Ae Watan Watan Mere

Hello! My name is Naveen Bhat, and today I am going to attempt to answer the question-

How did partition affect my views and how were those around me affected by it?

My credentials are- I’m an Indian by birth, and I spent the first 28 years of my life living in India and travelling extensively throughout the country- from Leh in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, from Surat in the west to Shillong in the east. Before I begin, I am not going to delve on the actual event of partition. There are ample sources on the internet that document the event that led to anywhere between 200,000 to 2 million deaths [1], instead I must first ponder over the question- was partition truly necessary?

To answer that, let us roll the clocks back 10 years before partition, to the 1937 Indian provincial elections. History will tell you that there were primarily two nationalist political parties during the British Indian Empire leading up to independence- the secular Indian National Congress (established in 1885), and the All-India Muslim League (established in 1906). While the Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement after 1920 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Muslim League rose to prominence in the 1930s under Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s vision of a separate nation-state and the rationale of the two-nation theory. Coming back to the 1937 elections, the Congress won 707 seats to the League’s 106 across India. The Muslim League failed to form the government in any province.[2] This is where Muhammad Ali Jinnah comes in. To quote Jaswant Singh in his book Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence [3], “the events of 1937 had a tremendous, almost a traumatic effect upon Jinnah”. Despite his beliefs of twenty years that Muslims could protect their rights in a united India through separate electorates, provincial boundaries drawn to preserve Muslim majorities, and by other protections of minority rights, Muslim voters had failed to unite, with the issues Jinnah hoped to bring forward lost amid factional in-fighting. As if to rub it in their faces, the Congress formed a government with almost all non-Muslim members, even in the Muslim-majority provinces. It is around this time that Jinnah as the president of the Muslim League, after the 1937 vote, turned to the idea of partition in sheer desperation [4], coming around to Iqbal’s view that Indian Muslims required a separate homeland. To quote Muhammad Iqbal’s 1938 address,

“There is only one way out. Muslims should strengthen Jinnah’s hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question (…) can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it, our demands are not going to be accepted. People say our demands smack of communalism. This is sheer propaganda. These demands relate to the defense of our national existence…. The united front can be formed under the leadership of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only on account of Jinnah. Now none but Jinnah is capable of leading the Muslims.”

Over the next decade, however, the League’s leadership began mobilising the Muslim masses, leading up to, of course, them getting what they wanted- the partition of India. Now, I am no expert on history or politics, but it seems to me like this entire thing was born out of a power struggle between two political parties. It is clear that the Muslim League realised that the only way they could ever be in power was if there was a Muslim state to control.

At this point, I must point out, however, that contrary to popular perception and history taught in schools, at least in Pakistan I’m positive, it was only the Muslim League that put forward the two-nation theory. Despite Jinnah, in the wake of the 1937 elections, demanding that the question of power sharing be settled on an all-India basis, and that he, as president of the League, be accepted as the sole spokesman for the Muslim community, many Muslims in British India “ferociously opposed the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan” [5]. The All India Azad Muslim Conference, for example, advocated for a united India, opposing the partition. Allah Bakhsh Soomro, in his 1940 Delhi address, stated:

“Whatever our faiths we must live together in our country in an atmosphere of perfect amity and our relations should be the relations of the several brothers of a joint family, various members of which are free to profess their faith as they like without any (…) hindrance and of whom enjoy equal benefits of their joint property. No power on earth can rob anyone of his faith and convictions, and no power on earth shall be permitted to rob Indian Muslims of their just rights as Indian nationals.”

This is in-sync with the collective dream, the dream of a free land and free will, dreamt by our ancestors, irrespective of the God or religion they subscribed to, who fought as one against our common colonial oppressor. It is ironic that when the dream was finally realised, it was marred by blood and tears.

Now, don’t get me wrong. As an advocate for minority rights, I have great respect for Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He fought for the rights of Parsis, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus even after the creation of Pakistan. But it saddens me that the situation got to a point where splitting the country into two was the only way the leaders of Congress and the League could both simultaneously be in power. Also, if the real motivation behind the creation of a new Islamic state was so the minority would have the rights they otherwise would not have had in an undivided free India, then I’m sorry to say, subsequent Pakistani generations made a mockery of Jinnah’s dream by alienating members of minority communities. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, between 1947 and 2019, religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, has reduced from 23% to a mere 4% of the total population.

Speaking of the partition in itself, in all, 14 million people were displaced from their homes and up to 2 million died, and along with the fact that we got a British architect Sir Cyril Radcliffe to draw up the boundary lines, it makes me want to believe that the very act of partition was ill-planned and done in complete haste. And I’m not even going to get started on the mess in Kashmir. From the Indian perspective, having done my math, only 66% of Indian Muslims actually made up West and East Pakistan in 1947. Over a third (35.25%) of the total Muslim population chose to stay back in India. But if Jinnah & Co. posited that Muslims would be under-represented in an undivided India, they were surely going to be now. According to British India’s Census of 1941, 24% of the total Indian population (91 million) was Muslim. After partition in 1947, the number dropped to 10% (1951 Census), but has since gone up to 14% in the past 60 years. In the most ideal of worst cases where partition was an inevitability, the least the leaders on both sides could have done is to make sure there was a clean sorting of Muslims on one side and non-Muslims on the other, because one cannot help but admit that whatever beef (pun intended) Hindus and Muslims had with one another prior to 1947, the partition only made it worse in the decades to come, on either side of the border. I can only imagine how deeply frustrating and heartbreaking it must have been for the majority of the people who fought so hard, and knowing their fellow countrymen had laid down their lives in sacrifice so that we could live to be free, to see it get sliced to pieces. Most of us did not want this, and given a choice, would rather live in a free undivided India.

So, going back to the original question, in the generations following the partition, strictly from an Indian perspective, because of the long history of Persian invasions in India, Muslims were always seen as “outsiders”. The Mughal Empire managed to bring it down to an extent, by accepting this land as their own, but xenophobia and negative stereotypes against people of Islamic faith had always been around for centuries, but partition only made it worse. For a brief period in the early 20th century, the people of India had got a taste of how real unity and oneness feels like, when the entire nation irrespective of race, religion or gender, collectively fought against British oppression as one being, especially after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that shook the nation out of its slumber. But when the Muslim League demanded a separate nation and got their way, the rest of us naturally felt betrayed. That resentment was wrongfully directed by some in the form of mistrust and hatred toward the few Muslims who chose to remain loyal to their original motherland. People wanted someone to blame and the ones who remained were easy targets. Islam got the reputation of a faith that does not compromise neither will fit into society, but instead try to create their own society. The rise of radical Islamic militancy and terrorism (particularly in Kashmir) has not helped their case at all. I’m not proud of this part of my country’s history and current reality, but it is what it is. Even today, most Muslims in India live in ghettos, and in poverty. If they try to raise a voice against injustice, they are mocked and asked “so why didn’t they go to Pakistan”. If Jinnah or Iqbal were alive today, they would probably say “I told you so”. Cow vigilantes in interior India, harassing and lynching those who consume beef, is an occurrence that happens more often than can be ignored. In the crudest of examples, every time there is a cricket match between India and Pakistan, the Indian Muslim feels the pressure to prove his/her loyalty to the Indian cricket team, which is sad, to be honest. Nobody deserves to live a life in constant fear and insecurity in their own country. But then, minority discrimination has marred civilisation throughout history and continues to do so all over the world. That does not make it okay, however.

But, having said that, these incidents and occurrences are few and far in-between, compared to the size of India’s population and landmass. India has made a conscious effort to remain a secular country we promised ourselves we would be in our constitution. Every major holiday of every religion is observed. Eid and Christmas may not be as big as Holi and Diwali but it is still celebrated by everybody. For a country that only has 14.2%, 2.3% and 1.7% of its population following the faith of Islam, Christianity and Sikhism respectively, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs sure have found representation in all walks and professions, be it in academics, armed forces, public services, sport, art, music, movies or politics. 3 of the 14 Presidents (4, if you count Chief Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah as Acting President for 35 days in 1969) and 4 of 13 vice Presidents were Muslim, including the most beloved of them all and someone I consider my role model, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. My other favourite icons are Shah Rukh Khan, A R Rahman, Farhan Akhtar and Zaheer Khan all happen to be Muslim, now that I realise. But I digress. India, as a nation, still has a long way to go. Communal tension is merely one of the many problems it faces right now, and the struggle to overcome is very much on. To answer the second part of the question, as to how those around me were affected by the partition… Honestly, we weren’t. It is important to realise that India had a population of 430 million in 1947, of which only 3% of the people were actually affected by the partition, most of them concentrated in Punjab and Bengal. I come from the south-west coast of India. My family and ancestors were more affected by the Portuguese oppression in Goa than the British and the entire Hindu-Muslim partition saga that followed, but that is a topic for another day, right?

In conclusion, did partition serve its purpose? No. If 1937 was a Congress vs Muslim League power grab with Britain being the third party benefactor, present day it is India vs Pakistan with the third parties being China, USA and the like. Nothing much has changed post the original Brexit of 1947. Could we have avoided the four wars that were needlessly fought over the past six decades? Maybe. Does it mean the lives, time and resources used up in war and arms deals only meant at intimidating one another could have been instead used to provide food, infrastructure and education to all on either side of the border? Hell yeah! Sure, I realise there is no going back, and we must learn to accept that. But if the whole point of history is to remind us of our mistakes, learn from them and never repeat them again, I think we are going wrong somewhere, and we need to look at how we should fix that. I shall continue to remain hopeful. Also, contrary to media perception and internet trolls, the fact is the common man in India and Pakistan alike does not hate one another. All said and done, we still are essentially the same people divided by an imaginary line drawn by a white dude, and that, my friend, is the story of partition summed up in a sentence.

[1] Talbot, Ian; Singh, Gurharpal (2009), The Partition of India, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-85661-4
[2] Wikipedia, 1937 Indian Provincial Elections
[3] Singh, Jaswant (2009). Jinnah: India—Partition—Independence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-547927-0.
[4] Puri, Balraj (1–7 March 2008). “Clues to understanding Jinnah”. Economic and Political Weekly. Bombay: Sameeksha Trust. 43 (9): 33–35. JSTOR 40277204
[5] Ashraf, Ajaz (17 August 2017). “India’s Muslims and the Price of Partition”. The New York Times.

Also read: The Pakistanianish Penguin

Week 1537 : Texas, Texas, and More Texas

Continued from Day 10752

Day 10753
Monday, 28 January 2019

German B1 level from today!

We were supposed to write a report in German about our supposed hike yesterday. I have half a mind to write a really scathing one. I am only limited by my vocabulary. I shall go for a passive-aggressive no-chill one instead. It was partially my fault for communicating poorly. In my defence, I said the trip will be cancelled/postponed if it rains. It did not freakin’ rain all morning. My report should make up for it. That is how you express discontent, kids. Honest, and in German. I could have told them the same thing yesterday when we met for lunch, but they were with their partners and kids. I did not want to.

But all is okay. We will reschedule another day when it is sunny and make it worthy. No big deal, really. I am just overreacting, haha. I am really not that upset, in fact, if I think about it.

Shay says, “According to something I saw on the Internet, there is a subReddit where teens are trying to figure out how to get vaccinated without their parents consent.”

I am proud of the next generation. I am also sad that we are leaving them a fucked up planet that we are making no real effort to fix. It’s like starting the game on difficult mode with no tutorial or controls.

Fuckin’ backache is making the knee pain bearable. I think I am dying. If this is me before I turn 30, I am genuinely scared of my 40s. I intend to die at 61. How will I make it so far? 

I have to go to the doctor tomorrow. I got delayed by homework this morning. It is not just my knee now. The back and head have arrived to the party. It snowed briefly during the German class. 3 new people joined us today- one each from China, Suriname and Yemen. Now we are up to 9.


🇮🇳 India beat New Zealand 🇳🇿
🇳🇵 Nepal beat United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪
🇳🇬 Nigeria beat Rwanda 🇷🇼
🇷🇼 Rwanda beat Nigeria 🇳🇬

Cricket, Ranji Trophy Semifinal, Karnataka vs Saurashtra:
Karnataka (1st inning) 275 all out
Saurashtra (1st inning) 236 all out
Karnataka (2nd inning) 239 all out
Saurashtra (2nd inning) 279/5
Saurashtra win by 5 wickets

Poor umpiring decisions! I also came across a beautifully written piece called When Vinay Kumar met Cheteshwar Pujara.

Football, AFC Asian Cup:
Semifinal 1: 🇯🇵 Japan beat Iran 🇮🇷, 3-0

Day 10754
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

I went to the doctor, and ended up late for class. I hate going late to class. I find it impossible to catch up and blend in whenever I go late. Mir wurde gerade klar, dass ich in B1 nichts verstehe. I’m not understanding anything, no kidding. Today’s German class sucked. I did not know what was going on for most of it. I was already a hour and a half late. Everyone must have thought something was wrong with me because I was not participating as always. I hate myself.

Also, of course the moment I go to the doctor, my knee decides to behave. She made me lie down, bent it several ways, checked for inflammation, nope. Nothing. It felt perfectly fine. No pain. But the moment I climbed down the stairs, I was limping again. She gave me a prescription for some sort of a gel to apply on it when it hurts, and a recommendation to see a orthopaedic if it continues to hurt even after a week.

In other news, the coldest place in the world this morning was in Ontario, Canada. What if EU decides to kick Britain out before they decide to leave? It’s been three years at the door. #PlotTwist

I applied to register as an overseas elector. If accepted, I may get to vote in the general elections in April! If Rahul Gandhi is the opposition candidate, I would rather we continue with the same Prime Minister, because Rahul Gandhi’s only achievement is being a 6th generation Gandhi.

Speaking of which, I find it amusing that someone would find offence at being expected to know that the Gandhi family is not related to M K Gandhi. Of course, there is absolutely no reason to know the Prime Minister of a country like India. Why would there be? (sarcasm) Ironically, it is the same condescension and ignorance that drives most Indians like me, so watch out for my country. We have arrived.

If there was one person in the world I would wish for an autograph from, it would be Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. What about you?

🇮🇳 India beat New Zealand 🇳🇿
🇷🇼 Rwanda beat Nigeria 🇳🇬

There are no groups at the World Cup this year, for the first time since 1983. It is an all-play-all league system. This should be interesting!

🇮🇳 India beat Spain 🇪🇸, 5-2

Football, AFC Asian Cup:
Semifinal 2: 🇶🇦 Qatar beat United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪, 4-0

Alemannia Aachen beat Wegberg-Beeck, 1-0

Day 10755
Wednesday, 30 January 2019

50874002_530682114084287_2979932018877399040_nI came home during the break. It is snowing. My head, knee and back hurt, and I fatherfucking fuck do not understand a word in German class anymore. I just want to give up and die.

Lauren says, “So, you’re just going to give up because something’s harder than before?”

Isn’t that pretty much the story of my 20s summed up in a sentence?

I just watched Archangel, the S04E02 of Black Mirror. I’m not even a parent yet and I was like whoa. I could totally relate with the mom. I don’t think I’d make a good parent. I’d choke the kid too. Too much love and protection from society’s problems to the point of harm. A huge ass #respect to all the parents out there, because it is not easy being a parent and knowing the line between protectiveness and paranoia.

🇿🇦 South Africa beat Pakistan 🇵🇰

Football, Indian Super League:
Bengaluru beat North East United, 2-1

Day 10756
Thursday, 31 January 2019

I did not go to German class today. I will probably not go tomorrow as well. I decided to take a break and recharge, and go back fresh on Monday. I think it was only a trigger. For the first time since I moved here, I found myself questioning my decision to come to Germany. And regret is a very strong emotion to shake away. I just need a couple of days off to improve my health and frame of mind. I shall be back to learn Deutsch mit meinen Guten Freunden.

🇳🇿 New Zealand beat India 🇮🇳
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates beat Nepal 🇳🇵
West Indies beat Pakistan 🇵🇰

Cricket, West Indies vs England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿, End of Day 1:
England (1st inning) 187 all out
West Indies (1st inning) 30/0
West Indies trail by 157 runs

🇪🇸 Spain drew India 🇮🇳, 2-2

Day 10757
Friday, 1 February 2019

51068907_235801047303562_1796515340230852608_nI do not feel so well. I have not attended German class in two days. I just sleep all day. This sinus infection is back to ruin my life.

In other news, 600 Indian students trapped in an US immigration racket.

Headache. Those sinuses again. Speaking of which, I find it amusing when people do things without knowing what they are doing. One of my American friends happened to mention neti as a solution to flush out blocked sinuses. But I realised they had no idea that neti was a form of yoga. It speaks of the spread of awareness about yoga across the world (which is good, I guess. Yoga puts you in touch with your inner self) but also ignorance of what and how (which is disappointing).

I made sardine curry.

🇳🇿 New Zealand beat India 🇮🇳
🇳🇵 Nepal beat United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪
🇿🇦 South Africa beat Pakistan 🇵🇰
West Indies beat Pakistan 🇵🇰
🇿🇦 South Africa beat Sri Lanka 🇱🇰

Cricket, West Indies vs England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿, End of Day 2:
England (1st inning) 187 all out
West Indies (1st inning) 272/6
West Indies lead by 85 runs

Cricket, 🇦🇺 Australia vs Sri Lanka 🇱🇰, End of Day 1:
Australia (1st inning) 384/4
Australia lead by 384 runs

🇮🇳 India drew Ireland 🇮🇪, 1-1

Football, AFC Asian Cup:
Final: 🇶🇦 Qatar beat Japan 🇯🇵, 3-1

World Cup 2022 hosts win their first ever Asian Cup

Day 10758
Saturday, 2 February 2019

‘I want my old life back’, says German woman who joined Islamic State at 15. Yeah, of course you do.

Cricket, West Indies vs England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿:
England (1st inning) 187 all out
West Indies (1st inning) 306 all out
England (2nd inning) 132 all out
West Indies (2nd inning) 17/0
West Indies win by 10 wickets

Cricket, 🇦🇺 Australia vs Sri Lanka 🇱🇰, End of Day 2:
Australia (1st inning) 534/5 declared
Sri Lanka (1st inning) 123/3
Sri Lanka trail by 411 runs

Day 10759
Sunday, 3 February 2019

I hit 2,500 views on my blog! 8 years, 175 posts, 157728 words, 307 comments, 39 likes, 2501 views from 34 countries. Such a celebrity, haha.

This guy was fed up with his classmate. He’s gone viral for calling out his own ignorance.

Today was the day I got Americansplained about my own country’s government system, when nobody even asked for it.

🇮🇳 India beat New Zealand 🇳🇿
🇿🇦 South Africa beat Pakistan 🇵🇰
🇳🇵 Nepal beat United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪
🇵🇰 Pakistan beat West Indies
🇿🇦 South Africa beat Sri Lanka 🇱🇰

Cricket, 🇦🇺 Australia vs Sri Lanka 🇱🇰, End of Day 3:
Australia (1st inning) 534/5 declared
Sri Lanka (1st inning) 215 all out
Australia (2nd inning) 196/3 declared
Sri Lanka (2nd inning) 17/0
Sri Lanka require 499 runs to win

🇮🇳 India beat Ireland 🇮🇪, 3-0

This is the last of my weekly posts containing stuff from my everyday life, along with sports updates. I am taking an unscheduled hiatus from blogging. Take care, stay awesome!

G.O.A.T : Indian Cricket Edition

Who are the 20 greatest Indian cricket players of all time?

Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar (Source: Wisden India)

I shall split my list into two parts. My list includes 10 batsmen and 10 bowlers, by sheer numbers over the years. This way, I ensure equal justice to both specialists.

10 Greatest Indian Batsmen** (of all time across all formats)

1 50192 957 Sachin Tendulkar Mumbai
2 41651 856 Rahul Dravid Karnataka
3 33035 768 Sourav Ganguly Bengal
4 31632 748 Gautam Gambhir Delhi
5 30428 499 Sunil Gavaskar Mumbai
6 29198 685 Virender Sehwag Delhi
7 28786 661 Mohammad Azharuddin Hyderabad
8 28646 615 Virat Kohli Delhi
9 26314 785 Yuvraj Singh Punjab
10 26107 838 Mahendra Singh Dhoni Jharkhand

10 Greatest Indian Bowlers** (of all time across all formats)

1 1707 678 Anil Kumble Karnataka
2 1631 442 Bishen Singh Bedi Punjab
3 1454 412 Srinivas Venkataraghavan Tamil Nadu
4 1392 783 Harbhajan Singh Punjab
5 1170 585 Kapil Dev Haryana
6 1168 560 Zaheer Khan Baroda
7 1071 253 Bhagwath Chandrasekhar Karnataka
8 1005 495 Amit Mishra Haryana
9 1003 544 Murali Kartik Railways
10 974 244 Erapalli Prasanna Karnataka

*Current players in turquoise.
**Numbers as on 1 February 2019.

You have the right to disagree with my list. Impact on the game is debatable, which is why Bradman vs. Tendulkar or Sobers vs. Sehwag was/will be debated for years, without a conclusion. Comparisons are easier when backed by numbers. Don’t we all love a spreadsheet analysis or graphs on a powerpoint slide? 🙂

Besides, give me a better list of cricketing greats than the one above, and we’ll talk. All opinions are welcome in the comments section.

Continue to G.O.A.T series : Episode 2.

Also read:
Why do Indians Love Cricket?

India : The Powerhouse of Spin Bowling
India’s Default Setting = Love For Cricket?