Letters to the editor: Partition Horrors Remembrance Day
Sir — The prime minister has declared that August 14 will henceforth serve as a reminder of the horrors of Partition (“Partition rabbit out of PM hat”, Aug 15). The declaration of the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day is nothing but an effort to keep alive the pains of an ugly event and to continue to fan the flames of bitterness and animosity among communities in India. The Partition of India was a black day in history; to date people suffer its after-effects. To go out of one’s way to continue remembering this sad day is akin to keeping old wounds festering. In light of the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, this move can only be seen as another effort to polarize the electorate.
Sadiq H. Laskar,
Sir — One wonders why the prime minister needed to resurrect the pain of Partition when the present generation was just moving on from these horrors and focusing on a peaceful future. In reality, this is nothing but an attempt to polarize Indians and divert attention from the government’s many failures including the mismanagement of the pandemic and the economy. The prime minister has clearly blown the poll bugle for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Is it not necessary to heal the wounds rather than poking at it? One wonders how much longer Partition and Pakistan are going to be used as a poll plank to sow the seeds of division among people.
Moreover, if the horrors of Partition are to be remembered, why not a day to recall the carnage of the 2002 Gujarat riots as well? Instead of removing the poison of social disharmony and strengthening the spirit of oneness, why must we remember a day when people were divided by the powers above them?
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,
Sir — The prime minister wants the country to remember the horrors of Partition. His intention behind opening old wounds that are yet to fully heal is to sow communal disharmony so that people fight among themselves and do not pay attention to his government’s inefficiency as well as its nefarious intent to line the pockets of the rich and powerful.
But simply telling people that Narendra Modi is trying to divide the electorate is not enough. With a clever player like our prime minister, the trick will be to defeat him at his own game. He wants people to remember the Partition. It is time people did recall the Partition, but also time they saw it more clearly from the distance afforded by history. It is now incumbent on civil society and the Opposition to remind people of the real reasons behind the Partition. Then, too, political leaders with their own agenda had divided people whose lives were near-inextricably intertwined. This tearing asunder left scars that still have the potential to cause pain. People need to recall not just the horrors of Partition but also its causes. The parallels with our times will be striking. Perhaps in using the saffron party’s actions to turn the table against it is the only way forward for a beleaguered Opposition that has failed to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party robustly at the hustings.
Sir — Narendra Modi seems to have developed some kind of a code of his own where he always says the exact opposite of what he means. “May the #PartitionHorrorsRemembranceDay keep reminding us of the need to remove the poison of social divisions, disharmony and further strengthen the spirit of oneness, social harmony and human empowerment,” he said on the eve of Independence Day. But it is he who is responsible for disrupting social harmony and setting up a religious test for citizenship that is dividing the country at present.
Sir — The Immersive Media & Books 2020 survey found that 70 per cent of audiobook users and 61 per cent of ebook readers multitask while reading or hearing a book. Whatever happened to the idea of reading a book for leisure? Can there be any doubt that curling up in bed with a book and a glass of wine or laying down in an open space and reading with the clouds passing in the background are experiences that are matchless? Surely, sweating in the kitchen over a pot of bottle gourd while Stephen Fry reads out Harry Potter in one’s ears takes the magic out of the experience of reading?