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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2005
Sidhwa's book is a warm depiction of one child's experience with an atrocious moment in history.
But what I want to discuss is the comment below, by V. Sharma. It's ridiculous to say: '...this would be akin to Jews in America demanding a separate state -- it would never happen.' Excuse me? Since the reviewer does not live in this world, let me state the obvious: Israel IS a separate Jewish state that came into existence in 1948 (one year after the Partition of India), and that today would not exist, certainly not as the political and nuclear power it is, if it weren't for Americans, both Jews and non-Jews. It's unfortunate that in this day and age, when the war against Palestinians has killed, displaced, and tortured millions, murders that are in large part being funded by American taxpayers, this needs to be pointed out.
Pakistan and Israel are both separate states that were made on the basis of religion. However, since the Jewish faith is innate (that is, there is a Jewish race, you cannot become Jewish by conversion) while Islam is not race-based (anyone can become a Muslim), the two states do not have much else in common. As human rights activists keep pointing out, Israel practices Apartheid: state-sanctioned supremacy of one race over another, i.e., Jews over Arabs.

The Partition of India was an awful event, and I agree with Sharma that it is simplistic to blame Hindus or Sikhs. But that is all I can agree with. Bapsi Sidhwa does not blame them. And Sharma should not blame Muslims either. The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had innitially wanted Muslims in India to have provincial autonomy, not a separate state, but because the Indian Congress (which was entirely Hindu) did not agree, his goals -- fortunately or unfortunately, that I can't say -- switched to a separate state. I know Pakistanis and Indians who say that if Congress had allowed space for Muslims within it, Partition would not have occurred. Some would even argue that it is Hindus who wanted the Partition, not Muslims. The bottom line is: Clearly, there is a lot to this episode that still needs to be learned so there is no point blaming any one side.
That is why Sidhwa's book (she herself is Parsi -- not Hindu, Muslim or Sikh) is so valuable. It is refreshingly unprejudiced.
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on 26 June 1999
Many books have been wriiten about the partition of India in 1947. But this is the first book,where the story is told from a young child's point of view. The books revolves around Lenny, a young Parsee girl, who turns eight years old in 1947. The religious strife in the country, make her realize the frailities and unpredictability of human nature. Like every book on Partition, this book too remains unbaised. It does not hold one person or community responsible. It is truly unfortunate, that some people feel that the author is racial and prejudice. It is amusing to see that people who write this, fail to see their own preduices. It is about time that people realize, We are all to be blamed. To say the 'Hindu-Sikhs are not to be blamed for the partition or vis-a vis is not only ignorance, but a way to justify actions. It is about time we realize that this event took place because the people of our country allowed themselves to be swayed by the people in power. Innocent people died because of their beliefs. We should learn from the mistakes of the past and make sure that it is not repeated in the present or near future. Instead of blaming each other, we should find a constructive way of living in harmony
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on 4 January 1999
I'm afraid Ms. Sidhwa did not do her homework when researching India's partition. Her novel is filled with inaccuracies, which must be looked at carefully with regard to such a serious event as Partition.
Sidhwa's racist depiction of Hindus and Sikhs as "monsters" and otherwise instigators of violence against Muslims warrants serious examination. It is pathetic how she generalizes Hindus as being devious cowards and Sikhs as being their ignorant, rogue-like henchmen. The Muslims, on the other hand, are depicted as innocent, peace-loving people who retain their pride and dignity.
The truth about India's Partition in 1947 is that is was a Holocaust which cannot be blamed on Hindus or Sikhs. There were many factors contributing to the violence, but the most significant was that many Muslims had the ludicrous belief that they had the right to form a separate nation based on religion (this would be akin to Jews in America demanding a separate Jewish state- they would never do it and it would never happen.), and the politcians of the day sided with them for fear of their own popularity.
Cracking India also has little literary value for the questioning reader. At best, it provides one possible viewpoint, albeit ignorant and erroneous, on the Partition of India.
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on 9 November 2008
Various factors played a role in partition: the utterly manipulative role of Winston Churchill and his henchmen in dividing the two countries must be taught in all history books of teh Indian subcontinent...he may have been a great man in the war but as a human being he had no humanity about him. His corresponednce with Jinnah using code names are clearly mentioned in Alex Tunzelman's book Indian Summer.
Jinnah in his rekindled enthusiasm let loose the mullah's and this continues to be the bane of Pakistan....and that part of the world. Yet Jinnah himself was very cosmopolitan in his outlook, he ate bacon and drank wine happily....it was only after partition and seeing the large scale of murderous deaths did he question himself on the worthiness of the whole venture.
Over the centuries Hindus and Moslems had learnt to live in peace and harmony ...in which case why did all this flare up in partition? No doubt the politicians played a key role in it abetted by teh British. The religions are so vastly different: Hinduism (like Judiasm) is not a proselytising religion whereas Islam chose to impose itself by force, and in the early days with brutal force....
What does the future hold? Will the Indian subcontinet become one as before? only time will tell....but this book portarys these aspects so well...
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