Byline: Zahid Islam-Karachi
THIS refers to the 'Wavell's Hindu Raj' (From the past pages of Dawn; Sept 4) about Lord Wavell's actions immediately after the great Calcutta killings of Aug 16, 1946. To quote the report: 'Black flags - symbols of the Muslim nation's silent contempt - greeted the members of the British Viceroy's Hindu government as they drove up to Viceroy's House on Monday morning (Sept 2), to swear allegiance to the British king.
'Delhi woke up to find its skyline silhouetted with a forest of black flags. Flags were seen flying on the minarets of mosques, on Muslim houses, Muslim shops and educational institutions, on various public gates and from the tops of many trees. A large number of Muslims were also seen with black armbands or black badges.'
Here I would like to share a historic photograph of my father, Faizul Islam (who died in 1977), seen outside the Park Circus Maidan in Calcutta (now Kolkata), a predominantly Urdu-speaking Muslim area where the then chief minister of Bengal, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, had his ancestral home, wearing a black armband on that day, Sept 2, 1946.
He was an honorary officer of the Special Constabulary and can be seen displaying his British Army issue .45 (11.5mm) revolver which was basically meant to discourage members of the Calcutta underworld who were out to create communal disharmony during the last days of the British rule.