchants to MaqbulFida Husain who painted Hindu Goddess and a Brahmin like that, while the Muslims were always dressed.
These are the valuable inferences which can be derived by studying nature of violence. It must be job of every unapologetic thinker out there to investigate the psychological orientation of perpetrators and trace its roots. 16th August is a saga of violence, bloodbath, betrayal which must not be forgotten or must not be forgiven either.
(The writer is a former student of applied bioscience, presently an avid learner of true political and cultural history of India)