One of the most important book ever written on Punjab Partition. If there's one book you need to read on the subject of Partition it is this one.
To write this book, "The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed", Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed (Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University) spent 12 years working on his book on Punjab's Partition. He has meticulously researched the important events that led to the Partition and provides personal accounts of individuals who suffered and also of those who committed the crimes. Stories that depict the violence and human tragedy that fell upon millions of innocent Punjabis.
Fortunately I happen to have Swedish citizenship and I talked to the Indian embassy in Stockholm and they said, ‘Sir, you can go there as a tourist and if you behave yourself, you can do your research’. So that is exactly what I did. My intention was entirely honourable and I met people and recorded what they remembered of this traumatic event. I myself was born on 24 February 1947, so although I was not witness to it, I grew up listening to stories of the Punjab Partition. On 12 August 1947, when my mother just happened to look outside the window of her house on Temple Road, Lahore, she saw some of the local goondas gathering in one corner of our road. There was an intersection there, and looking to the left, she saw a big burly Sikh coming on a motor cycle. It seemed that these people wanted to attack and kill him. But then the Sikh gentleman pulled out a gun and they dispersed. She says that fifteen or twenty minutes later, another Sikh came along, this time an old emaciated carpenter on a cycle with a potli of food attached for the day; he was probably going to work as he had always done in his life. He was pounced upon by these people and killed mercilessly.
My mother died on 16 February 1990 in Stockholm where we lived and till the last day she could not overcome this tragic incident which she saw and felt guilty about. I have been listening to many other stories as I grew up. And since Lahore has been at the very centre of the Partition process, I thought that I must do something and try to find out the truth. It is not possible to go through the three stages of the Partition of Punjab. So what I will do instead is to basically present the argument and the framework. I would pose it this way. What is the puzzle that I have tried to solve? The puzzle is that as compared to many other parts of the Indian subcontinent, the Punjab had a very rich pluralist tradition; hundred years at least, even more, as a result of the poetry and social work of the Sufis, the Gorakhnathi Yogis, the Bhakti Sanghs, and of course the Sikh guru’s statement ‘Na koi Hindu, na koi Musalman’, was an indication that he looked at the corruption in society with an eye which saw just the truth.
So that is a part of the story of the Punjab, but the question is, how do we explain the atrocities which unfolded there?