When They Pretended to be kings – The last days of the raj

It was Monday night when I received the following text message (extract and in sms speak): �URGENT 12th March chnl 4@9pm � �last days of the raj� � C 4 urself how 70% of da Sikh homeland was given 2 pakistan & in return 600,000 Sikhs killed��
I tuned in at 9.10pm and was glued to the screen until 10.30pm.

There is a lot of emotion that runs through the mind when one watches ancestors struggling for freedom. What is further evident is the way 1000 of years of community life was divided. Emotions rise to concern that a few people decided the future and the division of assets together with boundaries.

I also thought one statement made by the many interviewee�s was quite prevalent �we allowed extremists from the Hindus and Muslim to divide a Country into 2�. In August it will be 60 years since those fateful days�

The documentary was part factual and part serialised – Yes, part factual as there were some interviewees that just could not help themselves to distort and misrepresent. It was almost as if their emotions and political ambitions were still alive today. Limited interviews with Sikhs was also interesting – Why did the researchers ignore the contribution of the Sikhs.
More Sikhs died for India’s freedom than from any other community.

Although I was born in the UK I�m shocked when I hear real and not orchestrated face-to-face eyewitness accounts. My father has told me about the horror at Amirtsar station, when train loads of, bludgeoned corpses arrived at the station, he was there. In addition, lost and orphaned children � what were those so called leaders thinking about? At one point in the dramatisation we see Lord Mountbatten, his wife and Nehru flying over the border regions between, they spot two lanes, both 150 miles long, travelling in opposite directions. They pause and speculate for a second about what will happen when they meet. Too late now, the damage was done and it would lay the foundations for future unrest.

It is also essential to remember that even after partition Punjab continued to be divided.
In addition, missing facts from the programme are of concern, for example broken promises to the Sikh community by Nehru.

60 years later with 2 major wars between India and Pakistan, together with countless border encounters, harmony is just not there. Was this disruption or partition plan intended as a way to create inherent and lasting limitations? Or, am I being too cynical? Remember, the gift of administration still weighs India and Pakistan down.

Some may suggest that India is exhibiting an economic turnaround.
I say, walk the streets and see the parallel lives that people live.
One parallel in high rise apartments, the other on the streets, aged 10, cleaning shoes and then running from the police to help an entire family fend. There is one other parallel, us in the West intellectualising over the whole situation.

Documentaries are great. SMS�s that remind us to tune in are great, yet the addressing the issue of balance and harmony is simply reserved for a G8 or Jee Ate summit.

Categories: 2007, Anti-Poverty, Sikhs

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