Peace is Potential if India and Pakistan Hearken to Every Different’s Tales of Partition

It has been 75 years since India and Pakistan gained independence from the British.  Though the 2 international locations rejoice their freedom with a lot fanfare yearly, they largely ignore the partition of the nation that accompanied freedom from British rule.

It’s a cliche to say that partition was traumatic. Intertwined with hatred and battle, partition was a bitter value to pay for freedom. It led to the most important displacement of individuals in historical past with individuals fleeing throughout the newly-defined border within the hundreds of thousands. Round 12 million fled their properties and 1,000,000 had been killed. Innumerable households misplaced their family members or had been separated from them. The partition deepened the Hindu-Muslim divide within the Indian subcontinent. 

The official story of partition in each Pakistan and India is sort of solely political. Every nation tasks the opposite as an enemy.  That is how each international locations educate their college youngsters historical past.  They barely make any point out of the big struggling and ache endured by hundreds of thousands on either side from the violence, lack of members of the family and the break-up of households.  A primary-time reader typically has little thought of the carnage that came about and infrequently fails to comprehend that members of all foremost communities had been each perpetrators in addition to victims of violence.


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But wounds of partition stay. Over time, they’ve festered. The divide, tensions and risk of battle between India and Pakistan continue to grow. Hate has grown on each side of the border. The 2 international locations have fought three wars and now have nuclear weapons to safe themselves in opposition to one another. Political commentaries largely denigrate and blame the opposite aspect. Youngsters develop up listening to that the opposite aspect is the “enemy” and the cycle of hate and violence continues.

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A time for peace

Regardless of the grim state of affairs, peace is feasible if individuals hear and share tales. To heal the divide, the 2 international locations would wish to take a primary step. They have to discover brave and constructive methods to look at and inform the story of the partition. This historic occasion induced great violence. One group of individuals had been separated from one other on the premise of faith. With out acknowledging this self-inflicted wound, peace will at all times be elusive. An admission of the atrocities dedicated and a honest apology by each side may very well be a primary step.  Significant expressions of regret may very well be created within the type of museums, such because the current Partition Museum in Amritsar.

Moreover, individuals in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh want an opportunity to listen to one another’s tales of trauma and struggling endured throughout partition. It might be essential that these tales of trauma and struggling are informed in a protected area by those that endured them and that every aspect listens deeply to the opposite with out blame and judgment. Every group can maybe come to see how their very own phrases and actions incited hatred, division and acts of violence amongst individuals throughout and since partition. Solely then can there be a hope of restoring a semblance of communication between the 2 international locations and folks that’s pleasant, sustainable, and never adversarial.


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A number of communities around the globe are working to heal divisions that stem from hatred. They’re working to beat variations in tradition, race and faith. Their work exhibits the way in which ahead. Within the case of the Israel-Palestine battle, dad and mom on each side who’ve misplaced youngsters to violence have come collectively to kind peace circles to verify it doesn’t occur once more. The households use their ache and grief to affix collectively to work for peace. Sharing and listening to the private and societal narrative of the opposite aspect is a central a part of this step towards reconciliation between the 2 peoples. It isn’t simple for any of those individuals to beat their preconceived notions of the opposite and select forgiveness and reconciliation as an alternative of revenge and retaliation. However they’ve proven it’s doable.

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In Northern Eire the place Catholics and Protestants have suffered over 400 years of battle, a forgiveness challenge has helped begin a dialogue between households on both aspect that misplaced shut family members to the civil conflict. Members of the family collaborating within the challenge are in a position to come out of anger and resentment, and transfer in direction of peace and forgiveness. By one another’s tales, they notice a Catholic household suffers simply as a lot as a Protestant household when a member of the family is killed and not need their tragedy to divide one another.

In South Africa, after the top of apartheid, Desmond Tutu helped set up a Fact and Reconciliation Fee (TRC) whose work was to listen to tales of struggling and trauma individuals had endured whereas those that had inflicted hurt got an opportunity to confess what they’d completed and say sorry. Tutu realized that for peace to have an opportunity it was necessary for reality to return out and tales of struggling be informed. With out this, the 2 communities wouldn’t be capable to stay side-by-side in peace.

India and Pakistan have a selection

India and Pakistan have an opportunity to deliver peace to their individuals. A vital problem is to acknowledge and honor the previous as the 2 international locations sit up for the longer term. Folks can’t heal from the injury and turmoil of partition with out telling their tales, these tales then being listened to, and gaining a fuller image of the reality. In any other case, trauma will proceed to go on from one era to the following and fester within the type of anger, hatred, and suspicion for the opposite aspect.

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Just like the examples from different elements of the world, sharing the truth of what occurred could be liberating in addition to empowering people. Within the case of Indians and Pakistanis, sharing tales would allow them to comprehend the destruction brought on by partition. Work has already begun on this route with oral historical past tasks reminiscent of The Residents Archive, The 1947 Partition Archive, and BoltiKhidki recording private tales of partition survivors. These tales have additionally come out within the media lately. Extra must be completed shortly although as a result of partition survivors are getting very outdated. As an illustration, either side can maybe set up reconciliation classes related in spirit to TRC’s listening classes.

Peace leaders reminiscent of Mahatma Gandhi and Tutu acknowledged the law-like nature of violence which operates on the particular person, household, group, or nation stage. They famous  that phrases and actions that divide us are violent, and people who deliver us collectively are non-violent. They understood violence results in extra violence and peace results in extra peace. To safe their future, the 2 international locations can consciously select to place ahead a special face and work in direction of peace. This could entail together with sharing of tales, listening to the opposite, accepting accountability, forgiving, and making amends as per the toolbox for peace. If completed rigorously, this train guarantees to assist create a greater future for each India and Pakistan as properly their individuals.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Truthful Observer’s editorial coverage.