Some Barbaric Times in Our Recent History


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

The world has always faced wars, killings, cruelty and injustice, but the Twentieth Century has displayed new forms of wars, murders and displacement.

A tragic event called Holocaust was enacted by Hitler due to his hatred of Jews.

A complete destruction of Jews by Adolph Hitler (1889 — 1945) during WW II was designed by him. He used various brutal methods including gassing of Jews standing in a room and killing them all. Hitler had a deep rooted hatred for Jews and wanted to remove them all from the Earth.

One well known Jew — Albert Einstein (born March 1879 in Ulm, Austria)— the well known Nobel Prize winner in Physics, somehow escaped his killing by Hitler and went to Princeton University in USA to continue with his researches and propagating the idea of a nuclear free world. Einstein is known for his theory of special and (non-special) relativity. He met several Indian leaders including the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1949.

He met Gandhiji and the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore who both admired Einstein’s scholarship and his call for nuclear-free world. He met several other world leaders also. He died in April 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey, but his wish remained unfulfilled.

Despite Einstein and other leaders’ views on avoiding nuclear warfare, USA bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in April 1945 to bring about Japan’s surrender in WWII. These bombings resulted in killing of more than 200 thousand innocent people – men, women and children. Many years ago, I had gone to Japan and met a woman who related how she did not die in these bombings because she had gone out of these cities to meet some friends.

I have referred to killings of Jews in Holocaust by Hitler and the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing large number of citizens.

But another gruesome, cruel displacement and killing of ordinary Indian citizens of India occurred in 1947. This was the year when British colonialism of India ended and the country was divided into one Bharat (India) and two Pakistans on the western and Eastern parts of Bharat. Pakistan was meant for the Indian Muslims. The eastern part much later became an independent country–Bangladesh.

This division of India in 1947 led to migration and deaths of millions of people who were forced to leave their homes, their jobs and everything else in their original homes while crossing over to different parts of the two countries. Many films have been made and some novels written about the trauma caused by the division of the country.

My own family used to live in a big city Lahore (now become part of the new country Pakistan) and they lost everything — their home, their jobs, their humanity by this action. If we were Muslims we would not have been forced to leave Lahore, but as Hindus we had no choice. I remember the poverty and hunger I suffered as a small child by the partition of India. My father lost his job as a professor in a college in Lahore, my mother who taught in a school lost her job and dignity. Now some people blame Nehru for the tragedy and trauma of partition of the country.

As discussed above, wars, killings, migrations occur on a massive scale in different parts of the world. Can we avoid the resultant murders, migrations and trauma? Ask political leaders and they say Yes. But the ground fact is that wars keep occurring and large scale suffering taking place.

Perhaps, one hopes that in the Twenty First Century, better sense will prevail and a peaceful, just world would emerge. Let us keep on hoping. TMS also favours a peaceful world, peace and joy for the entire world.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Jan 2023.

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