The day should have stayed etched in the memory of Hindus, but sadly Hindus have forgotten the genocide which started on October 10, 1946, exactly 75 years ago.
With the British quitting Bharat soon, Jinnah’s power struggle intensified. Muslim League had won 113 of the 119 Muslim seats in Bengal province in the January 1946 provincial elections, and formed the government with ‘Butcher Of Bengal’ Huseyn Suhrawardy as the Prime Minister. That the leaders of the Muslim League could go to any extent to severe the country to get a piece of land to make an Islamic nation (a new Medina), was evident from the ‘Direct Action Day’ aka ‘Great Calcutta Killings’ of August 16, 1946.
Since Direct Action Day, communal hate was building up all over Noakhali and Chittagong districts. Village poets and balladeers composed anti-Hindu poems and rhymes, which they recited and sang in market places and other public gathering places.
Anti-Hindu sentiments had also been seeded in the Muslim mind for a long time by terror monger Gholam Sarwar Hossaini, an influential Muslim leader hailing from a Pir family waiting for the right time to capitalize on this hate. Ironically, Hossain’s family happened to be the hereditary khadims at the Diara Sharif (Sufi shrine) in Shyampur, revered as a holy place by Muslims and Hindus alike. To this day, Hindus continue to foolishly worship at Sufi shrines like Ajmer dargah, Ghazi Miyan dargah at Bahraich (the word ‘Ghazi’ literally means ‘vanquisher of kafirs’!), ignorant about the history of these sites.
The Kojagari Lakshmi Puja provided Hossaini with the right opportunity. The organized mass massacre was deliberately commenced on Korajari Lakshmi Puja, an auspicious day for the Bengali Hindus for fasting and holding Lakshmi puja in every household.
The rampage started after Sarwar accompanied by his accomplice Kasem delivered an inflammatory speech after the evening prayers. Their followers assembled as two murderous armies, Miyar Fauz (Sarwar’s Army) and Kasem’er Fauz (Kasem’s Army). As they raided through the streets and villages, they were joined by fellow Muslims adding to their strength.
One of the first attacks was launched on the Hindu-owned businesses of a Bazaar in the Ramganj police station area. Soon, the fanatic mob raided the houses of eminent Hindus of the area Surendra Nath Basu and Rajendra Lal Roychowdhury who was the president of the Noakhali Bar Association and a prominent Hindu Mahasabha leader. Roychowdhury was hacked to death by the Muslim hooligans and his severed head was gifted to Sarwar. His two daughters were abducted and presented to Sarwar’s loyalists as ‘war booty’.
Freedom fighter Lalmohan Sen, who had fought the British in 1930 and spent 16 years in jail, was also not spared either. He was slaughtered by the marauding mobs and his house in Sandweep was razed down. It is worth noting that Sen had become a communist and joined the Communist Party of India in his later life, but even his communist identity couldn’t save him from the Islamist wrath; in their eyes, Roy was just a Hindu. Numerous Hindu houses were set ablaze using petrol. The use of petrol in remote areas like Sandweep where motor cars were hardly seen proved these attacks were premeditated.
“In an area of about 200 sq miles the inhabitants surrounded by riotous mobs, are being massacred, their houses being burnt, their womenfolk being forcibly carried away and thousands being subjected to forcible conversion. Thousands of hooligans attacked the villages, compelled them (Hindus) to slaughter their cattle and eat. All places of worship in affected villages have been desecrated. The District Magistrate and the Police Superintendent of Noakhali took no step to prevent it,” reported The Statesman on October 16, 1946.
Villages after villages of the Hindus were set afire; men, women and children were slain by the riotous armies of the Miya and Kasem. Hindu temples were gutted down. To add insult to the injury, Hindus were forced to slaughter cows and eat beef.
Knowing that the Bengali Hindus were worshippers of feminine deities like Maa Durga, Maa Saraswati and Maa Lakshmi, the Muslim extremists targeted the women of the Hindus in the age group of 12 to 45. These women were raped in front of the men in their families for that gave a sadist pressure to the fanatics. They were then converted to Islam and married off to Muslim men. Numerous women were molested, assaulted, forced to see their husbands being slaughtered in front of them before being handed over to Muslim men.
“It has been known from authentic sources that at a place 400 and at another 300 women were mass raped by Muslims. To the Muslim crowd, violation of the honour of Hindu women meant the exposure of the most protected aspect of the Hindu identity and religion” wrote Mr. Simpson, I.C.S in his letters.
This continued for days; the administration extended no help to rescue the Hindus. Though there is no exact record of exactly how many Hindus were slaughtered in the Noakhali riots, an estimated 5000 Hindus were butchered by Islamists during the Hindu genocide of Noakhali. 50,000 to 75,000 Hindus were rendered homeless and sheltered in relief camps in Agartala, Comilla, and Chandpur. Close to 50,000 Hindus remained estranged in the affected areas; they were starving, thirsty, and enduring the cruelest atrocities being meted out to them. Around 400,000 Bengali Hindus were forced to embrace Islam. Only a few Hindus managed to escape, in exchange for their properties left behind. Some were also forced to pay Jizya to the Muslim League.
The ultimate goal of the Noakhali genocide was to transform Bengal into Dar-ul-Islam, an ‘Abode of Islam’. The police did nothing to end the blood bath, instead the Muslim Police Superintendent allegedly joined forces with the rioters. Leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru remained indifferent to this mass slaughter; Gandhi’s sermons of non-violence remained ineffective against Islamic barbarism. Contrary to the popular narrative, his intervention did not bring an end to the violence. By April 1947, he was helplessly asking the remaining Hindus to leave or die.
The attacks only slowed down when the Bihari Hindus, in retaliation to the Noakhali Hindu genocide, started hitting back in Chhapra.
(Feature Image source: MyIndiaMyGlory)