Factual accuracy and respect for truth are not among the strong suits of the American news daily, New York Times. For decades now, it has revelled in the art of peddling fake news, disseminating propaganda, and patronising countries it deemed deserving of civilising pontification, even to the extent of appearing prejudiced, arrogant and outright stupid.
But recently, it marked a new low in exerting its stupidity when it published a report saying India was partitioned from Pakistan.
In a recent article talking about the novel “Tomb of Sand”, a Hindi book written by Geetanjali Shree and translated by Daisy Rockwell that won the International Booker Prize, the New York Times misled its readers by publishing grossly inaccurate information about the partition of India.
While giving a brief about the plot of the novel, which is about an Indian woman’s sudden decision to visit Pakistan, a country carved out of undivided India on religious grounds, the NYT article twisted the facts and erroneously claimed that it was India that was partitioned from Pakistan and not the other way around.
For the western readers who are moderately aware of India’s partition, this blunder of gigantic proportions by the New York Times might just be an “unfortunate slip-up”, a trivial error that somehow passed the editorial scrutiny. But for Indians around the world, especially those who have lived through the horrors of the partition or have heard of the tragedy of India’s vivisection firsthand, the mistake is nothing short of an attempt to rewrite the history and pass the buck of the partition on India while giving a clean chit to Islamists responsible for the creation of Pakistan.
The partition of India in 1947 divided British India into two sovereign entities: India and Pakistan. It was followed by periodic bouts of Hindu-Muslim riots after Islamists of the Muslim League, headed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, demanded a separate country for the country’s Muslim population. Jinnah and his aides fanned anti-Hindu rhetorics in justifying their demand for a separate Islamic country, namely Pakistan, which invariably resulted in violence against Hindus.
Jinnah also famously called for the “Direct Action Day”, a clarion call given to the Islamists hankering for Pakistan to take matters in their own hands for the creation of Pakistan out of undivided India. It led to the 1946 Calcutta Killings and the genocide of the Bengali Hindu community. Soon, it spread to the rest of the country and culminated with the Partition and the terrible partition riots.
However, by claiming that India was divided from Pakistan, the New York Times is distorting history and whitewashing the Islamic extremism and religious bigotry of the Islamists and the Muslim League rulers who wreaked havoc in undivided India and brought about a bloodied partition of the country. More importantly, the NYT assertion pins the blame for the partition on India, denies its civilisational continuity, and describes it as a country that came into existence only in 1947.