Multan (مُلتان ; [mʊltaːn] (About this soundlisten)) is a city and capital of Multan Division located in Punjab, Pakistan. Located on the bank of the Chenab River, Multan is Pakistan's 7th largest city, and is the major cultural and economic centre of southern Punjab.
Multan during the Partition of India
Gurbachan Singh Talib
- In Multan attacks of a most destructive nature began on the 5th March, the day on which the Muslim League had decided to unleash its offensive in the Punjab. In violence, speed and the extent of destruction wrought this Multan campaign was in no way less than its Rawalpindi parallel. In both areas Hindus and Sikhs were in a small minority, and the Muslim population very inflammable. In Multan city itself the attack came on the 5th March. A procession of Hindu and Sikh students which was taken out to demonstrate against the formation of a communal Muslim League ministry in the Punjab, was suddenly and brutally attacked by a Muslim mob, with the help of the Police. Many of the students who were in this procession were killed. Then this mob fell upon Hindu and Sikh quarters of the town. A modest estimate places the number of Hindu and Sikhs killed on the first day at 300 and those injured at 500. The Muslim mob was led by a Sayad or Muslim holy man, reputedly a descendant of the Prophet of Islam, on a white charger, ‘inspiring’ the ‘faithful’ with the destruction of ‘Kafirs’. The police were watching all this and moved not their little finger to stop what could be stopped with firm action in a short space of time. So virulent had been the Muslim League propaganda, and such the fury into which the League had whipped the Muslim temper, that the mob did not even spare Hindu and Sikh patients in the T.-B. Hospital. Whole families were done to death, and on the least suspicion of being a non-Muslim a man was killed. Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew, President of the Punjab Provincial Congress Committee, was on that fateful night a guest in the house of Seth Kalyan Das of Multan. Dr. Kitchlew’s host and his entire family were butchered and the Doctor escaped death only on his proving to his assailants’ satisfaction that he was a Muslim. Hindu shops were looted and burned on a large scale. More than a dozen Sikh and Hindu holy places were also burned and desecrated: Eight factories belonging to Hindus were looted and destroyed by fire. Hindu and Sikh quarters were burned to cinders.(91)
- All this was done in village after village after the Muslims had given assurances of safety on the Koran to Hindus. Hindu women were molested and abducted. Altogether 50 villages in this tehsil were looted with arson, murder and abduction of women. Ears, noses and breasts of women were cut off, and they were raped in the presence of their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. Such Hindus as approached Muslims with messages of peace were brutally and cynically murdered by these League gangs. Forcible conversions of Hindus occurred on a large scale. It is estimated that Hindus were wiped out in this district over an area of about 500 square miles. (91-92)
- The Muslim League leaders pursued a path contrary to the spirit in which an appeal like the Gandhi-Jinnah appeal should have been followed up. They continued to visit troubled areas like Amritsar for further incitement and for giving directions for new attacks. They continued with a pose of hypocritical innocence, to denounce imaginary Hindu-Sikh atrocities against Muslims. A full-hearted condemnation of the Rawalpindi Carnage or the Multan destruction never came from the Muslim League. (112)
- Talib, S. G. S. (1950). Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus inthe Punjab, 1947. Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.