JA CHHILO AMAR DESH -What was Once My Country -By Tathagata Roy, Published By Mitra & Ghosh Publishers, Authentic Narrative on Post Partition Plight Of Bangladeshi Minorities

March 27th, 2017 | by Pranab Kumar Chakravarty
JA CHHILO AMAR DESH -What was Once My Country -By Tathagata Roy, Published By Mitra & Ghosh Publishers, Authentic Narrative on Post Partition Plight Of Bangladeshi Minorities

PARTITION of India in 1947 brought in its wake terrible human misery in the form of mass migration and terrible atrocities in the form of murder, mayhem and brutalization of womenfolk from western and eastern parts creating manifold problems for the uprooted people of Punjab, Bengal and Sind. There are, however, very fundamental and qualitative differences between two mass migrations. In Punjab, this took place bilaterally, as a result of which, in a matter of a few months, the entire Hindu and Sikh population of Pakistan ‘Punjab   and   NWFP   moved   over   to   India   while   the   Muslim population   of   Indian   Punjab   and   contiguous   areas   moved   to   Pakistani Punjab.  But there was unilateral movement   of   Hindus   from   East   Pakistan   to   India,   principally   to   West Bengal, Assam and Tripura, without any reciprocal movement. Another very substantial difference between the two partitions is that the western   partition   have  been   fairly   well   documented,   even   photographed. There are writings by G.S.Khosla, Penderel Moon, V.P Menon and others. History has also generated literature and cinema such as Bhisham Sahni’s ‘Tamas’,Saadat Hasan Manto’s ‘Toba Tek Singh’. In contrast, recalls Governor Tathagata Roy, who penned the book, there was practically no documentation in respect of the eastern partition.  Eminent Engineer turned politician Tathatagata Roy, alumni of Bengal Engineering College currently Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, has been researching this subject for several years. He has trawled through the literature that was available on the subject and has interviewed   people   who   are   involved.   Based   on   such   literature   and interviews and his own analysis he has penned his book. It is the result of painstaking research over years and first resulted in a book in English   titled   “My   People,   Uprooted’’.   He   has   updated and adapted   the English version for the Bengali clientele and the result is the present book. The book begins with a background of pre-partition Bengali society and runs through the history of the period Bengal from 1905-1947. The subsequent chapters are devoted to description of the brutalities inflicted on the religious minorities of the land mass known today as Bangladesh. Some of these are truly astounding. Releasing the book at a function in New Delhi, Roy said “We are all shocked by the Jallianwala Bag massacre of 1919 in which some 1,500 people were butchered. As opposed to this, during the Bangladesh War of Liberation, in Khulna District’s  Chuknagar , the Pakistani Army and collaborators killed some 10,000 unarmed people, half of them women and children, in a single day, almost all of them Hindus. These people had assembled there trying to escape to India.

The book then goes on to analyse the reasons why this history has been kept hidden all these years, usually by the very victims of the atrocities, and comes to very surprising conclusions. The book also tries to find out, from the inchoate mass of figures available, how many people were killed, how many displaced and how much property was lost. The figure of population is substantially in excess of one crore; and the area of landed property left behind a whopping 8,500 square kilometres! This last figure is from a team of Bangladeshi researchers led by Professor Abul Barkat.Finally, the book argues that, as things stand today, the solution to this problem of minorities fleeing Bangladesh lies in the Bangladesh government trying to engender a feeling of security among the religious minorities of that country, and India, especially the Hindus of West Bengal, doing their bit to help. Kolkata born Roy, who is Governor of Tripura, one of the worst affected States  in the aftermath of the participation, has however no grudge against any community barring the fundamentalists. He regrets that though the present Bangladesh dispensation headed by Sheikh Hasina is empathetic to the Hindus, the largest minority community in the Muslim dominated Asian country, several fundamentalist groups are committed to their pernicious agenda creating fear psyche among the minorities.

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