Friday, April 09, 2021

How to divide societies that the British could not divide

The year was 1905. Bengal was the strongest opposition to British rule in India. It was educated, wealthy, and vocal. In short, Bengal was a pain for the British Empire in India. 

Because Divide and Rule must solve all problems, the British decided to divide Bengal - on religious grounds, what else? 

But Britain had not accounted for what came next? 

Bengal would not be divided. 

For 6 years, Britain proposed, Bengal disposed. 

Finally, in 1911, the mighty British empire had to concede defeat and the partition of Bengal was annulled. The Hindus and Muslims of Bengal were united, and united they shall remain. 

The year was 1919. Punjab was now becoming a hotbed of protest, led by able leaders. Before and after Jallianwala Bagh (April13th), the British rule tried its best to divide Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab. It was that unity that was holding Punjab together. If the Sikhs and Hindus would fight, there would be no protests. 

That did not happen. The wedge was divided between the Punjabi Hindu and the Punjabi Muslim (largely based on geography - there was a difference between Eastern and Western Punjab), but the Hindus and Sikhs remained united. There was, in fact, no difference between the 2 communities. It was impossible to drive a wedge where the eldest child in many families was Sikh and the rest of the family Hindu. 

In short, the great Dividers failed to drive a wedge on these 2 occasions in India. 

But what the Brits can't do, the Congress always can. 

In 1945, once the partition of  India was finalised, the Direct Action Day was ordered - directly by Jinnah. Over 5000-7000 people died in a single day, and whatever images of that day have survived, are blood curling, to put it mildly. 

Who was blamed for the Direct Action Day? Jinnah and the Muslim League. Yet, just 40 years ago, these 2 communities had defeated the entire Imperial power and intrigue, to remain united. 40 years is a really short time - how did we go from United Bengal to Direct Action Day? Was it really just the Muslim League? And the Muslims? 

In 1978, Punjab started to see something it had never seen - Sikh terrorism. For 6 years, that land of milk and honey was coloured red. At the end of it, Punjab was not partitioned, but the unity had taken a toll. Who got blamed? Bhindrawale and Sikh terror. 

But was it really that? 

In short, The Congress has managed what even the Brits could not manage. 

Recently, in the farmer protests, Khalistani and other words started being reported in the media and suddenly, within a week, the Sikhs were branded Khalistanis and terrorists again. 

Still wonder why we hate the Congress? 

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