|1946 Bihar riots|
|Date||24 October 1946 – 11 November 1946|
|Caused by||Direct Action Day, Noakhali riots|
Communal riots occurred in Bihar from 24 October to 11 November 1946, in which Hindu mobs targeted Muslim families. The riots were triggered by the Great Calcutta Killings, as well as the Noakhali riots earlier that year. Mahatma Gandhi declared that he would fast unto death if the riots did not stop. The riots were part of a sequence of communal violence that culminated in the partition of India.
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the thirteenth-largest Indian state, with an area of 94,163 km2 (36,357 sq mi). The third-largest state by population, it is contiguous with Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, the northern part of West Bengal to the east, with Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is split by the river Ganges, which flows from west to east. Three main regions converge in the state: Magadh, Mithila, and Bhojpur.
The Noakhali riots were a series of semiorganized massacres, rapes, abductions and forced conversions of Hindus to Islam and looting and arson of Hindu properties perpetrated by the Muslim community in the districts of Noakhali in the Chittagong Division of Bengal in October–November 1946, a year before India's independence from British rule.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā was applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa and is now used worldwide. In India, he was also called Bapu, a term that he preferred, and Gandhi ji, and is known as the Father of the Nation.
The 1946 Bihar riots were part of a series of incidents of communal violence that occurred across North India.The frequency of such riots increased in the 1930s and 1940s; in the 1945 alone, 1,809 riots took place in Uttar Pradesh, and 3,176 riots took place across the country in 1946. On 16 August 1946, the All-India Muslim League proclaimed Direct Action Day in Calcutta, as part of their demand for a separate state for Muslims. Major riots ensued across the city, with 4,000 people being killed. These riots triggered communal violence across the country, including in Bihar. The Noakhali riots that occurred from 10–21 October also provoked violence in Bihar.
Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. With roughly 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populous state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950. The state is divided into 18 divisions and 75 districts with the capital being Lucknow. The main ethnic group is the Hindavi people, forming the demographic plurality. On 9 November 2000, a new state, Uttarakhand, was carved out from the state's Himalayan hill region. The two major rivers of the state, the Ganga and Yamuna, join at Allahabad (Prayagraj) and then flow as the Ganga further east. Hindi is the most widely spoken language and is also the official language of the state.
The All-India Muslim League was a political party established in 1906 in the British Indian Empire. Its strong advocacy for the establishment of a separate Muslim-majority nation-state, Pakistan, successfully led to the partition of British India in 1947 by the British Empire.
Direct Action Day, also known as the Great Calcutta Killings, was a day of widespread communal rioting between Muslims and Hindus in the city of Calcutta in the Bengal province of British India. The day also marked the start of what is known as The Week of the Long Knives.
The trigger for the riots that occurred in June was a dispute concerning a false allegation that a woman whom Hindus stated had been abducted by Muslims.In the village of Andhana, a group of Hindus demanding that the woman be brought forward and turned violent were fired upon by Muslims, leading to two fatalities. Hindus also killed four Muslim people.
More riots occurred in September 1946, once again triggered by a dispute over the alleged abduction of Noor Jahan, formerly known as Kalyani Devi.A group of 30,000 Hindus led by members of the Arya Samaj attempted to rescue Noor Jahan in the belief that she had been kidnapped from Calcutta during the Direct Action Day riots. The failure of this rescue attempt turned into a riot, in which 200 houses belonging to 144 Muslim families were burned down, and 14 people were killed.
Arya Samaj is a monotheistic Indian Hindu reform movement that promotes values and practices based on the belief in the infallible authority of the Vedas. The samaj was founded by the sannyasi (ascetic) Dayanand Saraswati on 10 April 1875. Members of the Arya Samaj believe in one God and reject the worship of idols.
The largest riots of the year occurred from 27 October to 6 November, during which period a large number of Muslims were killed by Hindus in retaliation for the Noakhali riotsthat had occurred earlier that month. There was wide variation in estimates of the number of casualties. A statement given to the British Parliament put the death toll at 5,000. The Statesman estimated the number of fatalities at between 7,500 and 10,000, while the Indian National Congress put it at 2,000. Mohammed Ali Jinnah of the Muslim League stated that 30,000 people had been killed. An unofficial report on 8 November stated that 500 people had been killed in one incident in which a village in Monghyr district was leveled by fire, and 100 people had died when a mob was fired upon by the military. Another estimate stated that 35,000 had fled the fighting.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.
The Statesman is an Indian English-language broadsheet daily newspaper founded in 1875 and published simultaneously in Kolkata, New Delhi, Siliguri and Bhubaneswar. It incorporates and is directly descended from The Friend of India, founded in 1818. It is owned by The Statesman Ltd and headquartered at Statesman House, Chowringhee Square, Kolkata, with its national editorial office at Statesman House, Connaught Place, New Delhi. It is a member of the Asia News Network.
The Indian National Congress(
The riots were severe enough that Jawaharlal Nehru, then the head of the interim government, threatened to bombard rioters from the air.A statement from the provincial capital of Patna stated that military forces had been deployed against the rioters, and inflicted heavy casualties on them. Some historians have stated that the province's Hindu premier did not permit British troops to fire on Hindu rioters, ignoring the complicity of the Congress party in the riots. Others point out that the government was eventually able to put a stop to the violence in Bihar, unlike in other regions.
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was an Indian independence activist, and subsequently, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence. He emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and served India as Prime Minister from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He has been described by the Amar Chitra Katha as the architect of India. He was also known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community while Indian children knew him as Chacha Nehru.
The Interim Government of India, also known as the Provisional Government, formed in 2 September 1946 from the newly elected Constituent Assembly of India, had the task of assisting the transition of British India to independence. It remained in place until 15 August 1947, the date of the independence of India, and the creation of Pakistan.
Patna, also known as Pataliputra is the capital and largest city of the state of Bihar in India. Patna is the second-largest city in Eastern India after Kolkata. It had an estimated city population of 1.68 million in 2011, making it the 19th largest city in India. With over 2 million people, its urban agglomeration is the 18th largest in India. Patna also serves as the seat of Patna High Court.
On 5 November, Mahatma Gandhi, who was in Calcutta, visiting riot-stricken areas, stated that he would fast unto death if the violence in Bihar did not stop within 24 hours. His statement was broadcast nationally by Congress leader Rajendra Prasad.At the time, official reports stated that 400 people had been killed, while leaders of the Muslim league states that the real toll was 5,000–8,000 people. Mohammad Yunus, a leader of the Muslim league, asked Muslims to observe the festival of Bakr-Eid, which occurred on 5 November, as a day of mourning.
On 5 November, Jawaharlal Nehru issued a statement, saying "We must put an end to this madness; we can argue later," and adding "What has happened and what is happening in certain parts of Bihar province is terrible and I can hardly believe that human beings can behave in such a manner."
Following the riots, the Muslim League said that it had received a large number of complaints from its members, which stated that they were afraid to leave their homes.On 17 November the Muslim League passed a resolution asking the Viceroy of India to act on the riots in Bihar. The resolution stated that Muslims in Bihar still felt a threat "to life or property," and that the disturbances might easily spread. The resolution also stated that the Hugh Dow, the governor of Bihar and the Indian National Congress were responsible for the massacre. The Muslim League stated that Hindu mobs had killed 30,000 people in the province. Historians such as Suranjan Das have referred to the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946 as the first explicitly political communal violence in the region.
The Partition of India was the division of British India in 1947 which accompanied the creation of two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India and Dominion of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and the Punjab, based on district-wise Hindu or Muslim majorities. It also involved the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury, between the two new dominions. The partition was set forth in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, or Crown rule in India. The two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan legally came into existence at midnight on 14–15 August 1947.
Hindus have experienced historical and current religious persecution and systematic violence. These occurred in the form of forced conversions, documented massacres, demolition and desecrations of temples, as well as the destruction of educational centres.
Communalism is a term used in South Asia to denote attempts to construct religious or ethnic identity, incite strife between people identified as different communities, and to stimulate communal violence between those groups. It derives from history, differences in beliefs, and tensions between the communities.
The Bombay riots usually refers to the riots in Mumbai, in December 1992 and January 1993, in which around 700 people died. The riots were mainly due to escalations of hostilities after large scale violent protests by Muslims in reaction to the 1992 Babri Masjid Demolition by Hindu Karsevaks in Ayodhya.
The Partition of Bengal in 1947, part of the Partition of India, divided the British Indian province of Bengal based on the Radcliffe Line between India and Pakistan. Predominantly Hindu West Bengal became a state of India, and predominantly Muslim East Bengal became a province of Pakistan.
Religious violence in India includes acts of violence by followers of one religious group against followers and institutions of another religious group, often in the form of rioting. Religious violence in India has generally involved Hindus and Muslims.According to Pew Research Center, currently India is 4th in religious violence, majority of which directed at Muslims by right-wing Hindu nationalist groups. Despite the secular and religiously tolerant constitution of India, broad religious representation in various aspects of society including the government, the active role played by autonomous bodies such as National Human Rights Commission of India and National Commission for Minorities, and the ground-level work being done by non-governmental organisations, sporadic and sometimes serious acts of religious violence tend to occur as the root causes of religious violence often run deep in history, religious activities, and politics of India.
The cow protection movement has been a religious and political movement aiming to protect the cows, whose slaughter has been broadly opposed by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. While the opposition to slaughter of animals, including cows, has extensive and ancient roots in Indian history, the term refers to modern movements dating back to the colonial era British India. The earliest such activism is traceable to Sikhs of Punjab who opposed cow slaughter in the 1860s. The movement became popular in the 1880s and thereafter, attracting the support from the Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayananda Saraswati in the late 19th century, and from Mahatma Gandhi in the early 20th century.
Sir Hugh Dow was an English civil servant during the British Raj.
Bengali Hindus are an ethnic, linguistic, and religious population who make up the majority in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. In Bangladesh, they form the largest minority. They are Bengalis adherents of Hinduism, and are native to the Bengal region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. Bengali Hindus speak Bengali, which belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family and adhere to the Shakta and Vaishnava traditions of their native religion, Hinduism. There are significant numbers of Bengali-speaking Hindus in different Indian states.
The Barisal Riots of 1950 or simply the 1950 riots refers to the rioting between Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims, the Pakistani police and the para-military accompanied by arson, loot, rape and abduction in the months of February and March 1950.
The Bhagalpur riots of 1989 refers to the violence between the Hindus and the Muslims in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar, India. The riots started on 24 October 1989, and the violent incidents continued to happen for 2 months. The violence affected the Bhagalpur city and 250 villages around it. Over 1,000 people, were killed, and another 50,000 were displaced as a result of the violence. It was the worst Hindu-Muslim violence in independent India at the time, surpassing the 1969 Gujarat riots.
The 1980 Moradabad riots refers to violence that happened in the Indian city of Moradabad during August–November 1980. The violence was partly a Hindu-Muslim conflict, and partly a Muslim-Police conflict. It started when a group of Muslims pelted stones at the local police for their refusal to remove a pig from the local Idgah on 13 August. The police responded with indiscriminate firing, which led to over one hundred deaths. This was followed by a series of violent incidents which became religious in nature, and led to arson, looting and murders.
The 1970 Bhiwandi riots were instances of anti-Muslim violence which occurred between 7 and 8 May in the Indian towns of Bhiwandi, Jalgaon and Mahad. There were large amounts of arson and vandalism of Muslim-owned properties. The riots had been pre-planned by Shiv Sena and caused the deaths of over 250 people.
Religious violence in India includes targeted violence against Muslims. There have been several instances of religious violence against Muslims since Partition of India in 1947, frequently in the form of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindu mobs that form a pattern of sporadic sectarian violence between the majority Hindu and minority Muslim communities. Over 10,000 people have been killed in Hindu-Muslim communal violence since 1950 in 6,933 instances of communal violence between 1954 and 1982.
The 1987 Meerut riots were a series of violent communal disturbances between Hindus and Muslims along with PAC in the Northern UP town Meerut which occurred from March to June 1987. It resulted in the death of more than 500000 people.
On 20 June 1947, legislators from predominantly Hindu western parts of Bengal at the Bengal Legislative Assembly voted against the inclusion of western Bengal in Pakistan and for the Partition of Bengal to create West Bengal include it in the Indian Union. Following the verdict, the Governor of Bengal presided over the formation of a West Bengal cabinet on 3 July. Since 2014, 20th June is being celebrated as Paschimbanga Dibas or West Bengal Day in commemoration of the formation of West Bengal on 20 June 1947.