Friday, July 1, 2011

Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy felt pangs of India’s partition, anguishes of Bengali Hindus

There have been extensive accusals (through ages) of Indian National Congress’ role during the Partition of India, 1947 and its dubious policy regarding protection of legitimate Hindu rights. It has also been put forward by an assortment of political analysts and historians had Congress been more steadfast, Muslim League could have been thwarted and partition averted.

Whatever it is, even if there are differences of opinions, flippant attitude in Congress to stand for Hindus maimed the Hindu community indisputably. And the same tradition has been continuing still. Nevertheless, there are some glaring exceptions too. A few Congress leaders were worried of Hindus. These include Acharya J B Kripalani, Purushottam Das Tandon and none other than Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, accomplished and illustrious doctor, and also the legendary Chief Minister of West Bengal. This may happen to be dubious to many but assortment of reliable facts authenticates it.

Bidhan Chandra Roy, being an inhabitant of Bengal and witness to rampages of Muslim League in preceding years even on frivolous issues, was skeptical of the fate of partition from the beginning. And his fears got a foothold with the Direct Action Day in Calcutta, 16 th August, 1946. The violence that was displayed by Muslim League cadres on the fateful day to champion the cause of Pakistan and physically exterminate rivals, especially Hindus, en masse shocked his conscience. And the pogroms against Bengali Hindus in East Pakistan, following partition, confirmed his worst fears.

Archival materials affirm Dr. BC Roy made several efforts to make the central leadership of then Congress realize the worst atrocities on Hindus in Bengal but without any positive result. He realized the Government of India was not in any mood to recognize mounting atrocities on Hindus in East Pakistan and their anguishes. In accordance with “Mukhyamantrider Sange” (With Chief Ministers) of Saroj Chakraborty, BC Roy once said, “ To stop the curse of oppression on Hindus in East Pakistan war remains the one and only option.” He was no longer in any mood to retain harmony with Pakistan.

Dr. Roy lost his patience with the genocide of Hindus in Barishal, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1950. The genocide of Hindus that started from a trivial reason soon engulfed the whole of Pakistan and led to strong reactions in the Indian state of Bengal too. What started as a result of systematic genocide (racial extermination) was an unending chain of Hindu refugees to Indian Bengal, creating a huge pressure on relatively economically feeble West Bengal.

On April 2, 1953 (published in Ananda Bazar Patrika’s April 3 edition) Dr. Roy said categorically, “Islamic law has been implemented on non-Muslims in East Pakistan. There have been ample incidents of burning down residences, tactful racial murders, destruction of properties, forcible conversions of non-Muslims, and rapes of non-Muslim women.”

Under Dr. Roy’s astute leadership, in almost all sectors, social, political or economic, West Bengal soon turned into a leading state of India in 1950s and without doubt, in spite of several problems, it started leaving behind pangs of partition. Bengali Hindus were getting potent yet again but his untimely death, followed by scarcity of able leadership in Congress and muscle-flexing politics of Lefts, created a permanent void.

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