Partition of India

Rare books and contemporary records on the bloody Partition of India

A well full of dead Sikh women (photo)

To protect their dignity from Muslim men, Sikh women martyred themselves by jumping into a well in Thoha Khalsa village, Rawalpindi.

(Extract from 'Punjab Da Batwara Te Sikh Neta'. Download / Read)

Moslems in Punjab fined £225,000 for rioting, arson and murder

Argus, 9th May, 1947

Moslems in Punjab fined £225,000

New Delhi (AAP)

A fine of £225,000 has been imposed by Sir Evan Jenkins, Governor of the Punjab, upon Moslems of the Rawalpindi district.

It follows the rioting, arson, and murder that occurred there in March.

No village in the district escaped the fury of the rioting. Twelve days after it broke out murder and arson were still spreading, and appalling casualties among Sikhs and Hindus were reported.

Attacks on villages were usually made at night, and the authorities often did not learn of them until smoke was seen by patrolling planes.

Tens of thousands of inhabitants fled from villages to the nearest cities and towns.

Ninety Hindus and Sikhs converted forcibly into Islam

Sun, 17th March, 1947

Forcibly Converted

At Chaijan village (where 47 Hindus and Sikhs were killed), 16 authorities evacuated 1500 villagers to Haripur.

Ninety Hindus and Sikhs were forcibly converted at two villages near Peshawar.

In Peshawar city itself a Hindu was stabbed. A curfew has been enforced. - AAP

Moslems attack trains armed with swords, axes and spears

Kalgoorlie Miner, 10th March, 1947 

Moslems Attack Trains

Two Sikhs killed

Lahore, March 8. - A mob of 500 fanatical Moslems armed with swords, axes and spears attacked the Peshawar to Bombay express at Taxila station.

They severely wounded seven Sikhs two of whom, including a woman, died later.

Armed guards are now to accompany all trains.

Lahore, March 8. - For the second time in 24 hours, armed raiders attacked the Peshawar express again near Rawalpindi. The first attack was made at Taxila yesterday.

Four hundred men believed to be Moslems, boarded the train today at Chaklala, attacked and pushed out the Sikh passengers while the train was in motion.

Women paraded naked by Muslims

In March 1947, Rawalpindi saw the Massacre of Sikhs at the hands of Muslims. Women were gang-raped while many who heard about the same either committed suicide by jumping into wells or agreed to be martyred by their family members to save their honor. Late KC Aryan was 28 years old then and had made this painting about the horrors of the Partition. (Courtesy: Museum of Folk and Tribal Art, Gurgaon, Haryana)

I also jumped into the well with my family

Sardar Prithpal Singh, a survivor of Rawalpindi Sikh Massacre of March 1947 narrates how he had also jumped into a well along with his family but could not drown as the well was already full of bodies.

Four Sikh men converted forcibly into Islam

(Extract from 'Rape of Rawalpindi'. Download / Read)

Several hundred dead Hindus and Sikhs lying around the platform

Time Magazine, 8th September, 1947

"You have full liberty to go the limit. Take revenge as you like, but if there is one Hindu or Sikh left alive in my district after you are through, I swear to kill them myself." - Deputy Commissioner of a Western Punjab District in Pakistan to young muslims

A member of the U.S. Embassy arrived in Lahore from Delhi with another tale of horror. Reaching the small station of Okara, near Montgomery, he found the station platform utterly deserted except for several hundred dead Hindus and Sikhs lying around the platform, apparently slaughtered only a few hours before while waiting for the train to escape. All these people were workers in a textile mill which had been attacked by Moslems. Their bodies were mostly stripped and in several instances limbs had been torn from the bodies. The wife of a British textile factory manager told how a Moslem mob had attacked the Hindu and Sikh workers in another factory. When Moslems broke into the ground floor, the Sikhs slashed the throats of their own wives, and afterwards tried to fight through themselves. All were killed.

At Lahore's Central Station, Sikh and Hindu refugees from North or West Punjab were mobbed on the platform, often stabbed to death and their few belongings looted. A major incident involved a big convoy carrying perhaps 1,000 from Sialkot to Amritsar. The convoy was stopped and attacked at the Ravi River bridge. Hundreds were stabbed to death and other hundreds wounded.

Refugees from Lyallpur in West Punjab say that so many Sikhs and Hindus were murdered and their bodies thrown into the canal that the canal actually had a pinkish color for a day after.

Only 1,500 known survivors from a community of 120,000 Sikhs

Time Magazine, 15th September, 1947

Near Rohri in Pakistan several hundred Moslems stopped a train, hauled out 13 Sikhs, clubbed them to death with hockey sticks. An Indian Army courier told how, in the remote Shakirgarh district of Pakistan, a small Hindu military force had found only 1,500 known survivors from a community of 120,000 Sikhs. He estimated that over 100,000 had been butchered, caught between a howling Moslem mob and the flooded Ravi river.

I saw some Moslems carrying away my 16-year old daughter

Time Magazine, 27th October, 1947

The Eyewitness. On this point, the witness Niranjan Singh, a Sikh, testified. Singh, a few weeks ago a prosperous merchant in the Montgomery district of the Punjab, now moves about New Delhi on crutches.

He said:"I shall never rest until revenge is taken upon the Moslems for all the wicked atrocities they have perpetrated upon innocent people. Moslems killed my old father, abducted my young daughter, slew my son and maimed my foot. No mercy whatsoever should be shown to them. I've always treated my Moslem laborers with kindness but the dirty swine have repaid me with brutality.

"I smelled trouble in my village when Moslems began gathering at the mosque every day for long conferences. One morning Moslems from all neighboring areas gathered around our village and attacked it. But although we were outnumbered, we held them for eight hours. We had only our kirpans [swords] and a few old rifles. They had modern weapons. When finally they broke through, there was not one among us who had not sustained some injury or other. The brutes killed my 90-year-old father and when my young son rushed to his defense, they speared him to death. I had been injured on my forehead and gushing blood had made me partly blind. A young, cowardly Moslem attacked me from behind with a hatchet, injuring my foot. Before I fell and fainted, I saw some Moslems carrying away my 16-year-old daughter, who put up stiff resistance.

"I was left among the dead for two days, dying of thirst, when at last a Hindu battalion of the Indian Army visited our village and rescued me. I insist revenge be taken on these traitors and brutes. We ought to declare war on Pakistan."

History books and source materials on the bloody Partition of India

Partition of India - SGPC Records (1946-47) Vol. 2, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (1946-47) Download / Read

Rape of Rawalpindi, Prabodh Chandra (1947) Download / Read

Select Newspaper Coverage - Partition of India (1947) Download / Read

Khooni Saal Diyan Khooni Holiyan (Gurmukhi), Giani Kartar Singh (1947) Download / Read

1947 Da Khooni Itihaas (Gurmukhi), Avtar Singh Bedi (1947) Download / Read

Partition of India - Report on Atrocities, Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation, Government of India (1948) Download / Read

The Punjab Tragedy (1947), Prof. Darbara Singh (1949) Download / Read

Now It Can Be Told, Prof. Amar Nath Bali (1949) Download / Read

Stern Reckoning, Justice Gopal Das Khosla (1949) Download / Read

Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947, Prof. Gurbachan Singh Talib (1950) Download / Read

Punjab Vich Sikhan-Hinduaan Upar Kite Gye Muslim Leeg De Hamle Di Vithiya 1947 (Gurmukhi), Prof. Gurbachan Singh Talib (1951) Download / Read

A Diary of the Partition Days 1947, Dr. Ganda Singh (1960) Download / Read

The Partition Of The Punjab - Dr. Kirpal Singh's PhD Thesis (1966) Download / Read

The Partition Of The Punjab, Dr. Kirpal Singh (1972) Download / Read

Punjab Da Batwara Te Sikh Neta (Gurmukhi), Dr. Kirpal Singh (1996) Download / Read

Sikhan De Pakistan Vichon Niklan Di Gaatha (Gurmukhi), Dr. Kirpal Singh (2001) Download / Read 

Select Documents on Partition of Punjab - 1947: India and Pakistan, Dr. Kirpal Singh (1988, 2005) Download / Read 

Bharat Di Azadi Da Agman Ate Sikh Sthiti (Gurmukhi), Dr. Kirpal Singh (2009) Download / Read 

(Digitized books courtesy Punjab Digital Library and other sources)

90 Sikh women jump into well to avoid capture

About a month ago, a Muslim communal army 3,000 strong, armed with sticks, tommy guns and hand grenades surrounded it. The villagers defended themselves as best they could. They had two guns which they put to good use. But in the end they had to raise the white flag.

Negotiation followed. A sum of Rs. 10,000 was demanded by the besiegers. It was promptly paid. The intruders gave solemn assurance that they would not come back. The promise was broken the next day.

They returned to demand more money and in the process hacked to death 40 of the defenders. Heavily outnumbered, they were unable to resist the onslaught. Their women held a hurried meeting and came to the conclusion that all was lost except their honour. Following the example of Indian women of by-gone days, they decided to evade inglorious capture. Ninety women jumped into a small well. Only three were saved. There was not enough water in the well to drown them all.

(Extract from 'Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947' compiled by Prof. Gurbachan Singh Talib, Principal of the Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jullundur, and published in 1950 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). Download / Read)