NEW DELHI: The Partition was not just a separation of territories but also a division of minds, RSS functionary Ram Madhav said on Saturday and stressed the need to find ways to "build bridges" and discourage elements believing in separatism.
He said the idea of 'Akhand Bharat' should be seen as not about mitigating physical borders but erasing the mental barriers created due to the "horrendous saga of Partition".
Addressing an international webinar hosted by the JNU on the theme Partition Horrors Remembrance Day, he alleged Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a leader who was allowed to "grow into a monster" during the freedom struggle and was "hell-bent on Partition of India".
Madhav, also a member of the RSS national executive, described Partition as a "cataclysmic event" which, he said, resulted from "errors of judgment".
"Partition of India unlike many other partitions seen in other countries in that period was not just simple redrawing of boundaries. It also took place on a false premise that Hindus and Muslims need separate nations although they had been living together despite their different practices," he said.
The RSS functionary said the Partition also holds important lessons.
He stressed that "we must learn from the mistakes" of the past and as a way forward attempt to "build bridges" with those who have separated.
"The Partition of India was not just partition of territories but also of minds which needs to be seen with utmost seriousness and care.
"We need to build a united Indian society. It can happen only if the leadership and elements which believe in separatism and communal separation are discouraged. A sense of one nationhood needs to be encouraged," he said.
The webinar, titled 'India, Partition and its Aftermath: Remembering the Horrors of History', comes a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that August 14 will be observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day, saying the pain of partition can never be forgotten.
Madhav said there was a need to "build bridges" and "not be enemies" with people who have "become part of separate entities".
"We need to pull down the walls of mental separation and create a united Indian society so that we ensure that India shall not have to bear another trauma of partition in future," he added.
"We need to find ways to build bridges and that will be the real undoing of the Partition. Maybe geographical, political and physical boundaries remain but mental boundaries, the boundaries of divided hearts can be erased."
Senior BJP leader and Indian Council for Cultural Relations president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, in his address, thanked the prime minister for declaring that Partition Horrors Remembrance Day will be marked on August 14, even as he alleged that there have been attempts to "whitewash" aspects of the Partition by the "proponents of what they call secularism".
"The day also is important as it fortifies our resolve that any attempts towards further vivisection of our beloved and sacred motherland will not be tolerated," he said.
Sahasrabuddhe also likened the horrors of Partition, and accompanying murders, arsons, loots and rapes, to a "kind of terrorism" and asserted that marking a day for its remembrance will lend a voice to the pent-up anger and outrage against the perpetrators of the partition and a sort of "catharsis" to member those families which have been affected by it.
He echoed Madhav on the "division of minds" remarks, and said, "Today there are elements who do not want to see a unified and integrated India."
"We need to remember the lessons. We need to create a constituency of a spiritual democracy where spiritual paths are equal and there is no scope for monopoly, much less hegemony of any kind. But in the spirit of accommodation, we cannot accommodate those who cannot accommodate others," he said.
JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar claimed that the groundwork for Partition was "done during the World War II itself" when the British established a connection with Jinnah, who was "willing to help them in dividing India" and both used "religion as an instrument" to realise their goal.
The British Raj's strategic plan to protect their own interests and the Muslim League's assertion of a "separate nation" formed a "powerful recipe" that ultimately led to the division of India, he said.
Historians and scholars have had multiple views on the roots of Partition, and the role of the British Raj and Jinnah in it.
The collective memories of suffering as a result of the partition can never be forgotten.
It should be "visited and revisited so that we learn lessons and do not repeat the horrible history again", the JNU VC said.
The executive council of JNU on September 2 had decided to observe August 14 each year as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day with seminars, exhibitions and competitions, he said, adding it also the right time to think about establishing a "national museum on horrors of partition".
Earlier, Madhav said even the then Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten had "tried to convince Jinnah" to give up the idea of partition, but he couldn't.
"This is not to exonerate the British of the horrible crime of Partition," he added.
The RSS functionary also alleged that many leaders with a communal mindset were pampered instead of the society standing with those who believed in the idea of unity for India, during the freedom struggle and eventually Jinnah's insistence prevailed.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)