FIBIS has received a request for help in finding descendants of British civil and military personnel who served in the Punjab from Ishtiaq Ahmed, Author, and Professor Emeritus at Stockholm University. He has asked us to post the following:
Invitation to book presentation ceremony
On 15 July 2013 I shall be presenting my book, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012; New Delhi: Rupa Books, 2011), to Baroness Shreela Flather, conservative member of the House of Lords. It has won the Best Non-Fiction Book of 2012 award at the 2013 Karachi Literature Festival. The book highlights, among other things, the efforts of the last British administration to control the constantly deteriorating law-and-order situation till power was transferred to the Indian and Pakistani governments on 15 August. Thereafter, totally biased administrations came to power on both sides and killing of unwanted minorities escalated from a mere 5,200 in August 1947, to anything between 500,000 – 800,000 by the end of December 1947. Some 10 million Punjabis out of a total population of 34 million of the Punjab Province, including the princely states, had to flee their homes in search of safe havens across the new international border drawn in the Punjab. Thus the first case of ethnic cleansing after World War II took place in the Punjab. The last two British governors of the Punjab, Sir Bertrand Glancy and Sir Evan Jenkins, had been warning that a bloodbath would become inevitable if the Punjab was divided.
Lady Flather’s great grandfather, Sir Ganga Ram (1851-1928), was one of the greatest philanthropists of the undivided Punjab. He built schools and colleges and the Sir the Ganga Ram Hospital, which continues to serve the people of Pakistan. He therefore represents the traditions of peace, amity and compassion of the old Punjab. Lady Flather and her family had to flee Lahore in May 1947 to escape murderous attacks. The book presentation ceremony is conceived as a symbolic gesture to close that chapter and hopefully open a new one based on peace and friendship between India and Pakistan.
A number of eminent speakers will address the audience. I would like to invite descendants of British civil and military personnel who served in the Punjab to join us in this ceremony. Attendance will be by invitation so I would need to know who all would attend the ceremony. Please contact me on my email given below.
Author, and Professor Emeritus, Stockholm University
Email: [email protected]