The horrors of Partition must be remembered — but for the right reasons

Source: The Hindu and Indian Express

Relevance: Announcement of 14th August as “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”.

Synopsis: The journey of remembrance should be to seek forgiveness and not to reopen wounds or reignite hatred

Importance of Remembrance Day

It is an attempt to acknowledge the sacrifice, mass killings, and violence and to seek forgiveness for the crimes committed against humanity and to make sure not to allow these kinds of terrible events to happen in the future again

Various other countries have celebrated National Remembrance Day like Israel, Germany and Japan. India too has announced its remembrance day on 14th Aug started from this year

Read More about Remembrance Day

Why does India need a remembrance day?
  • There is no national memorial in India to remember the horrors that happened during the partition.
  • Partition museum had been set up in Amritsar. It is established by a trust set up by a group of citizens, not by the government.
  • Although academic work on partition studies is there, it is yet not able to reach a large section of people. It is now limited to students and the academic community.
Why the date 14th Aug is a cause for concern?
  • Choosing the date of commemoration as 14th Aug can bring more harm as the same day has been celebrated by Pakistan as Independence Day.
  • It might also bring negative domestic political consequences, which can limit India’s foreign policy options.
  • There is the possibility to reopen wounds again, which can have dangerous consequences in future
  • There is an increase in cases of communal violence in India even after 1947. From Jabalpur (1961) to Rath Yatra killings (1989) to Babri Masjid Demotion Violence (1992-23) to Gujarat (2002). So, announcing Aug 14 is not ideal.
  • There have been various incidents happening across the country where the Muslim community has been targeted. These incidents are a threat to independent India’s vision of “Building a nation of communal Harmony”
What should we actually remember?

On the occasion of completing 74 years of independence, it is time to recall what is truly remarkable about our country — that it is home to an extraordinary spectrum of ethnicities, religions, languages and cultures.

We should grieve in silence & remember the people of all communities who lost their lives or were forced to flee their homes in the partition. For this, the government should also take the initiative to build a national museum of partition to remember/ recall those events.

Some sections tried to equate remembrance of partition with the Holocaust. However, we must remember that partition resulted in shared killing in the name of religion. The millions who lost their lives during Partition were all victims of a collective act of barbarism, which as a society, we are all to be blamed.

Way Forward

Remembrance is essential and should not be forgotten. But the remembrance should not turn to the remembrance of horrors. The hurt may turn to hate, it may open up wounds and hate may grow.

It is time to prevent the fragmentation of India on various fronts e.g. social and political, and we need to uphold India’s image of Unity in Diversity

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