Patiala and Kapurthala, August - September 1947

The violence in August and September escalated to a scale which no longer can be described as religious riots between two communities. Just like the Muslim mobs started killing the Hindus and Sikhs in districts like Rawalpindi, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Lahore and others in West Punjab, the same started happening in the Princely states of Patiala and Kapurthala in East Punjab. The violence can be more aptly described as ethnic cleansing where one community was eradicating the very existence of the other. The civil and political administrators of the area were actively involved in guiding and planning the attacks on the communities.

In several books related to the Partition violence, the events in the Princely states are also described in detail on how the mobs were assisted by the local authorities in the killings. In the book "Communal Violence in Princely States during Partition - 1947", author and professor Kanwaljit Kaur from Punjab University - Patiala, describes some of the events in detail. On August 15th, in Patiala, about 500 rioters including police and troops in uniform attacked Mohalla Kucha Rangrazan and killed 1000 Muslims. She further states that about 14,000 Muslims were killed in Patiala state.


Violence in Patiala, August 1947

The author further describes the events that were taking place in Kapurthala state.

Violence in Kapurthala, Partition 1947

In his op-ed "Unheard cries - Atrocities in Patiala 1947", writer Haroon Mustafa Janjua narrates a story of Erfan Niaz who witnessed the events in Baras village in Patran tehsil, Patiala.


"In a desperate bid to save his life, my cousin Muhammad Aleem sustained injuries but succeeded in escaping and hiding in the nearby fields. He stood there helplessly watching the brutal massacre of our family. My grandfather, Muhammad Baksh, took direct bullets and died on the spot. My cousin heard the volley of bullets and cries of men and women who pleaded for mercy in vain. Soon, thereafter, my granduncle and his father were also gunned down with his sons, Muhammad Rafiq and Muhammad Jamil. My uncle Khairudin Khan and my father’s cousin Abdul Aziz were also killed brutally as Aleem watched from his hiding place. In the meantime, scores of women and children began jumping into the well, expecting impending rape and conversions. My aunt, Rafiq-un-Nisa, and her daughter Firdous also jumped into the well, which was by then filled with corpses. My other aunt, Wahab-un-Nisa, escaped because she fell on the heap of corpses and was rescued later along with two other women. She later migrated to Pakistan and died last year in Gujranwala."

Author and Historian, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University, in this interview to talks about the violence in Patiala.

"Your book shows that the royal family of Patiala played a big role in killing and chasing Muslims out of India. Could you define the extent of Patiala’s role?

I have given ample evidence in the book. The evidence I present is based on Ian Copland’s work. He is an Australian professor whose work is path-breaking. He shows that the main players who conspired to drive out Muslims from East Punjab were Master Tara Singh and the Maharaja of Patiala. [Ishtiaq Ahmad’s book "The Punjab, Bloodied Partitioned and Cleansed" provides ample eyewitness accounts to uphold Copland’s claims.]"

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