Tara Singh Malhotra - Partition and Independence of India, in The Aftermath of World War II

Partition and Independence of India, in The Aftermath of World War II

Main Articles: Indian Independence Movement, Partition of India

Tara Singh was invited to represent Sikhs at the Round Table conference at Shimla after the end of the Second World War by the Governor-General Lord Wavell, to ease the political situation in the country, the Sikhs were given representation along with the other communities. Tara Singh fiercely argued against the demand of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League to partition India, forcefully reiterating that such a move would irreparable hurt the Sikh community, which was scattered all over the province of Punjab without a majority in any district.

Tara Singh was especially infuriated at the prospect of Sikhs having to leave their most important political and holy sites in the Punjab, such as Nankana Sahib, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad. The Muslim League wanted their majority districts as well from East Punjab such as Amritsar, Firozpur, Aliwal, Dharamkot, Faridkot, Sangroor, Gurdaspur, Mansa district, and Shariffpura. Master Tara Singh was one of the first leaders to recognise that it would become impossible for Sikhs to continue living in what would become the new state of Pakistan.

The Congress Party assured Tara Singh, Baldev Singh and other Sikh leaders that India would belong to all its religious communities, and the Constitution would be secular. Having established faith and obtained some assurances through dialogue with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Tara Singh and the SGPC decided to support partition. Tara Singh also began to encourage Sikhs to leave Pakistan, so they could avoid the violence and repression he believed was inevitable.

But when partition came, over one million people, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were killed. Millions of Sikh and Hindu families were uprooted from Pakistan while an equal number of Muslims were displaced from India. During this period, many alleged that Tara Singh was endorsing the killing of Muslims as retaliation for the murder of Sikhs in Pakistan. The Muslim population suffered a great number of losses because they were the majority from both sides of the Punjab. Many Muslims beileved all of Punjab would be handed to Pakistan since Muslims had a majority 51% population in East Punjab. As soon as violence erupted in Lahore on Hindus and Sikhs, east Punjab went up in flames starting from Amritsar to Jind Muslims were not to be spared. Muslim deaths were really high in the cities of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Firozpur, Barnala, Moga, Ludhiana, and Jalandhar. On the other hand in west Punjab violence was mostly in Lahore, Sialkot, Multan and Rawalpindi. When sardar Patel and the Indian government assured the Sikh leadership that India would not hesitate to fight Pakistan if the violence did not stop, Tara Singh appealed to all Sikhs to stop and prevent all violence, and focus on helping the refugees arriving from Pakistan. The only Muslim district that was spared in East Punjab was Malerkotla thanks to Guru Gobind Singh Ji (the ruler of Malerkotla was the only one to speak out against the torture of his two youngest sons in Sirhind) no Muslims were killed there. Malerkotla was the only safe haven for Muslims. The Muslims who were living in villages close by Malerkotla were not spared and were hacked to pieces to scare the Malerkotla residents to leave the village and fall in their trap. There were two Sikh warriors from the village of Malerkotla who protected the Muslims and warned other angry Sikhs to not even look at Malerkotla with a dirty look. 4,000 Muslims were saved and lived happliy in Malerkolta. There has not been one wrong incident until this day in Malerkotla. The Muslim residents respect and honour Guru Gobind Singh Ji and on 13 April the birth of Sikhism, Muslims pray and celebrate along with Sikhs.

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