As a rule, I stay away from partition and 1984 stories
But this one crept up unawares and before realising, I had read it. And then spent a sleepless night.
In the morning, I wondered why. And here is the answer:
What strikes me is their incredulity at what is about to happen. Even as the mob is entering their house to rape and kill, the person remains incredulous and unbelieving. He simply does not believe that his neighbours are going to kill him and rape and share his daughters.
Massacre of 1990:-
The same incredulity defines the massacre of 1990. No one thought it was going to be this bad. Or this sudden.
And 1970s terror in Punjab. No one thought things like this could happen. And 1984 – Rajiv Gandhi’s riots. How were the thousands mobilised, voter lists procured, and organisation of troops, arrangement of kerosene done so fast? Within hours?
The “surprise” element that comes up again and again in rioting proves:
- That there was asymmetry of information.
- That one side was far more aggressive than the other.
- That one side was also far better prepared than the other.
Let’s understand one thing first, which people not into politics may not be aware of. The hardest thing to do in politics, even harder than raising funds, is getting the ground organisation right. The karyakartas, the local level connects and leaders, and their mobilisation mechanism – setting up a ground level organisation takes months, even with unlimited supply of funds. Then, this machinery needs to be kept lubricated and ready for action, because elections happen every few years.
The ground level organisation for riots
The ground level organisation for riots is even more tricky. Because now you have to mobilise criminal elements, get ground support, and ensure no leakage. This tight sealing is what leads to information asymmetry. Then you have to ensure that the funds supply is in place and does not get delayed, else your operation can stop midway.
So, if the CAA protests have spread from JNU to AMU and from there to Osmania and then to other parts of the country, that is not a sudden thing. Ground organisation like that takes months to build. You have to radicalise people, ensure mobilisation mechanisms are in place and most importantly, ensure press coverage and a sympathetic press. This does not happen overnight.
I am more convinced every passing day that we will see a second partition in 2024. The level of mobilisation is the same.
Consider the timeline below:
1936: Jinnah returns from London and takes control of the Muslim League. For the first time, Nehru has a political adversary who is his equal in education, articulation, and advocacy / influence over Gandhi. What’s more, Jinnah marries this ability with resolve. He is determined to make a lasting, positive change.
2014: The Congress loses an election and a leader comes to power who is capable of real change and is resolute.
1936 – 1940:
1936 – 1940: Small news start appearing in the press about religion based skirmishes. These start as small things – one incident here, one skirmish there, one person dead, another injured. And slowly get more frequent and more violent. The frequency increases gradually, imperceptibly, but steadily. The narrative becomes religion based – slowly, imperceptibly, but definitely and increasingly. By 1940, the religions are polarised and the Muslims are clearly and openly aligned with the Muslim League. The slogan is for “Muslim hai to League mein aa.”
The Muslims routinely and every single time, get a lot of victim press and relief – both from the League, which champions their cause from a religious standpoint, and from the Congress, which, under the leadership of Gandhi, is keen on wooing the Muslim voter for the provincial elections. (The 1936 provincial elections did not lead to a universal victory for the Congress).
The Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists are painted as villains and their abuse cases buried under indifference. The Intelligentsia writes long articles about the threat of the Hindu nationalist, who will leave no space for the Muslim brethren. The media routinely gives prominent editorial space to such content.
The Christians are completely left out of this action. Neither are they attacked, nor they attack.
2015 – 2019:
2015 – 2019: Small news start appearing in the press about religion based skirmishes. These start as small things – one incident here, one skirmish there, one person dead, another injured. And slowly get more frequent and more violent. The frequency increases gradually, imperceptibly, but steadily. The narrative becomes religion based – slowly, imperceptibly, but definitely and increasingly. One 23 year old who was killed because of a Muslim girlfriend, one Muslim old man who was lynched because he was suspected of being a cattle thief.
1942: The country witnesses first national level religious riots. The riots leave hundreds dead – from both religions, but only the deaths of Muslims is mourned by the press and the political parties. The Hindu Mahasabha, Arya Samaj, and RSS, are isolated in trying to bring some focus on the mass rioting and raping done by the Muslims. Under the threat of the demand for Poorna Swaraj by the Krantikaris, Gandhi suddenly launches the Quit India Movement in August 1942. The riots are not mentioned anywhere and mysteriously vanish from public records.
The next elections are due and there is a need to add the vote bank to the franchise.
The Christians are completely left out of this action. Neither are they attacked, nor they attack. They do not take a political stand, nor offer any support, humanitarian or otherwise, to anyone.
First national level riots based on religion (started as CAA protests in Dec 2019 but are purely communal in nature).
The press focuses sympathetically on the Muslims and the Hindu, Sikh, Jain victims are completely left out of the narrative and press coverage. The Buddhists are now a separate vote bank and are left out. The next elections are due and there is a need to add the vote bank to the franchise. This is why a citizenship registry for Indians cannot be allowed.
The Christians take a stand only when their girls are converted in Kerala. They also take a stand against the regularisation of voter lists in India.
The Partition of India is finalised. The British government is still reeling under the loss in WWII and the logistics of the partition need to be worked out, but it is almost certain that India is to be divided along religious lines.
The Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 is first accepted and then rejected by the 2 leading parties.
Even though there are 2 years between the decision and the action, the 3 key stakeholders: The congress, the Muslim League, and the British, take no action to:
- Demarcate territory that will go to the 2 respective communities.
- Ensure smooth and peaceful movement of people with their assets to minimise bloodshed.
Instead, in August 1946, India again sees massive rioting on Direct Action Day. On this day, the Muslims in Kolkata basically get a free for all and kill 4,000 people, and render another 1,00,000 homeless within 3 days of rioting. Surprisingly, this, or the violence endured by the Bengalis in the partition of 1947, does not find mention in the popular narrative of the 1947 partition violence. The violence in UP, Punjab, and Delhi is highlighted in these narratives.
The intelligentsia, in the meantime, returns to its ivory towers, taking no responsibility for the hatred that they have fanned for more than a decade. The Press takes no responsibility for its role in the Carnage.
Only one person works at this time – Vallabhbhai Patel. He is the natural leader of the party. He works tirelessly to unite the princely states into India. He is poised to be the Prime Minister when power is transferred.
There will be massive religion based killing and culling. The powers that be will make no effort to save the common man. The intelligentsia will return to its ivory tower, Tut-tutting the violence and the intolerance. The media will accept no blame for lopsided reporting and incendiary writing.
Amit Shah will work during this time to ensure that there is unification of India.
1947: Two things happen:
- One million people from both sides are dead.
- Nehru, who was not being taken seriously by anyone, is, in a sudden, swift movement by Gandhi, made the PM of India.
2024: Two things will happen:
- More than one million people from both sides are dead.
- Rahul Gandhi, whom no one takes seriously as PM material, will become the Prime Minister of India.
Within 6 months of Nehru becoming PM, Gandhi is dead. This is the third attempt by Godse, but the first to succeed. He succeeds in the super secure Birla House. No enquiry is ordered into how he gained access to Gandhi in the first place. No one asks how the British could keep Gandhi safe but not Nehru.
Power does not leave the hands of the dynasty since then. When Shastri is elected PM, he is killed in Tashkent. No post-mortem is ordered, and within 9 days, Indira, who is not even a senior leader in the party, is made the PM without an election. 1984, when Indira dies, her son, who has no political experience at all, is made the Prime Minister overnight and without elections. At that time, he was not even an elected parliamentarian nor the leader of the party
The only difference between 1947 and 2024 is this:
In 2024, there is no Gandhi. I think that whoever is following that 1936-47 script is missing this very important point.
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