A PAIN THAT PAINS EVEN TODAY
This post has been taken from an internet site. Am sorry, while extracting the contents, the link was lost. My regrets to the website.
As I reproduce this report for viewers of WOP, many of my countrymen may raise their eyebrows on this side of the picture. It’s a fact, however, that Qaid-e-Azam too in the beginning did not support the idea of a separate homeland, and was demanding a way to safeguard due rights of Muslims as a sizable religious minority in undivided India.
It was primarily due to stubbornness of All India Congress leaders not to afford these rights to Muslims that he was compelled to ask for Pakistan. That is one side of the story.
The other side of the story is our history & geography. I personally believe that even geographically the Pakistani part of the Indian subcontinent has been having a distinct civilization, a separate identity and a distinct culture. The great historian Prof A. H. Dani, Aitzaz Ahson and so many other scholars including many Indians and Europeans, agree to this. The Indian subcontinent from time immemorial has had two distinct identities, the Indus and the Ganges Civilizations. But that is a subject I will dilate in another post.
The idea behind putting up this post by Shekhar Kapur is to feel the pain of killing each other in the name of religion, caste or just in the name of chauvinistic politics, no matter who does it. Both countries need to come together and frame policies by which an atmosphere of friendship is created. Its only friendship that can nurture the national goals of both India and Pakistan and this is the very idea of bringing this write up on our blog. [Nayyar]
UNDER THE TITLE “PARTITION OF BRITISH INDIA, THE PAIN” writes Shekhar Kapur…
Just watching a documentary of an Asian Indian actor tracing her roots. And then the documentary talked about her Grand Uncle and his family being massacred on a train as they fled from the newly created Pakistan. She even met her great aunt who was on that train when she was 20, but somehow survived. Why do I feel a stab of pain each time I hear or see anything on the partition of India in 1947? I am a partition baby, but I don’t really remember anything… but after all these years, whenever I see people from the other side of the border speaking Punjabi, looking and speaking exactly like my grandfather, I can’t help shedding tears …
….. Why did we allow this to happen ? What happened to us that we became such barbarians ? Ruthlessly massacring one million men, women and children on both sides. Ten million people became refugees, causing the greatest mass migration of people in known history.
I escape into blaming the British. Not willing to accept that I carry the genes of the people of Punjab that did this. My culture, my genes. How could you take a sword to an innocent child and ruthlessly run it through her heart? Could I do that in those circumstances…
.. so I escape. Escape into the politics of that time. I hate Mountbatten who came home as a hero, lauded for the fact that not a single British life was lost at that time. Who cared about a million Indian Hindus and Muslims? In my mind I rebuke leaders of All India Congress and the Muslim League for standing on their ego’s, unable to compromise their personal desires to be the first Prime Minister of India.
But it was not the British that did all the killing. It was us. Our forefathers.
My parents were in Lahore where my mother went to Kinnaird College. My father to the Government College in Lahore, and then the Medical College. After partition my family came to the newly formed India as refugees. But my father went back because there were not enough doctors to treat the wounded and the dying.
I would often talk to my father about that time, and I would see the pain on his face. About his Muslim friends lost in time. Friends with whom he stood shoulder to shoulder as they took the Hippocratic Oath. But the very friends that were too afraid to give him morphine to treat the wounded, just in case the raging, raving crowds found out they were helping the Hindus. And years later as I would go along on my scooter to my University in Delhi, I was shown a spot in Paharganj where apparently Muslim women and children were thrown alive in a burning bonfire.
My mother would recoil at talking about that time. Except for the memories of the drains around the houses filled with Kerosene and put on fire. But she would soon escape into the memories of better times. Of when Lahore was the cultural capital of Asia. Lahore was still the greatest city to anyone that had lived there.
Years later I went to Lahore. To record the music for Bandit Queen with the amazing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I remember walking into the local recording studios where a large orchestra suddenly broke out in the theme music from Mr. India and songs from Masoom to welcome me to Lahore. It was a moment I will always remember.
I went to Kinnaird College. Where my mother went. I saw shy girls, giggling as they recognized me, looking so beautiful in flowing Salwar Kameez’s. I tried to imagine my mother as one of them. I saw her as a pretty young girl who passed me, and then looked back and smiled that eternal smile my mother always used to have. Everywhere I walked I imagined myself as one of everyone.
And I wondered, what turned us all into such beasts ?
Title Photo: Courtesy BBC London
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