The 1947 Communal Violence in Lahore

Topics: Pakistan, Indian National Congress, India Pages: 11 (3994 words) Published: December 12, 2011
1. The 1947 Communal Violence in Lahore. Today, I am going to talk about the communal violence that erupted in Lahore on the very creation of Pakistan in 1947. Lahore being the 2nd most populous city of today’s Pakistan, is one of the three oldest living cities of the world and had undergone a great deal of violence and forced migration in 1947.

2. Here, you can see the map of Indian sub-continent before its partition into Pakistan and India in August 1947. From early 16th century to 1857, the Indian sub-continent was predominately ruled by Mughals. Gradually, Mughals lost their empire in the hands of British and by 1857, the British have established themselves as the rulers of Indian sub-continent. The Indian sub-continent was divided into two separate nation-states, India and Pakistan, in 1947, with the end of 150 years British rule in the region.

3. But with a huge price, 12 to 15 Million people were forcibly transferred between the newly created states. Somewhere, between 1 to 2 million people were murdered. 75,000 women were raped by men of different religion.

4. The history of partition begins with the formation of Indian National Congress in 1885 with demands of participation of educated Indians in the government. At first, the Congress was not anti-British, however, with the passage of time and increasing popularity, the Indian National Congress became active in independence of India form British rule. Skeptical of the Congress’s ruling elite of majority Hindus, in 1906, All India Muslim League came into being in order to protect and represent the interests of Muslims in India which formed 25-30% of total population. Later, the party demanded a separate homeland for Muslims in name of Pakistan. The basis for such a demand lay in the promulgation of Two-Nation theory which was first echoed in the gathering of Muslim League in 1930 by Allma Muhammad Iqbal, the famous poet, a philosopher and a leader of Muslim League. Iqbal asserted in his ideology of two nations that Muslims and Hindus are two separate nations having different religious philosophies and social customs. On March 23rd, 1940, this ideology of two different nations was transformed into demand for a separate state for Muslims of Indian subcontinent by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the presidential address of All India Muslim League. And by 1947, the British rule came to an end with the creation of Pakistan and India.
5. From 11th century till 1947, Lahore had been under rule of Afghans, Mughals and Sikh and the capital of Punjab province. Here, you look at the map of Punjab before partition. Punjab was one of the main provinces of British India. The word ‘Punjab’ means ‘Land of five rivers’. Historically, Punjab has been a region within and around these five rivers with its own language, culture and life style. The eastern part of Punjab was populated with Hindus and the western part of Punjab had a majority of Muslims. Lahore was almost at the center of Punjab and continued to serve as its capital under Muslims, Sikh and British regimes.

6. All of whom had contributed to its cultural heritage and social life in their own way. Muslim, Sikh and Hindus all had their historic buildings, religious places, legacies, socio-cultural festivals and a lot more to relate to Lahore. At the beginning of 20th century, the British took a keen interest in its development and built hospitals, colleges, roads, libraries and museum. The political, social, cultural and economic activates happening at Lahore had a meaning and impact all over British India. Lahore, undoubtedly, was one of the principal cities of Indian sub-continent. However, what made Lahore an experience of heart touching life was its inter-communal amity. The three major, religiously based communities - Muslims, Hindus and Sikh were living in a peaceful co-existence for centuries.

7. In Punjab, traditionally, caste and professions were interlinked. The...
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