Published in 1986, ‘Facts are Facts’ by the late Wali Khan was an instant hit. ‘Facts are Facts’ is an attempt to contest text book versions of Pakistan’s history. In a bid to generate debate, the Viewpoint is serializing this text
Communal riots and congress
As a result of the politics of the Muslim League, the whole country was caught up in a communal frenzy. There were, however, certain forces amongst Muslims and non- Muslims, determined to stifle the hatred which had driven people berserk. Once a man loses his human impulse, he stoops to bestiality. Preaching harmony and amity was the only way of restoring sanity. Not doing so would have been a contradiction of every principle of ethics.
Amongst the Muslims an organized effort was made by the Khudai Khidmatgars. Reacting to this the Muslim League intensified its campaign to overthrow them. For the first time, in this part of the country, disruptive forces raised their ugly head in the person of Major Khursheed Anwar. It was clear to one and all that it were the anti-national elements and 'goondas' who had been paid to start plunder and arson, with an unlimited license to kill. They forcibly took possession of the houses, business premises, and factories of the non-Muslims. Their terrorising tactics were expected to prove the negligence of Government Officials in protecting the non-Muslims. To stop this, the Government asked the Khudai Khidmatgars to come forward as volunteers and protect the life and property of the non-Muslims. Accordingly, we mobilised about six thousand Khudai Khidmatgars in Peshawar. The volunteers of the Muslim League and some hired thugs used to taunt the Khudai Khidmatgars, saying that they were trying to protect the Hindus. They narrated blood-curdling tales of the communal riots in Bihar and of the excesses committed by the Sikhs upon the Muslims. Despite this provocation, the Khudai Khidmatgars succeeded in their noble task of saving the life, property and honour of the non-Muslims.
The British authorities wanted to show the world that the rift between the Hindus and the Muslims was so deep and abiding that there was no question of their living together like members of a single united family! They secretly helped in driving away the non-Muslims from this area, as this was in the interest of the Muslim League. Another sinister scheme was to drive out the Hindu and Sikh members of the Legislative Assembly. Accordingly, all the non-Muslim members collected in Bala Hisar Fort in Peshawar and from there they were shipped out to other parts of the subcontinent that later became India.
In other parts of the country the Congress leaders, particularly, Gandhiji, were working hard to stop the communal riots. Gandhiji staked his own life and observed a fast-unto- death in order to stop the killing of Muslims in Calcutta. The impact of his fast was such that Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, even the Police was moved to tears. On the day when thousands of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs embraced each other in the Maidan at Calcutta, Gandhiji broke his fast. But communal riots in those days were like a wild fire, if extinguished at one place they would erupt at another; whether in Calcutta, or Delhi, or East Bengal, or Bihar.
Going back a few months one recalls that it was Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy, who, as the Prime Minister of Bengal, had led a procession of Muslims to commemorate 'Direct Action’ day in Calcutta. This had unleashed a fire-spitting dragon which devoured thousands of innocent people to satisfy its communal appetite. This very gentleman, Husain Shaheed Suhrawardy, now walked along-side Gandhiji, through the length and breadth of the country, preaching peace and communal harmony. What a bunch of chameleons were these staunch Muslim Leaguers!
(To be continued)
The book in PDF form can be accessed at: http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf