Posted by Gokul
Kolkata saw the worst of the communal riots before 1947 including the one on August 16, 1946, the infamous direct action day called by the Muslim League which sealed the fate on a united India. So when the date for the costliest amputation in the history of mankind was nearing, leaders feared that the flames of communal riots in Bengal would tear India apart. But Mountbatten didnt have forces to spare for Kolkata.
The whole of the Frontier force was deployed in Punjab and NWFA. When the Radcliffe line was announced, the relatively peaceful Punjab which hadnt seen any major communal clashes in the past went up in flames. As the Frontier force watched helplessly, around half a million were butchered. But Kolkata remained peaceful. Initial bursts of violence quickly died out. It was a one man army….a frail, half naked man in his late 70s, achieved through prayer meetings what battalions of armed soldiers couldn’t…..
Its said that its difficult to control a group a people, but when it becomes a mob its almost impossible. Gandhiji didnt give any elaborate talks or offer any rewards….He went into self penance of fasting and called prayer meetings. Acts as simple as that could change the mind of a murderous mob and caused them to go back. An incident of this scale would have never occurred in the history of mankind.
This might have been one of the many incidents that prompted Einstein to say, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth”.