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Customer Review

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars warmly felt novel -- but one reviewer is laughable, 26 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Cracking India: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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