Under the Sky on the Eastern Side
The idea that religion intoxicates our minds and poisons everything in our life is the central tenet of this book. The author traces the malignant and insidious effects of Muhammed Ali Jinnah’s religious politics on India and the world. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, emphasised the religious divisions between Indians in pursuit of his ambition to create and rule a separate land for Muslims. Indians of all faiths, languages and cultures had previously lived throughout this vast land together.
The author believes that an undivided India would have become one of the strongest and largest democratic powerhouses of the world. A strong secular nation which would have had a healthy and progressive influence on its neighbours, from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq in the west, to Burma, Thailand, and even as far as Indonesia in the east. Today, these parts of the world are the breeding grounds for religious extremists in the form of Islamic militants ready to kill others and themselves in the cause of religion. The religious partition of India fanned this ominous fire of hatred which is now spreading across the world.
This book looks at the effects of the partition of India upon one family. Starting our story with a young girl called Lima who lives in Kolkata in India, we watch as she grows up, gets married and has children. Her youngest son, Akash, grows up in East Pakistan. Through the eyes of these two children, we see the disintegration and birth of two countries and witness the turmoil and violence that is the heritage of Jinnah’s religious separatism.