Partition of India, the pain.

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 ? 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 Nehru and Jinnah 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 Kinaird (spelling ?) 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 Kinaid 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 ?

152 thoughts on “Partition of India, the pain.

  1. Hello,
    I don’t know if you remember me, but we met a couple years ago when you came to visit in Dallas, Texas. As you probably know, I am born and raised in America, but even I and my friends are affected by the partition. Many of my Pakistani and Indian friends talk about it and how it has affected our friendships as 1st generation Americans.
    Nice thoughts. Hope all is well.

  2. Shekhar:
    Your story evokes very strong and rather mixed emotions within me and I am sure, within any other
    sensitive human being. I have heard similar accounts from many victims or their families, of the violence during that period.Being a Psychiatrist in the U.S., I have heard many other stories of people from diffrent parts of the world, who were victims of such senseless violence, such as the people from Bosnia.
    Religion is a strange entity , both harmful and helpful to people. If two Germanies can unite,
    why cant India and Pakistan ? What is more harmful- religion or communism?
    Reading you is a delight. Your movies are a greater delight. I will never forget Masoom and Bandit Queen. Look forward to watching Elizabeth
    the Golden Age.
    With regards and best wishes,
    Kirti Pandya.

  3. Dear Shekhar,
    I came across your site accidentally and have found it fascinating. Thanks for connecting with us.
    I am curious to know that why your name is mentioned in such a small size font on Elizabeth DVD cover?
    I found that few readers want to get in touch with you regarding story ideas and themes but you have not responded to them yet.
    I think the main problem with our film directors and producers is that they are unapproachable. This results into run of the mill films. Once I wrote to Mr. Dev Anand from New York asking him how I could present him a story idea but I never got any response. In 2005 I met Mr. Karan Johar in New York and I told him that I would like to send him a story idea. He treated me as if I was begging for money.
    I would like you to be different. You can establish an email address on this site where interested parties can send you their ideas and story ideas that you can go through at your own leisurely manner.
    You might have heard of Matt Damon’s website GreenLight project. If you do something like that it would be great help to new thinkers, writers and to Indian movie industry itself.
    Best Regards,
    Suresh, New York

  4. Dear Mr. Kapur,
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    The script is a fast paced comedy drama:
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    A Dabbewallah with speech disability, A Hawaldar who dreams of being a bodyguard and many more…they are all in Mumbai.
    And their lives crisscross, collide and finally converge on a train that is going to explode.
    James Mercurio, Hollywood screenplay analyst, has analyzed the first draft of this script and
    told me “You have a cool world and a great sense of humor…”
    Mercurio has been rated among the top five analysts in Hollywood by Screenwriting magazine.
    I have finished the second draft based on Mercurio’s suggestions.
    I feel, I’ve written a unique comedy with soul that today’s movie-going crowd will readily warm to and find gripping.
    This is my best work and deserves my best efforts to get it made.
    Would you be interested in taking a look at my script or could you please suggest someone…

  5. Dear Shekar:
    As much as I feel the hurt… I’m also convinced that this beast is there somewhere all the time. Waiting for his chance again. I say this purely from a personal experience I had in early 90’s thanks to the riots. I had just passed my 10th, a brahmin boy wearing the so called sacred thread, witnessing a whole 2 lane street filled with people running towards me with sowrds in their hands. I didn’t know if they were Hindu’s or Muslims. For that moment there was nothing to take pride of being a Hindu or a brahmin. It was a blood thirsty sowrd making its way towards me with a passion to see my blood. I didn’t know the group of people that took their speeding steps to me with hate. Hate for what? Why? I survived by hiding myself into one of the stores nearby, grabbing the nearest weapon (a brick). As I lay there on the floor shivering with fear and hate.
    Years later I questioned myself the same, why did I hate these unknown people for all these years? How different am I? Isn’t that beast somewhere in me too, waiting for a justification to hurt the other? What if that one person made his way into the store and before he raised his sowrd, I knocked his brains with that brick? Frankly, death is instant even for the strongest. So… would my justification be right? Survival by the death of the other?
    The beast within is so existential that even the shame in aftermath of such acts will not put him to peace. He is ready to come out again… just a matter of time to find the right reason to justify his acts.
    Apologize for being so negative, but surviving that incident made me look more within than find fault outside with people.

  6. Hi Shekhar I am proud of your work: i was born in Lahore as well and now i call myself a very proud Pakistani American : i cant help but notice that everyone on this message trail happens to talk about partition as a sad situation but to be honest with you that after learning the history of the people that inhabit Pakistan and people that inhabit India i can say that whatever happened was for a reason. I dont think there is so much similarities between people of Pakistan and India and even if you go to various towns in either Pakistan or India you will find so many dis-similarities : Pakistan with its majority population has been predominantly mulsim and india is predominantly Hindu : so i can see why we are so different because our cultures arent even the same but i think both of us like each others values and i know as a Pakistani i am definitely fascinated with Indian culture and their religion but we are in no way similar and separating the country was the right thing to happen

  7. True arshy. The point I had been making.The “unity in diversity” theme rocks.We are different doesn’t mean we can’t care for eachother.
    Different cultures,religions,etc. bring different colours to life like the rainbow.And no colour is less or more important than the other.
    I also totally agree with you in the inference that things of such large scale and scope happen for a reason.

  8. Hi Mr Shekhar Kapur,
    This is Nazim from Chennai. I loved your movie ‘the four feathers’. You had announced you are going to make a movie like Mr.India, so when is that coming up? A small suggestion from me: please do retain the ‘innocence’ element of mr india in your forthcoming movie also.

  9. Harpreet, you are great. I have gone through some of your postings. I too can’t imagine India without Britishers. There was never a akhand Bharat. Britishers has given us so much, and that’s why we are enjoying our lives. They have given as an International Langauge ‘English’ besides innummerable list of infrastructure and cities. They brought industrilization to India. Whatever be their motive was, we gained much (after muslims invasion). Its very easy to imagine 20 different countries emerging out of today’s India, if brits haven’t come there.
    I haven’t found any of your comment on
    SALAM> PAKISTAN WAS NOT FOR INDIN MUSLIMS> PAKISTAN FOR PAKISTANIES MEANS> PATHANS, BALUCH, SINDHI, KASHMIRI, AND PUNJABI, WE ARE DIFFERENT FROM INDIANS posted by Yaz khan. I think. people like him are sick!!!!My yaz, we all are Indians first and we are all are happy….Don’t worry about muslims in India, worry about yourself!!!!
    India has never invaded any country, yet it rules almost half of world culturally!!!!!

  10. Dear praveen,
    Neither am i great nor is yaz khan sick.We are both the result of certain different kinds of upbringing and education.Yaz’s taught him the superiority of his own race and people over others and mine taught me to find the grand Universe’s intention in creating each and every little detail in its harmonious(although not easily apparent at the superficial level) diversity.
    Lets just say I’ve got a bigger telescope.

  11. its being pleasure to me to write for such a wonderful blogspot. thanks people to have such a great idea to memorize the event for the victims of great partition of india.
    its realy a nice step to think beyond and to achieve peaceful relations between india and pakistan.
    i am final year architecture student from nagpur maharashtra, as i am working on my thesis with topic “INDO-PAK PARTITION MEMORIAL MUSEUM” proposing at new delhi.
    it will be tribute for the victims of such bloody riots occured during partition. i want to commomorate the memories of the event of partition and to aware people about such a bad mistake and its effects on both the nations which
    lead to conflicts inbetween.
    my aim is to achieve hindu – muslim unity in india and to improve political and civil relations of both the great nations. so i need help related.
    so please mail me if you have any information pertaining to partition.

  12. Your angst on Partition is well formed and quite natural. Each of us has great capacity to do great harm as well as great good. The petty squabling, revenge and violence is intermixed with acts of tremendous courage, brave generosity and kindness. Thinking about Partition affects me but not in the same way as I was not born in India – I was born in Kenya of Gujarati parents, who themselves were born in Kenya (I think I am fifth generation). I suppose my ancestors migrated before the “super-identities” of being Pakistani (Muslim) or being Indian gained credence. They were content with their regional, language and caste identities and happilly mixed with others on a similar basis, regardless of whether they were Hindu’s, Sikhs or Muslims.
    On blame: it is natural to blame the British, the Boundary commission, Jinnah and Nehru’s intransigence. Perhaps we were not ready for independence. Perhaps we should have settled for a more federal style favoured by the Muslim League. Perhaps the Muslim’s should have understood the falseness of Jinnahs argument that they were a separate nation and ethinicity (absolute non-sense as most Muslims in the sub-continent had Hindu ancestors at some point). Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…but this will never reverse what happened. What I can tell you is that you need to accept Partition as a fact. You must look forward to build bridges and be a good neighbour. That’s it. Both sides must do this.

  13. Your angst on Partition is well formed and quite natural. Each of us has great capacity to do great harm as well as great good. The petty squabling, revenge and violence is intermixed with acts of tremendous courage, brave generosity and kindness. Thinking about Partition affects me but not in the same way as I was not born in India – I was born in Kenya of Gujarati parents, who themselves were born in Kenya (I think I am fifth generation). I suppose my ancestors migrated before the “super-identities” of being Pakistani (Muslim) or being Indian gained credence. They were content with their regional, language and caste identities and happilly mixed with others on a similar basis, regardless of whether they were Hindu’s, Sikhs or Muslims.
    On blame: it is natural to blame the British, the Boundary commission, Jinnah and Nehru’s intransigence. Perhaps we were not ready for independence. Perhaps we should have settled for a more federal style favoured by the Muslim League. Perhaps the Muslim’s should have understood the falseness of Jinnahs argument that they were a separate nation and ethinicity (absolute non-sense as most Muslims in the sub-continent had Hindu ancestors at some point). Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…but this will never reverse what happened. What I can tell you is that you need to accept Partition as a fact. You must look forward to build bridges and be a good neighbour. That’s it. Both sides must do this.

  14. I don’t know if it was their political ambitions that blinded the eyes of Jinnah and Nehru to scrifice the cause of a united India. However, I do feel that people belong to the land and not the other way around. People in Punjab share more in ethnicity and tradition with their brethern in Pakistan, religious differences notwithstanding. However, i firmly believe that such mob violence does not come normal people who have suddenly unleashed the beast in them. It is more likely to come from hired mercenaries or political goons, as seen in the 2002 riots.

  15. Dear Shekhar.
    Im not a PARTITION CHILD, but i feel very sad when i read or hear about it. How can a human being become so beastly so as to hurt a fellow human. Its still relevant in today times. What i believe is that its all totally politically motivated. No sane Hindu Brother or Muslim Brother will ever think of doing such a thing. Like the things happened after Babri Masjid Demolition Or Godhra Massacre. Cant believe it. Why ALL THE MISLIMS ARE BEING LOOKED upon as anti national or terrorists. I am proud of my country INDIA and i know i will give my LIFE if need comes. So why so much harted is there. I have many non muslim friends. we celebrate diwali, hole & idd with equal gusto. so why this hatred.

  16. I was 12-13 years of age in 1947 in Pakistan’s Lyallpur, now Faisalabad. The Muslim fanatics took me and a few other boys of my age age group out of our houses forcibly, lined us up, removed our shorts or pajamas, whatever we were wearing, and the Mullah, the holy man, circumcised us all with the dirtiest kitchen knife imaginable. We were all screaming. The screams were so loud these must have reached the other side of the Indo-Pak border. We boys were then congratulated because we were no longer Kafirs. Some of the boys later died due to severe infection.The fanatics goondas were dancing around us to the tune of “Allah hu Akbar” and “Pakistan Zindabad”.

  17. dear surinder, i completely empathize with what happened to you and the trauma that you must still face. But there were equal if not greater atrocities by the Hindu’s against the Muslims too. I just wonder what happened then to make us all into such barbarians.
    The lesson we MUST learn is that no one benefited from this except the colonial powers that divided India – or those of our people that stood to gain power from the bloodshed that happened t innocent people. The Colonial powers still use Pakistan as a tool to further their own political and economic interests, without any thought to the number of lives they are destroying in the process. And they will continue to do so unless we can all learn to kill the divisions between us and learn to stand as one, whatever our religion, as people bonded by one land, one culture, and ny a sense of community and love.
    Yes, great words these considering what happened in the past. But that WAS the past. Do you, Surinder Chawla, as one that bore the brunt of the partition of India, along with others, have the heart to forgive and work towards two nations that ensure that this never happens again ? And if you do, please write your experience again and let us know that yu have forgiven and I will invite many others that have memories of that horrendous time, to come forward – relate their experiences and then forgive.
    I kind of ‘peace and reconciliation’ movement between the Hindu’s and the Muslim’s ?

  18. Dear Shekhar,
    I just came accross you peice on partition. I also read all the posts following your article. I am not a partition baby but it is not essential to part of history to feel pain or joy experienced during a particular period. I have interacted with friends from Pakistan and Bangladesh. They like us Indians have gone through same pain and agony. May be their memories are more recent, particularly in case of Bangladesh.
    But what have we done to learn from history and learn to respect each other the way they or we are. In all the three nations, we teach our children the kind of history that feeds hatred. Cant we do anything about it so that at least thecoming generation lives a peaceful coexistence. Here I am posting a portion from my training handbook we I use in my workshop with indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi participants.
    How is one to understand the co-existence of multiple layers of identities
    (national, regional, religious, territorial, ethnic or any other) in a curious mix? Is it possible to decide before hand which of these plays a major role in the general process of identity formation? National identities are generally a modern phenomenon world over and do not go back in time prior to 19th century. Religious (or ethnic) identities, on the other hand, are much older, though the nature and character of these identities have undergone a profound transformation in modern times. In particular, the consolidation of religious solidarities across geographical territories and the social and political manipulation of these solidarities is undisputedly a modern phenomenon.
    This problem becomes more acute in the case of regions that are fractured today but constituted organic cultural wholes in the past. The case of Punjab and Bengal readily comes to mind. Few would dispute that these two regions, situated on the northern and the eastern corners of the sub-continent, enjoyed a cultural compositeness that was rooted, among other things, in territorial integrity. Both the regions were multi-religious since medieval times. According to the census of 1931 in Bengal, Muslims and Hindus constituted 54 and 43 percent, respectively, of the total population. In Punjab, another religion, Sikhism, added to religious plurality of the region where Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs constituted 55, 31, and 11 percent of the total population, respectively. These figures may give the impression of culture in these areas being divided along religious lines, but this was far from being the case. For one, religions here for most of the period were far from being undifferentiated and monolithic entities. Hinduism in particular remained remarkably plural, allowing for multiple sects within its fold. It may be safely said that religious plurality of these regions did not hamper the growth of a territory based composite culture, till the 19th century. After the 19th century fissiparous tendencies began raising their heads.
    The question of plurality of identities is not the same for all the regions. Some regions (or some groups and communities) are likely to be affected by it in a much more decisive manner than some others. This problem is particularly acute in the case of Bengal. Let us observe it more concretely. A Muslim living in western pocket of Bengal today faces a question about his primary identity: Is he a part of the religious Muslim community (Ummah or universal Muslim brotherhood); or a regional Bengali community; or a national Indian community? In other words his national, religious, and regional identities are not likely to converge together and are more likely to place him into different groups making different, sometimes conflicting, demands on his loyalty and allegiance. There may of course be other identities (based on gender, locality, profession, sect) available to him. But in the context of Bengal, the regional, religious and national identities have been historically crucial.
    At this stage it may be important to point out that the question of multiple identities has generally accompanied the history of mankind without creating or constituting a problem, till the arrival of modernity. Man (the term ‘man’ is used here as a generic specie term rather then a specific gender term) has lived in various groups and has been able to identify with each of those groups (based on clan, caste, religion or territory) without experiencing any pressures on his conscience or loyalty. The existence of multiple identities has been a general feature of the history of mankind; it has not been a problem or a dilemma. Much of it however changes with the arrival of modernity, which, for a variety of reasons, insists on a hierarchy of identities along with a plurality of identities. In other words, the modern man is confronted with a situation in which he is expected to pick one of his multiple identities as the most important or the central identity. He is expected to choose one identity as the basic, all-encompassing, overarching identity. Quite often it is the national identity that takes precedence over other, or it might be a national identity disguised as religious or vice-versa. Whatever be the case, the multiplicity of identities which is a feature of human condition, when carried into the modern conditions, has to put up with a hierarchisation of identities.
    This insistence on the hierarchy of identities creates a problem in the context of Bengal (also Punjab to an extent). The area of Bengal enjoyed a geographical and cultural compactness for a long time but in the 20th century, underwent as many as three partitions. First partition (1905) was soon revoked (in 1912) but the second partition (in 1947) proved to be decisive. One part of Bengal was reconstituted as East Pakistan and part of the newly created nation-state ofPakistan with its headquarters in Punjab. The other part, called West Bengal remained with India as one of its states. This division of Bengal was based on religion, with eastern and western parts constituting Muslim and Hindu majorities, respectively. It was hoped in the newly created Pakistan that religion, or more specifically the ideology of Islam, would provide the necessary cement to hold together culturally and geographically diverse areas. But the geographical and cultural identity asserted itself in 1971 and this area was reconstituted as Bangla Desh, as a sovereign nation-state. Cultural and geographical factors have kept Bangla Desh separate from Pakistan. But what has kept the two Bengals separate from each other? The two areas enjoy cultural and linguistic similarities. The national anthem of Bangla Desh is written by Rabindra Nath Tagore who may have the unique distinction of having his poems as the national anthem in two separate nation-states. So what keeps the two Bengals apart? Is it religion? Or is it the logic of nation-state which, once formed, cannot be dissolved easily?
    The interesting thing about Bengal is that in spite of being a Muslim majority area, it never had an exclusively Islamic flavour. This was because the Islam that triumphed and flourished in Bengal was not the high, doctrinal and classical form of Islam, but the low, Sufi, ritualistic and the unorthodox variety of Islam. This created openings for syncretic and composite culture that dominated Bengal’s cultural landscape till the 19th century. Many people noted this aspect of Islam in Bengal and commented on it from their own perspectives. From the perspective of “high Islam” these cultural practices, that were neither exclusively Hindu nor exclusively Muslim, appeared as corrupt. For instance, as early as in the 16th century, Ihtiman Khan, a Mughal Admiral in Bengal, looked down upon the indigenous cultural practices of Bengal as he thought they were ‘un-Islamic’. These supposed deviations from Islamic practices continued to be commented upon in the 17th and 18th centuries also. A late 19th century British resident in Bengal, Dr. James Wise, noted the “corrupt Hinduised rites” of Bengal Muslims. At the beginning of the 20th century, Syed Amir Ali, a distinguished Muslim intellectual, looked down upon the Bengali Muslims who were “chiefly converts from Hinduism” and still observed many “Hindu customs and institutions.” A little later, William Crooke, a British scholar of popular religions in India, regarded the Bengali Muslims as those who “assimilated Islam only in an imperfect way”. Malik Feroz Khan Noon, the Governor of East Pakistan in 1952, regarded Bengali Muslims as only “half-Muslims.”
    Quite apart from contemporary commentators and politicians, many historians have also commented on this phenomenon. Mohammad Mujeeb called them only “partly converted” and Peter Hardy referred to them as “census Muslims” He wrote: “… the real challenge to purity of belief and practice in Islam in medieval India was to be found … in the convert’s countryside – in the ignorance of new Muslims of the requirements of Islam and in the insidious infiltrations of ‘creeping Hinduism’ into the daily life of the convert.” Another Bengali historian commented that the religious lives of Bengali Muslims were dominated by a kind of folk Islam “having hardly any connection with the dogmas of religion.” Yet another Bengali historian with high Islamic leanings lamented this tendency and wrote: “Thus long years of association with non-Muslims who far outnumbered them, cut off from the original home of Islam, and living with half-converts from Hinduism, the Muslims had greatly deviated from the original faith and had become Indianised.”
    All these comments need to be understood in a proper perspective. The dominant form of Islam that was practised in Bengal through the medieval times and till the 19th century, contained strong syncretic elements. This syncretism was the result of very tentative and superficial penetration of values of high Islam from Arabia into Bengali Islam that was richly endowed with many Hindu/non Islamic practices. The literature of high Islam, written in Arabic and Persian, found it difficult to reach the common Muslims. So, if the Islamic traditions codified in the Arabic and Persian languages were not accessible to the lower classes of Bengali Muslims, but the many non-Islamic indigenous traditions were; it inevitably followed that the poor Muslims would be guided more by the local traditions than by classical Islam. One Syed Sultan wrote: “There is no dearth of kitabs in Arabic and Persian [which were] for the learned alone and not for the ignorant folk [who were] unable to grasp a single precept of their religion [and remained] immersed in stories and fictions of local origin. Hindus and Muslims in every home took themselves with avid interest to the Hindu epic, the Mahabharta, rendered into Bengali by Kavindra-Parameswara … and nobody thought about Khoda and Rasul.” The other Hindu epic Ramayana were equally popular with the Muslims of Bengal. “The story of Rama was heard respectfully even by the yavanas [Muslims] and they were in tears to hear about the predicament of Rama at the loss of Sita”, noted another commentator.
    This linguistic divide fed into the already existing social and cultural divide between the Ashraf (noble or from pure lineage) and the Ajlaf (local converts from lower groups). One Sharif lamented this inaccessibility of high Islam to local Muslims: “The refusal or inability of the higher Mosalmans to adopt the Bengali has already affected the relation between them and the lower Mosalmans. We do not learn the Bengali – whilst our lower orders cannot learn the Persian ….There are thus no means of fellow-feeling or of acting together.” Language did not just mean access to sacred texts. It was also a medium of cultural communication, idioms, symbols and imageries. When all of these were inaccessible to common Bengali Muslims, they held on to what was available for them – the traditional Bengali ballads and folklore and local mythological traditions of diverse kinds.
    When the Islamic mediators tried to make high Islam intelligible and meaningful to Bengali Muslims, they could only do it by deviating from the high Islamic norms. Therefore Nabi and Rasul were projected not so much as prophets but rather as avataars (incarnation). And so God was depicted as having created Mohammad out of “his own self”; Krishna, the Hindu god was depicted as God’s messenger. Rama was also portrayed as a prophet. Thus the prophet-based tradition of Islam was combined with the incarnation (avataar)-based tradition of Hinduism in order to present a version of Islam that would be intelligible to the poor Muslims of Bengal. All this was done because Rama and Krishna had already reached the Bengali Muslim households through local cultural routes. It was for these reasons that syncretic traditions registered a strong presence into the social and psychic universe of the people of Bengal. It was a similar story with Punjab where the strong Sufi movement introduced syncretic elements into popular culture.
    Khurshid Anwar

  19. Dear Shekhar,
    I used to think that all of this has been forgotten and only a few misguided / misinformed people think about it. I have heard it from my grandfather , father, my uncles relatives et al the horrors of partition and the wistful looks in their eyes when they mention the place of their birth the land of their ancestors for centuries( Peshawer) , the peace ,the prosperity , their schools, colleges , the cricket teams the hockey teams…… and i feel why the hell are we away from the place of our ancestors, why, who decided it, why were we made to follow rather forced to follow whimsical decisions of egotistical politicians who managed to grab and divide India . It was India’s bad luck that greats like Bhagat singh , Ashfakullah khan, Azad, Bose ,were used up in the independence struggle ..only if any one of them would have been alive at the time of the British leaving India ( especially Bose), we would never have faced a partition and the ensuing fratricide. why were the sacrifices of those greats like bhagat singh , bose,Azad and countless others starting right from the 1800’s let to waste??? why were the conditions created which led to these horrific massacres……..ask our leaders / politicians who are still playing the game perfectly ” divide , create rifts in the society” and rule merrily. And yes all of them have conviniently forgotten the the partition and riots mention them has become a no-no……….imagine millions killed and the ones who drifted back to the new India what conditions they faced and till now our leaders have developed a selective amnesia and nary a mention ever…..the ” Refugees” as they were called ……..REFUGEES !!! plucked out of their hearths and homes , killed ,pillaged no money ,no home ,lifes at stake,just because some vainglorious leaders wanted so !!! Yes as u say innocents being sacrificed is the most horrible..and that too as a result of a monumental event ” the independence of India”…but what about that forgotten race of people”the Refugees” THE MILLIONS OF HINDUS AND SIKHS do they never deserve a mention in our India now???? yes muslims also suffered and the refugees from India imagine are still called mohajirs in pakistan ( and one of them is the famous or infamous Musharraf….what a pity!!………..i do not hate the British , they had nothing to lose as they had lost India they cared a devil for the people or the country…it was our own leaders may it be Jinnah, Nehru or for that matter Gandhi who led us into this( sardar Patel was a different matter i wish he should have been at the helm)……what independence did our leaders bring??….as a matter of fact the british could not have ruled India any longer effectively..they were beggared by the world war( do u know that rationing continued right upto 1948 in Britain) so empty coffered they were after the world war two…and more than a million Indians who had fought for them had come back home and that Army was slowly getting restless ( even the INA soldiers and officers were originally from the Kings army who were left to the dogs by the british after singqapore surrendered and they were taken POW by The Japanese and transferred to Bose as his soldiers when they volunteered for the INA)given the situation the British had no other way but to walk out of India as and when they could……..does anyone think here on this forum that the British were influenced by these esoteric movements announced by Gandhi, Nehru etc etc? No way ,the reason was that the British could not trust the native battle hardened army who had fought across the globe for the british ,any more, and that Army saw Indians as equal and as a match to any power in the world and only this hastened the britisher’s departure from India ……….and the vultures stepped in ” yeh tera hindustan” “yeh mera pakistan” …and the resulting horrors ……its a a shame ……….Pakistan still has not got away from the poison embedded in their psyche against India……….while in India we still create divisions and further sub divisions in society…at one time our leaders even almost managed to create a division between the Hindus and Sikhs ……unthinkable but true of our politicians.
    sometimes i think how unfortunate the people of Pakistan are….they cannot call the length and breadth of India as their own country which rightfully they should be , and similarly for us Indians , that we cannot call a Lahore or a Peshawer or a rawalpindi as our own country……..I close on this thought

  20. I am from Pakistan, a born Pakistani. But I always remember Jalandhar close to my heart, as my father belonged to Jalandhar. Whenever I think about partition, about that grusome bloodshed, I reach the conclusion that, that was not the act of the common man of both the communities. I know not a single person of my family took part in murder of any hindue, even not a distant relatives did that. I believe that the same was the case with the common hindues and sikhs. That was the act of professional criminals. And those professional crimanals nelonged to all the communities, and they were very few in numbers. Partition itself was not a tragedy, the real tragedy was the mindset of the people which was changed sharply seeing that blood on the streets. We could live the same way, without migrating to the other side. Then the situation in both the countries would have been different.

  21. Dear All
    Shekhar has touched a raw nerve in lot of us. I was reading about partition; wikipedia-ing my way through history and I found an entry on Shekhar’s blog. Rather amusingly, the blog entry was written year ago and it is still running strong; supporting the notion of how it touches a chord with all punjabis even today And for some third-generation delhiites such as myself.
    My family traces its roots to RawalPindi and ever since i can remember( i am 25); i have always wanted to see my beloved Punjab(West side)! Thankfully i donot have any horrible tale to share, my family reached Dera Baba Nanak safely.
    Still, I could not in all senses comprehend the absurdities behind the cruelities of such a horrendous event. Why and how befuddle me, even after conjuring up every little piece of information i can get.
    I would like to ask more Sikhs/Hindus and Muslims to share their stories. And a special thanks to Harpreet, you are an interesting person! I have been trying for years to reach out to folks who share the same vision: A movie on the glorious ear of Punjab: 1790-1840 AD.
    Thanks and Sarbat da Bhala

  22. Can someone please tell me which this documentary that everyone is talking about is?? I have searched high and low and google but can’t find which showcases a female ACTRESS (excuse the redundancy). The only one I found was the one from BBC with “Little Britain” comic actor Sanjeev Bhaskar.
    Please pray tell as I really want to see this documentary that talks about the massacres and people crying in it as opposed to smiling at “quaint” traditions.

    Dear Sir
    From 1972 after independent ,Bangladeshi Nationals started to Established Industries investing family resources ,adopting innovative technology as SELF EARNER & to create job for million of unemployed youth & achieve economic freedom when everything were damaged and leftover ,taking all the risk
    Government also started to help these growing PRIVATE SECTOR INDUSTRIES having fund from International Grant Offering Agencies and were distributed through different Bank. From 1979.
    But unfortunately Owner of Industries becomes victims of deep rooted conspiracy & Anti Propaganda .. The Bank Official refrain themselves from ascertaining production capacity of imported machineries and to provide required working capital loan in time extending total non-cooperation, negligence or even to were not willing to receive back their money if any Industrial Entrepreneur decided to pay back the loan for such non-banking attitude.. These the have done willing to jeopardize the Government Policy of Privatizations.
    and Hundreds & thousand of Industries Medium and Small Type Industrial Unit of Private Sector of Bangladesh have been destroyed by Bank Officials & Policy Maker .
    Due to Such conspiracy , negligence’s , fraudulent activities including Non Banking Activities of Bank Official & Policy Maker, most of the these Industries have became inoperative & have lost their Cash Capital, Expatriate Capabilities. And became helpless victims of such deep rooted conspiracy. Having no Legal Protections and remedies have thrown a large number of WORKER AND STAFFS JOBLESS who were engaged in these Industries for their livelihood..
    In 1992 &1996 the Sick Industries Rehabilitation Cell were formed by GOVERNMENT OF BANGLADESH & have Identified and Registered these Industries as SICK INDUSTRIES declaring not as defaulter but victims due to Violation of Contract, Negligence, Fraudulent Activities, Malpractices of Bank Officials including Policy Maker. And due to lack of Accountability .which are no more hidden matter .
    Although The INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRENEUR of Bangladesh are looking desperately for JUSTICE but the same have been closed for unknown reason. To serve the purpose of vested interest..
    Industrial Entrepreneur of Bangladesh are completely deprive of Legal Right due to enactment ARTHA RIN ACT ACT ( Money Landing Act ) on 1989 which were amended several time till 2007 and Bankruptcy Act on 1997 treating the INDUSTRIAL ENTRPRENEURS OF PRIVATE SECTOR as like as SLAVE of Primitive Age.
    But these laws are not applicable in Nationalized Sector where Billions of Dollars are invested with no result.
    Total outstanding Defaulted Bank Loan are about 60 to 70 % lying with Government Sector / Nationalized Concern ,
    And less then 10 % Bank loan are lying with Small & Medium Size Industries of Private Sector & Bank Official can explain well about the balance of the remaining out standing Loan.
    INDUSTRIAL ENTREPRENEUR OF PRIVATE SECTOR CAN NOT CLAIM ANY COMPENSATION OR SET OFF on the Suit filed by the Bank Official or Loan Giving Agencies FOR VIOLATION OF CONTRACT, NEGLEGIENCES, MALPRACTICES, including fraudulent activities of Bank officials instead of huge loss and damages although Bangladesh is commonly known as a Democratic country & People cry for democracy for 100 year back
    As a result CONDITION OF SICK / DISTRESSED INDUSTRIES are in deplorable now due to lack of accountability of Bank Official / Policy Maker & due to restriction as per SECTION NO 18 ( 2) & ( 3 ) of ARTHA RIN ACT allowing total indemnity to Bank Official / Loan Giving Agencies . These have been done to hide out existing high profile malpractices, corruption and negligence as per opinion of Expert Personals at organizational level depriving the Industrial Entrepreneur from Justice like those of common people.
    Industrial Entrepreneur have no legal right to protect themselves and from the oppression of Bank Official & Policy Maker which are no more hidden matter rather a part of deep rooted conspiracy till date and also from OPPRESSIVE LAW
    Bank official have given absolute Indemnity for Violation of Contract , Negligence Malpractices & Fraudulent Activities
    Industrial Entrepreneurs can file a separate suit for compensation in separate CIVIL COURT CREATING MORE complicacy for life long litigation WITH OF NO RESULT due to restriction to obstruct or resist any order / decree of ARTHA RIN ACT / COURT by any other DECREE OR ORDER OF OTHER COURT or even of by HIGHER COURT. THE RIGHT OF EQUITY OF LAW HAVE COMPLETELY BEEN DENIED TO THE INDUSTRIAL ENTREPRENEUR OF PRIVATE SECTOR IN BANGLADESH
    Sections 12, 12 ( khan ) 18 ( 2 ) & (3 ) 19, 20, 21, 34,40, 41, 42, 44, 47 and 50 of ARTHA RIN ACT are directly repressive types violating of ARTICLE NO : 8, 15, 26 and 27 of BANGLADESH CONSTITUTION and self contradictory to the policy of Government to resist Malpractices and Corruption and Privatization programmed ax Mentioned in Industrial Policy adopted time to time having no force of law at all.
    Now there are no other alternative way but to draw the kind attention of Concerned Authority Including International Community / Organizations seeking help for JUSTICE and Support to save & protect the OWNER OF SICK OR DISTRESSED INDUSTRIES OF Bangladesh under Private Sector, including their properties from such deep rooted conspiracy and oppressive laws as well to protect the interest of large number of workers, staffs of the Private Sector and also for CHANGE of such oppressive laws to restore Accountability of Bank Official / Loan Giving Agencies including Policy Maker to ensure for National Interest
    ( A ) – Humble appeal before the Government of Bangladesh to kindly allow Industrial Entrepreneur to claim Set Off or Compensation on suit filed by the Bank or loan Giving Agencies. or allow to Run Compensation Suit Simultaneously with suits file by Bank Officials under ARTHA RIN ACT with equal opportunity and equal right.
    ( B ) – All suits of Artha Rin Court may kindly be transferred to Civil Commercial Court providing Equal Right and Opportunity to prove and fix up the actual responsibility immediately .
    (C)- Considering the Heavy loss and Damages of Government Registered and Identified SICK INDUSTRIES of 1992 & 1996 of Private Sector since last 25 years due to Non-Banking Activities of Bank Officials and Policy Maker may kindly be allowed 100 % weaver of all type of Bank loan liabilities to minimize their heavy loss and damages to certain extent
    ( D )- The system of mortgage of Land & Properties from the Industrial Entrepreneur by Bank or any Loan Giving Agencies as Securities are mostly responsible for Malpractices and ever growing Corruption & Malpractices including Fraudulent Activities in Banking Sector, which are now proven matter and may kindly be completely abolished at earliest possible time to ESTABLISH ACCOUNTABILITY and check Malpractices, Fraudulent Activities which are now growing by large in Banking Sector or other Loan Giving Agencies.
    ( E ) – And the above mentioned Sections 12, 12 ( khan ) 18 ( 2 ) & (3 ) 19, 20, 21, 34,40, 41, 42, 44, 47 and 50 of ARTHA RIN ACT may kindly be abolished immediately to restore accountability & check against existing Negligence , Malpractices & Fraudulent Activities of Banking Sector.
    (F) – And Section 28 ( Ka ) of BANKING COMPANY of 2001 which explain WRITTEN OFF does not mean Weaver were enacted to misguide the International Community & Bangladesh National so as to serve the interest of the Vested Group & to hide out the above
    ( G ) – It would be an extreme favors if your good self kindly collect the PRINTED COPIES OF THE ABOVE MENTION LAWS for confirmation of mentioned facts .& to help the Suffering Groups by circulating this appeal among Honorable Member of your Organization and Partner’s Organizations & to Publish in WEBSITES or News Bulletin or News Media, Electronic Media of your territory to bring to the knowledge of Concern Authority including International COMMUNITY OR ORGANIZATIONS working for HUMAN RIGHT & FUNDAMENTAL / Democratic Right of People to prevent legal abuse for immediate help and support to protect the Owner of the Sick Industries / Distressed Industries of Bangladesh and their properties from such OPPRESSIVE LAWS for which they all would be ever grateful as well for change of all types of oppressive laws restoring accountability at all organization of Bangladesh.
    ********* N.B. the Summery of above mentioned Section of Artha Rin Act at a Glance:
    (A)- In section 18 ( 2 ) & ( 3 ) Defendant or Owner of Industries will not be able to claim any set – off or to make counter claim against the Bank or Bank Official nor will be allowed to claim any Compensation by submitting any Suit against Bank ( Plaintiff ) analogously or simultaneously in Artha Rin Court due to violation of contract, fraudulence activities including negligence, malpractices of Bank officials.
    (B)- Section 21: Settlement Conference between Borrower and Bank is a misnomer of Law of Arbitration or just to divert the attention of common people in the name arbitration or to make everybody fool .
    (C) -As Per Section 19 (6) of Artha Rin Act of 2003 no suits can be declared to be dismissed or discharged for default or above mentioned fault of Bank Official. As per Section 20 regarding any order or proceedings of Artha Rin Act can not be raised to Higher Court or to any Other Superior Authority without paying 50 % of claimed or Decretal Amount if the order is totally misleading or against any law or illegal one even .
    (D) – As per Section 34 Defendant or the Owner of Industries in Artha Rin Adalat Case can be put to the Jail for compelling or forcing him to pay the Bank Money without considering the fault or negligence’s of Bank Official without allowing him to proof the matter of violation of contract, fraudulence activities , negligence, malpractices of Bank officials. V- As per section 41 and 42 -The Owner of Industries are not allowed to file any appeal or revision to High Court or Superior Court against any order of Artha Rin Court without paying 50 % of the claimed amount or Decretal amount in advance , But the Bank Official are not require to pay any amount in advance in the Higher Court, allowing A Great Disparity of Law and Justice.
    (E) – Under section 47 and 50 , The learned Court under Artha Rin Act of 2003 have been bared to make any exemption of principal loan amount for Violation of Contract , Negligence’s Malpractices, including fraudulent activities or any fault of the bank official uni laterally
    (F)- Section 12 ( Kha ) Imposed a bar for filling write petition to Higher Court which are direct violation of human right and constitutional right of the citizen and reflects the negative attitude of Policy Maker and the Law Maker .
    Suffering Groups of Industrial Entrepreneurs of Bangladesh

  24. Namasthe, Salaam, Satsriakaal and Hello to all my India Pak bhaibahen. There is not one posting here that I don’t agree with. In every line, a sentence, a word, in each opinion or statement, I feel there is a trace of Sahir Ludhianvi and Amritha Pritham in u all. Even though I am not a punjabi, I wish I was, kyoon ke aapkii zabaan our culture totally eclipses the rest of India’s diversity. On the partition, Sahir saab kahe ” Woh waqth gaya, woh daur gaya, jab do qaumon kaa naara thaa, woh loge gaye iss dharthii se, jinkaa maqsad batwaara thaa. Love u all my bhai bahenon. Aapka khaadim, Dawood.

  25. i am too late to comment as this is jan-09 for this piece. but i can not stay. what i grat pain you are having in your heart. i thought pain makes man good, better and sometimes best…but you made me wrong. there might have so much pain in the time of partition. lacks of people were killed. i can imagine people seeing their homes while being forced to leave motherland….but we have learnt nothing. because the fight is still on…still we applause when pakistan loses game…not because we win but because of the feeling of hatred is still there. pain of partition is still there..but strange thing is we still want revenge…!
    shekhar i am a journalist and short film maker too. i live in surat, gujarat. this is the first time i am visiting your blog. thank you very much for making me imagine what would happened in that time.

  26. shekhar-ji,
    I am a southindian with an overwhelming urge to get the history of partition right – during my many travels to the UK I have met several British retired soldiers, some of whom have served in India before Partition and have expressed pain & remorse they felt at the tragedy of partition. As southindians with almost nothing at stake during the trauma of freedom/partition, we have grown up with almost no stories told to us by parents/grandparents about it – for us, the freedom struggle we read about in our school history had only the sweet connotation of the victory at the end of a bitter struggle, about everything ending well at the end of the story. About the awe-inspiring speech by Nehru at the stroke of the midnight hour and about the valiant stories of our freedom fighters. It is unimaginable to fathom the trauma and sorrow of people who had to sacrifice their own daughters, sisters & mothers and their own land for the sake of family honour or who had to see them brutalised beyond human imagination. Unimaginable that even in the same country that we all call ours across the length and breadth of the nation, there could be such varying emotions and memories behind that sweet word ‘Freedom’.

  27. it’s just an awsome writing from u sir….yes it feels pain hearing about partition…it has totally chnged the scenario of both country…

  28. I just happened to stumble upon your blog today, I am just an ordinary 26 year old citizen of this country, this small write up by you almost made me to breakdown into tears, I am as frustrated and tired as you are. I think There is something fundamentally wrong with our countries policy towards the concept called religion, I believe that religion is the boundary within which humanity suffers. The word secular attains a different meaning when it is used to define our nation. We call ourselves as a secular nation by doing so we acknowledge the fact that we are different, we have carried the differences along with us through all these years and it has already become 61 odd years, its high time now that we abolish the practice of religion being considered as the primary identity of a citizen of this country. I am Prasanna Kumar and I am an Indian that should be the end of my identity, its not necessary for the government to know the religion that I practice…..…. Well if I say that you are a true hindu does that make you any better than what you are now as an Indian or if I say you not a true hindu does that make any difference at all ????? ????????????????
    I think it’s because of this fundamental fallacy that we see such kind of arguments happening time and again between the people belonging to Hindu, Muslim and Christian community. People who get into such an argument just have command over their will alone but they try to represent their entire community and that’s where the entire thing gets beyond national interest. when a Muslim tries to prove that “not all the Muslims are like that” what is he trying to prove, is he trying to prove that Muslims are generally good but its just a few people who don’t get along or when the Hindus or the Hindustanis when they try to argue that mullahas are pro pakistan what are they trying to prove?, are they trying to prove that they are more Indian just because they are against pakistan or a few indian muslims who show hatred towards our country or Christians for that matter who think Christianity is the only solution for all the chaos that’s happening around the world. If at all one want’s to show ones patriotism why doesn’t he or she show his or her anger towards the root cause of all these chaos –“religion”. Why don’t we stop looking people through the eyes of religion?

  29. Pain or no pain, blood or no blood, but partition was the best thing that ever happened to India. We will see this in years to come. Actually we already started seeing it. Look at Pakistan a terrorist den of world. Ever country is concerned about this country positively or negatively.

  30. 1. Your site is emotional and make me weep.
    2. In your biography, can you add that some info. on the relationship with Dev Anand, Chetan Anand and others who may or may not affected / inspired / driven you.
    3. I want to re see/ revisit/ re view on TV, your Old TV serial (1990 or likewise)where you had interacted with God and shot outside India.

  31. Dear Shekharji
    I was born 5 years after India was freed from the shackles of British Raj, but with pangs of partition. British had taken advantage of the greediness of our power hungry leaders. They could not sacrifice self interest for power.
    Your narration of the partition days and the woes has moved me. Post parttion children like me, cannot imagine the agony of partition. But we sometimes question ourselves- why did we fall into the trap of the British Raj ? Perhaps our leaders were in a hurry to encash a lottery ticket.
    The result is clear. Pakistan as a nation is vagabond right from the beginning. I agree with Mr. Girish on this count.
    Arun More

  32. Dear shekhar,
    the main post is thought provoking, and moving, Your reply to ‘hackit’ seemed so parctical and sensible.
    I have not heard much of partition stories,each write up has a different view point, at times too misleading as to who was faulty! I have not met anyone who underwent such a horrifying phase.
    Its not about the sense of guilt on those past issues, Its beyond my knowledge why haven’t we learnt a lesson? Why again the hindu muslim clash for Ram Mandir? I am a hindu and feel ashamed of some things like my grandparents had contributed for the bricks of ram mandir, those days RSS people used to come and collect some money for that sake, something called ‘karasevaks’ or so I do not remember clearly, I was less that 10 then. I lived in a very conservative hindu family where we were not encouraged to bring muslim friends home, and niether to visit their homes. But we were allowed to get friends with muslims!
    When we all know that this discrimination can only lead to worse why do we still do it? Its not about my family and me, its on the other counterparts also, some of my muslim friends were asked by their parents to keep distance from hindus! And this continues, we appreciate
    Dr Kalam, All khans of Bolloywood, but we do make offensive generalizations, same from the counterparts! They too feel they are superior and so is their religion, and when they say that we too can not keep quite, we do the same and the arguments sets on….And mostly I try to put an end saying all religions are beautiful, and equally sensible. or else leave the room to avoid the argument
    Can something better be done?

  33. Hello,
    A late entrant to the site but not to the cause you hv raised. Partition is history and we all hv gone through its perfidity.Each one of us has his own version, a story and a lingering desire to correct what our forefathers had wronged. Sad to say that our forefathers did wrong and inhuman but were’nt they misled. Like being done even now ! It was the conceit of Jinnah and Nehru that ravaged our lives, obliterated our pasts and made us remorse till date !
    I too was told of stories abounding Nisbat Road,Mcleod Road, Chabchha Sahib, Ganga Ram Hospital and ofcourse the Anarkali…..but its time to bring in something which keeps us as good neighbours. Thats what the new generation has to do and preserve its historic links. Dangers lurk to repeat the sordid history only we all hv to play our roles.
    Shekhar, you wrote something from your heart and which has touched others…this solidifies my belief that we all long for love and peace. Met you recently at your aunt’s funeral in Delhi. Keep doing such good work.

  34. I am a Muslim for 1400 years….
    A Punjabi for 2500 years…
    A Pakistani only for 55 years…
    I am an Indian since last 3300 years…
    Where should my loyalties lie?
    With Islam?Punjab?PAKISTAN? Or INDIA?
    Partition is India’s legacy of shame, a wound that never heals, an event so scarring that it will never truly be removed until every Hindu and Muslim accepts it as a “COLLECTIVE FAILURE” and a “COLLECTIVE SHAME”….

  35. I am a Muslim for 1400 years….
    A Punjabi for 2500 years…
    A Pakistani only for 52 years…
    I am an Indian since last 3300 years…
    Where should my loyalties lie?
    With Islam?Punjab?PAKISTAN? Or INDIA?
    Partition is India’s legacy of shame, a wound that never heals, an event so scarring that it will never truly be removed until every Hindu and Muslim accepts it as a “COLLECTIVE FAILURE” and a “COLLECTIVE SHAME”….

  36. Partition of India is biggest blunder happened to India.I sympathise with pain and agony faced by the Hindus and Sikhs during partition of India.No words cannot console them or make them happy.The curse of partition victims is taking toll of Pakistan.I appreciate the Sindhi people in India after loosing everything they survived and prospering more as compared to other communities of India.I hope one day they will get Sindh back.
    I heard a person when a Muslim poet reluctantly went to Pakistan at the time of partition after observing the situation he was regretting about migrating.He felt bad and went to Jawarlal Nehru and Jawahar Lal Nehru granted Indian Citizenship.
    I don’t know his name.He wrote an Urdu couplet
    “Aa gaye soo-e-haram(mosque),waiz(muezzin) ke behkane se hum,warna raazi tho hamse bhutkhana(temple) tha,bhutkane se ham.

  37. Shekhar Sahab, You have your anand uncle’s good looks. Do you happend to see Dev sahab often?
    kind regards

  38. My father, mother, aunts, uncles, grandparents where all in the Partition of India. My family moved to Pakistan from Jammu and every person in our extended family has a story. My grandfather was a gladiator at the court of the Raja of Jammu (name escapes me right now) my clan were wealthy, middle class you could say.
    When the violence started in punjab my father was orphaned, saw his family killed and women raped. My father was 14 at the time. he then was taken as a slave by a hindu landowner who changed my father’s name to a hindu one.
    My mother’s mother was imprisioned in a concentration camp for 2 years where she was raped and bore a son by a hindu. She had 3 children, I died due to cholera in the camp the other was a girl 1 yr old who was flung against a tree, survived but some brain damage.
    My grandfather waited 2 years for my grandmother everyday walking to a different part of the border to wait for refugees to walk past and checked if his wife was there.
    One day she walked across the border with her 2 children strapped to her chest and carrying a 14yr old girl on her back who was my grandfathers sister.
    the 14yr old girl died later due to repeated rape and tortue. the 2 children one my grandfather’s daughter and one a hindu man’s son. My grandfather raised him like his own son I didn’t even know there was a difference between him and my other 2 mamus. Partition bought out the worst and the best in humanity.
    There are many more stories attached to my family but I will tell you these stories have come down to me in fragments and whispers. The suffering of the partition is and was real and the people who suffered and died or survived deserve our respect.
    The people whose history is partition do not scream at each other of religion and race and fault but they simply say this is our experience. this is how we were torn apart.
    How many civilisations before and since have been torn apart. Is it time to learn yet?

  39. Hi Shekhar,
    Nameste/Salam/ Satsari Akal,
    I was born in Pakistan and I am from Pakistan. My Parents migrated to Pakistan from Sonipat (Heryana).
    I wish rather I pray Allah that every child born in India & Pakistan would have the same thinking as you hav.
    Syed Farhat Ali

  40. Dear Shekharji,
    I am planning to do Phd in Hindi lit. And was looking up some info on this particular topic which touches me a lot. Bang! i came on to your write up. What a way to start? Thanx a lot for that. I surely want to portray Pain during and after partition, hope it will be of some use. I want to forgo the politics for sure.
    Love and Regards

  41. I empathise with all the ppl who suffered so much 🙁 sad to even read about their trauma. Hope God gives me enough strength to endure all of it during my Phd.

  42. Thanx a lot for a prompt reply from such an unique personality, but i am very apprehensive. After reading your article i read others too and i am so affected by the pain and miseries, dunno how i will end up at the end of my thesis 🙂

  43. Hi Shekhar,

    I agree with what you’ve posted. It is very easy to blame the British, and ignore what our own people did. It’s sad that even today, Pakistan is still considered an enemy of India and vice versa. I grew up abroad and have met many Pakistanis. They’re no different from us.

    I hope that some day Pakistan and India can co-exist.



  44. The reasons of partion of India – Just one reason.


    I am one of those unfortunate people who endured and survived the rigours of migration from East Panjab to West Panjab. The seven-hour train journey from Ambala to Wagah spread over four days and my mother had been so badly injured that she could die any moment. My mother breathed her last after a few days crossing into Pakistan and was buried in Lahore. People who died in the journey were thrown away to wild animals and we saw our nears and dears being ripped apart by the beasts of prey. Of course this happened on both sides. Muslims in Pakistan were not far behind their Hindu-Sikh counterparts in looting, raping and abductions which I personally found out about a year later in Pakistan.

    However, in all the accounts of causes and reasons of partition that have appeared is not mentioned the only reason because of which the catastrophic partition of India took please. It has not been mentioned anywhere that it was the Muslim League who had first approved the Cabinet Mission Plan to keep India united. The Muslim League approved the Cabinet Mission Plan unanimously. Whereas later, having taken a longer time than did the Muslim League, the Congress also gave its approval, but after a fierce voting.

    That shows that the Muslim League was united on keeping India united. And the Indian National Congress was divided on keeping India united.

    Although quotations from Abul Kalam Azad’s ‘India Wins Freedom’ appear in articles and books on the subject. But, sadly what is not quoted are the passages that show quite clearly what precipitated the partition of India and that the Indian National Congress leadership sacrificed the unity of India over the false prestige of the President of Indian National Congress, i.e. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. And Indian National Congress made Jinnah and the Muslim League the scapegoat of their failures. I give below the relevant passages from ‘India Wins Freedom’.

    Abul Kalam Azad giving account of the A.I.C.C.’s passing the resolution to approve the Cabinet Mission Plan, says:

    “My speech had a decisive influence on the audience. When the vote was taken the resolution was passed with an overwhelming majority, thus the seal of approval was put on the Working Committee’s resolution accepting the Cabinet Mission Plan.

    After a few days, I received telegrams of congratulation from Lord Pethick Lawrence and Sir Stafford Cripps. They were happy that the A.I.C.C. had accepted my resolution and congratulated me on my able presentation of the Cabinet Mission Plan.

    “Now happened one of those unfortunate events which changed the course of history. On 10 July, Jawaharlal held a Press Conference in Bombay in which he made a statement which in normal circumstances might have passed almost unnoticed, but in the existing atmosphere of suspicion and hatred, set in train a most unfortunate series of consequences. Some Press representatives asked him whether with the passing of the Resolution by A.I.C.C., the Congress had accepted the Plan in toto, including the composition of the interim Government.

    “Jawaharlal stated in reply that Congress would enter the Constituent Assembly ‘completely unfettered by agreements and free to meet all situations as they arise.’ (Inverted comas of the author)

    “Press representatives further asked if this meant that the Cabinet Mission Plan could be modified.

    “Jawaharlal replied emphatically that the Congress had agreed only to participate in the Constituent Assembly and regarded itself free to change or modify the Cabinet Mission Plan as it thought best.

    “I must place on record that Jawaharlal’s statement was wrong. It was not correct to say that Congress was free to modify the Plan as it pleased. We had in fact agreed that the Central Government would be federal. There would be the compulsory list of three Central subjects while all other subjects remained in the provincial sphere. We had further agreed that there would be the three Sections, viz. A, B and C in which the provinces would be grouped. These matters could not be changed unilaterally by Congress without the consent of other parties to the agreement.

    “The Muslim League had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan, as this represented the utmost limit to which the British Government would go. In his speech to the League Council, Mr. Jinnah had clearly stated that he recommended acceptance only because nothing better could be obtained.

    “Mr. Jinnah was thus not very happy about the outcome of the negotiations, but he had reconciled himself as there was no alternative. Jawaharlal’s statement came to him as a bombshell. ………………………………………………………………….

    ………………………………………………………………………… Now that the Congress President had declared that the Congress could change the scheme through its majority in the Constituent Assembly, this would mean that the minorities were


    placed at the mercy of the majority. His view was that Jawaharlal’s declaration meant that the Congress had rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan and as such the Viceroy should call upon the Muslim league, which had accepted the Plan, to form the Government.

    “I was extremely perturbed by this new development. I saw that the scheme for which I had worked so hard was being destroyed through our own action. I felt that a meeting of the Working Committee must be held immediately to review the situation. The Working Committee accordingly met on 8 August. I pointed out that if we wanted to save the situation, we must make it clear that the view of the Congress was expressed by the resolution passed by the A.I.C.C. and that no individual, not even the Congress President, could change it.

    The Working Committee felt that it faced a dilemma. On the one side, the prestige of the Congress President was at stake. On the other, the settlement which we had so painfully achieved was in danger. To repudiate the President’s statement would weaken the organization but to give up the Cabinet Mission Plan would ruin the country. Finally, we drafted a Resolution which made no reference to the Press Conference but reaffirmed the decision of the A.I.C.C. in the following terms:

    The Working Committee regret to note that the Council of the All-India Muslim League, reversing their previous decision, had decided not to participate in the Constituent Assembly. In this period of rapid transition from dependence on a foreign power to full independence, when vast and intricate political and economic problems have to be faced and solved, the largest measure of co-operation among the people of India and their representatives is called for, so that the change-over should be smooth and to the advantage of all concerned. The Committee realise that there are differences in the outlook and objectives of the Congress and the Muslim League. Nevertheless, in the larger interest of the ……………………………………………………………………………..

    “We had hoped that this Resolution of the Working Committee would save the situation …………………………………… .. ………………………………………….. Mr. Jinnah did not however accept the position and held that Jawaharlal’s statement represented the real mind of Congress. He argued that if Congress could change so many times, while the British were still in the country and power had not come to its hands, what assurance could the minorities have that once the British left, Congress would not again change and go back to the position taken up in Jawaharlal’s statement?

    “His Excellency the Viceroy, with the approval of His Majesty’s Government, has invited the President of the Congress to take proposals for the immediate formation of an interim Government and the President of the Congress has accepted the invitation. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru will shortly visit New Delhi to discuss this proposal with His Excellency the Viceroy.”

    A few passages further, Abul Kalam Azad says:

    “Jawaharlal is one of my dearest friends and his contribution to India’s national life is second to none. He has worked and suffered for Indian freedom, and since the attainment of independence, he has become the symbol of our national unity and progress. I have nevertheless to say with regret that he is at times apt to be carried away by his feelings. Not only so, but sometimes he is so impressed by theoretical considerations that he is apt to underestimate the realities of a situation.

    “His fondness for abstract theory was responsible for his statement about the Constituent Assembly. The same theoretical bias led him to commit a similar mistake in 1937, when the first elections were held under the Government of India act, 1935. ” (this is about forming the Government of U.P. and Nehru’s refusal to include both Nawab Ismail Khan and Choudhari Khaliquzzaman in the U.P. Government – my words) “Jawaharlal’s mistake in 1937 had been bad enough. The mistake in 1946 proved even more costly.”

    My comments: Lord Wavell, the Viceroy, had earlier declared that whichever party first accepted the plan, would be invited to form the Interim Government. That gutless Viceroy went back on his promise and bypassing Jinnah in blatant deceit invited the he President of the Congress instead to form the Interim Government, who had already repudiated the Cabinet Mission Plan and whose catalogue of mistakes had ruined the unity of India.

    I repeat one passage quoted above.

    “The Working Committee felt that it faced a dilemma. On the one side, the prestige of the Congress President was at stake . On the other, the settlement which we had so painfully achieved was in danger. To repudiate the President’s statement would weaken the organization but to give up the Cabinet Mission Plan would ruin the country. Finally, we drafted a Resolution which made no reference to the Press Conference but reaffirmed the decision of the A.I.C.C. in the following terms. (my emphasis)


    The gutless, supine and myopic leadership of the Indian National Congress could not see woods from the trees and, in all lunacy, went on to pass a resolution which begins unashamedly by shoving all the blame on the Muslim League. They were so blinded by their selfish interest that they could not see the impending catastrophe by not calling a spade a spade and, as Abul Kalam Azad has recorded, completely omitted even the mention of the bone of contention: the notorious 10 July Nehru Press Conference. The imbecile leadership of Indian National Congress came out in full force to cover up the Himalayan blunder of Nehru rather than rectifying it, which blunder according to Azad changed the course of history of India. What a farce! What a farce!!

    The display of lunacy did not stop there. Lord Wawell, in utter insanity, called upon Jawaharlal Nehru, who had repudiated the Cabinet Mission Plan agreement, to form the Interim Government of India. And then all those lunatics, Congress leadership, Wavell and all, went on to blame Mr. Jinnah for the partition. What hypocrisy! What hypocrisy!!

    It is not Jinnah who brought about the partition of India; it is the duo of the gutless, spineless, unashamed Jawaharlal Nehru and the self-opinionated, egoistic Lord Mountbatten (now in control) who brought about the partition and the destruction upon India. These two demagogues, Nehru and Mountbatten, preferred the ruination of the country over the false prestige of the Congress President. (It still remains an enigma that Nehru had earlier gone to Malaysia and met Mountbatten, the Supreme Commander. Mountbatten, a soldier in uniform on active service, then made a momentous political statement of great significance by calling Nehru “the future Prime Minister of India”.)

    Mr. Jinnah at all times bent over backwards to keep India united. Jinnah concluded the Lucknow Pact I, which was destroyed by Motilal Nehru, the father of Jawaharlal, then again Mr. Jinnah concluded Lucknow Pact II, which was destroyed by Jawaharlal Nehru, then in 1937 Mr. Jinnah threw his weight behind fighting for the independence together with Indian National Congress by way of joining the government in U.P. which was spurned by Jawaharlal Nehru, as recorded by Maulana Azad, and then the1946 disastrous blunder committed by Jawaharlal Nehru.

    I am not a fan of Jinnah but I can say it on my life that Jinnah has been honest every single moment of his life. No power on earth could move him away from truth and he would not entertain an expediency that contained a minutest deviation from truth. His self-interest has always been to uphold the truth at all times under all circumstances. Mr. Jinnah was always immaculately dressed. So was his conscience: always immaculately clean of bias, prejudice and falsehood. Whatever he did or said was always clear, manifest and self-evident. And that was also the hall-mark of his legal practice.

    To blame Mr. Jinnah for the calamity of partition of India and all the destruction that came in its wake is grossly unjust, false and the ugliest dishonesty of history.

    Going by the account of events given by Maulana Azad that, according him, changed the course of history, there is only one single reason of the disastrous partition of India: The senseless and downright dishonest display of Nehru’s obnoxious & foul diplomacy at the time!!! And the Indian National Congress going along with it.

    Thus, united India was sacrificed at the alter of false prestige of the President of Indian National Congress.

    History should record it. And I note it with utter dismay that it is omitted all over to record this heinous crime in history committed by the Indian National Congress under the overall lordship of Lord Mountbatten.

    It is just to put the record straight.

    Anwar Ahmad Ansari, Harrow, Middlesex, England.

  45. Jinah had unconditionally accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan. It was, unfortunately, Nehru who repudiated the agreement.

  46. A pakistani wife of an indian citizen has great difficulty travelling to india or to extend her visa even though her husband and kids are all citizens of india and vice versa. Visas are tied to a max of 3 cities and there is a limit on entry into the country in one year. One fails to understand the logic of our so called “Worlds largest democracy”. Are the officials/ministers not human beings or do they not have a family? Sadly, these people are neglected both by the media, the human rights and the peace hawks. The recent relaxation of the indian visa procedures for pakistanis hasn’t addressed their issues and is just old wine in a new bottle. People like you can help by bringing to light these issues.

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