Taking aim at the Congress as India marks its second “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”, the Bharatiya Janata Party today released a video narrating its version of events that led to the partition of India in 1947. Using archival footage and dramatised visuals of the partition set to evocative music and slick editing, the seven-minute video tangentially blames Jawaharlal Nehru for bowing to the demands of Muhammad Ali Jinnah-led Muslim League for the creation of Pakistan.
जिन लोगों को भारत की सांस्कृतिक विरासत, सभ्यता, मूल्यों, तीर्थों का कोई ज्ञान नहीं था, उन्होंने मात्र तीन सप्ताह में सदियों से एक साथ रह रहे लोगों के बीच सरहद खींच दी।
— BJP (@BJP4India) August 14, 2022
Congress has hit back, with MP Jairam Ramesh saying the “real intent” of the PM marking this day is to “use the most traumatic historical events as fodder for his current political battles”.
“Modern-day Savarkars and Jinnahs are continuing their efforts to divide the nation,” he added.
On 14 August last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the 14 of August annually will be remembered as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day to remind the nation of the sufferings and sacrifices of Indians during the partition in 1947. The PM earlier this morning tweeted to mark the day.
Today, on #PartitionHorrorsRemembranceDay, I pay homage to all those who lost their lives during Partition , and applaud the resilience as well as grit of all those who suffered during that tragic period of our history.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 14, 2022
The BJP video featured Cyril John Radcliffe, whose partition map split Punjab and Bengal almost in half, and questioned how a person who had no knowledge of Indian cultural heritage was allowed to divide India in merely weeks. Visuals of Mr Nehru appeared throughout the video while the narration recounted the horrors of partition.
“Those who had no knowledge of India’s cultural heritage, civilization, values, pilgrimages, in just three weeks, they drew the border between people living together for centuries.
Where were those people at that time who had the responsibility of fighting against these divisive forces?” BJP tweeted along with the video.
Jairam Ramesh, in what can be seen as a response to the video, said the tragedy of partition cannot be “misused” to fuel hate and prejudice. He also offered a counter to the BJP’s version of events that led to the partition.
“The truth is Savarkar originated 2 nation theory and Jinnah perfected it. Sardar Patel wrote, “I felt that if we did not accept partition, India would be split into many bits and would be completely ruined”,” he said.
1. The real intent of PM to mark Aug 14 as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day is to use the most traumatic historical events as fodder for his current political battles. Lakhs upon lakhs were dislocated and lost their lives. Their sacrifices must not be forgotten or disrespected.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) August 14, 2022
Mr Ramesh asked if the PM will also recall Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, the founder of the Jan Sangh, who championed the Partition of Bengal against the wishes of Sarat Chandra Bose, and who sat in free India’s first Cabinet “while the tragic consequences of Partition were becoming evident”.
“The Indian National Congress will uphold the legacy of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and many others who were untiring in their efforts to unite the nation. The politics of hate will be defeated,” the Congress MP said.
The BJP video also blames Indian communists for the partition, claiming their leaders backed the Musli League and justified the demand for a separate Muslim country. Most of the video, though, is filled with visuals of Mr Nehru and Mr Jinnah.