Conducted over six urban centres, the Outlook MODE poll on Partition awareness shows up rather high levels of ignorance among a selected 1,200-strong cross-section from the 18 to 25 age group. Respondents were given eight questions. the most off-the-mark answers came to the question on the places the respondents thought were associated with Partition violence. 52 per cent, for instance, ticked Jallianwala Bagh, 17 per cent Chauri Chaura and 12 per cent Dandi. The right answer, of course, is Noakhali.
Only 40 per cent respondents got the answer-Lord Mountbatten-right to the above question. A sizeable 13 per cent picked Lord Curzon as the man who saw colonial India through its last days; 11 per cent thought it was Lord Cornwallis. Significantly, just 24 per cent of the respondents in Calcutta ticked Lord Mountbatten.
Which Individual do you think was most responsible for Partition?
Interestingly, when asked which individual they thought was most responsible for India's Partition, 39 per cent respondents named Lord Mountbatten, 30 per cent Jawaharlal Nehru and 21 per cent said Sardar Patel. Belying the expected pattern, only 10 per cent held Mohammed Ali Jinnah responsible for partition.
Curiously, 59 per cent respondents ticked Kashmir, only 39 per cent said Public and a mere 25 per cent through Bengal was the most affected. Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar followed at two, three and two per cent respectively. More strangely, 86 per cent of the respondents at Amritsar through Kashmire was the most affected, four per cent more than the number who picked their own state, Punjab.
Importantly, 47 per cent of the respondents thought that partition was indeed unfair to a particular religion. 50 per cent thought that Hindus suffered the most while a high 42 per cent thought it was the Muslims. The percentage who thought that Hindus got the rough end of partition was the highest in Amritsar at 60 per cent while those who thought Muslims got an unfair treatment were highest in Mumbai at 59 per cent.
While 61 per cent of the overall respondents thought Partition wasn't necessary, respondents in the cities of Calcutta and Amritsar came up with high 'yes' percentages: 62 and 58 per cent respectively.
While 75 per cent of the respondents think Partition has left a permanent scar which can't be healed, 64 per cent also feel that a reunification of the two countries like that of West and East Germany is impossible. There's still some nostalgia, however. 78 per cent of the respondents think that an undividual India would have been a much more prosperous country and a high 58 per cent think it would be a good thing if the two countries reunited 50 years after.
Calcutta scored another low in the question: who was the first prime minister of undivided Pakistan? Just 31 per cent respondents said it was Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Even overall, just 44 per cent named Jinnah. The second-highest was the 'can't say' category, followed by 9 per cent respondents who thought it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. If it's any consolation, 90 per cent got the name of India's first prime minister after Partition right.