Thursday, March 5, 2009

India's Partition of 1947 - Is the world still paying a price?

Anyone familiar with the motion picture Gandhi will recall the plea made by Hindu leaders to their Muslim counterparts for the latter to drop their demand that India be partitioned and thereby create the Muslim state of Pakistan.

The Mumbai attacks, organized from outside India, and a list of many more, are symptomatic of Muslim "disaffection." Identifying that disaffection is easy according to some. Norman Berdichevsky, writing in New English Review, takes a different approach.

A few academics and editorial writers claiming to be scholars and quite a few liberal pundits/observers, have argued that some blame for the recent atrocious acts of terror in Mumbai should be put on India’s Hindus by stressing that the terrorist group of “disaffected Muslims” carrying out the outrage of random murder of civilians was “probably funded from outside India." They believe as Fareed Zakaria stated in Newsweek, that Indian Hindus “had it coming” because "One of the untold stories of India is that the Muslim population has not shared in the boom the country has enjoyed over the last 10 years. There is still a lot of institutional discrimination, and many remain persecuted."

He continues,
This view is not just wrong and short-sighted, it is symptomatic of why India has become a major target for terrorism that enjoys widespread support not only in Pakistan but in the wider Muslim world. Hatred of India stems from a psychological need to link India and Israel as guilty in the “injustice” Muslims believe they have suffered and to deflect blame and muddy the waters by shifting responsibility for the Partition of India in 1947 to the Hindus and conjuring up the vision that the Jews and Zionism did precisely this in Palestine in 1948. Nothing is further from the truth.

Berdichevsky explores the similarities and dissimilarities between India and Israel and the partitions that created the modern states. But he does not brook the argument that the creation of modern Israel was foisted on a Muslim population.

The truth of the 1948 partition in Palestine is that the Muslims rejected it totally and any possibility of living in peace alongside a tiny Jewish state. Instead they aided in the invasion of the country by the regular armies of six Arab states plunging their homeland into war and ending as defeated refugees. Had they accepted it, the great majority of Palestinian Arabs would today be enjoying the rights of their own independent homeland without the bloodshed of the last sixty years and a minority of them would be citizens of a much more secure, serene and tolerant Israel, untroubled by the threat of constant renewed warfare and terrorism.

Read the full article A Tale of Two Partitions: India 1947 and Palestine 1948 here.

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