Why relive the horrors of those dark days?


I remember my paternal grandfather’s house near Chaura Bazar in Ludhiana, a small, triple storey house with a tiny room, a small kitchen, a courtyard on the ground floor and a toilet without sewage on the top floor. It was a queer-looking house that he got in claim in lieu of the property left behind in Pakistan at the time of the partition. No different is the story of my maternal grandfather who was allotted a house in Gurgaon in early 50s, much before it became a Millennium City. Both my grandparents, paternal and maternal, hailed from Multan, now in Pakistan. They were uprooted and had to leave behind their  home and hearth,  when they came to India as refugees. A huge loss! But how can I forget that the houses they got in claim were the ones vacated by Muslims who had to flee India under similar circumstances?

I am lucky to have opened my eyes a decade after independence but my grandparents and parents witnessed the trauma of partition -mass migration, barbaric killings, senseless violence, arson and loot on a large scale on both sides of the border. When tension started brewing, my mother, a young unmarried girl at that time, was sent with her youngest brother to India by train. Fortunately, they did not face any mob attack or violent encounter on the way. However, there were instances when trains arrived with the bodies, and in retaliation, were sent across the border with bodies of passengers. My mother and my mama safely reached Beas, where they were received by their uncle who was the station master.It was much later that my grandparents joined them. Thankfully, the family did not have to put up in refugee camps; nevertheless, they were refugees who had to rebuild their life.

The story told by my father is no less horrific .He was a young government servant posted in Delhi at the time of partition. He had seen a truck- load of dead bodies being carried. Most horrifying was the image of a head that kept rising occasionally from the heap, obviously still alive but dumped with the dead.

There is no dearth of such gruesome tales of violence and bloodshed during the partition. People were targeted, killed, looted, destroyed, uprooted all because of the difference in faith. The tragedy was  suffered by both the communities as terrible atrocities and senseless killings engulfed populace on both sides of the border. I feel those who let loose hell upon fellow human beings were religious fanatics- could be Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs but certainly not humans.

It has been 75 years. The memories have faded, most of the people who bore the brunt of the partition, suffered unspeakable hardships are gone, and the rest are in their twilight years, more or less at peace now. What is the point of reliving the trauma when men turned into savages? Why scratch the old wounds which may become a reason to promote hatred and discord?

No more displacement, no more violence, no more communal tension. Let harmony prevail.

(Published in The Tribune as MIDDLE on 20 August 2022)

19 Replies to “Why relive the horrors of those dark days?”

  1. The partition period was horrible.And you narrated it very well as if it was happening in front of very eyes.Similar tragic situation was prevailing in West Bengal and East pakistan/Bangladesh .People suffered a lot because of communal violence.Right madam, last paragraph of this blog is true ‘Sarvesham Shanti bhavatu’.

  2. Gaima , can’t thank you enough for being an ardent reader of my posts. Not only you read but never fail to give your feedback . Feel encouraged and motivated.

  3. Dear Rama you just write amazing description of whatever you choose to write about. Sensitive selection of words add so much soul stirring feelings to ponder upon ! I think people who stay in India or Pakistan keep getting dose of hatred based upon religion . Australia being multicultural society , we get to meet so many Muslims too who realise it is politically motivated and we should stay away from negative thoughts and actions . Keep writing dear. !!! Yeh dil mange more !!!

    1. Thank you so much Vini, I feel honoured and humbled at the same time.In fact , your command of the language and expression is brilliant.
      “Mazhab nahin sikhata aapas min bair rakhna…” seems hollow .Sad that religion that takes us closer to God , makes us hate His children.

  4. Rama while going through your article realised that how a man can easily forget the sacrifices of patriots. Sacrilige faced by both Hindus and Muslims alike. You have exactly said be bygones be bygones. It may not erupt again Avoid every movement which can rekindle the Catastrophe. Loved your article. Humans also behave fanatically and forget the humanity
    No body will like to relive this pangs of pain during the partition of 1947 Than we were looking forward to golden days of Independence and getting out of the shackles of slavery After 75 years we are again at the verge of same scenario based on the intolerance & hate for each other’s religion. Exactly Rama we don’t want to relive horrors of bloodshed & anarchy.
    You not only can feel the pulse of human nature but also of Nation Kudos

    1. Thanks Mrs Chopra for your giving your perspective. I feel the same. Why relive the pangs and trauma of partition ?Let bygone be bygone.I wonder what purpose observing 14th August as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day ‘serves. No point in scratching old wounds, may promote intolerance and hatred.

  5. Well written article Rama. Almost every family in this part of the country has some stories. My maternal grandfather lost everything when he came from Lahore as a refugee. But the remarkable thing about that generation was that they didn’t carry bitterness for long. They were always ready to help one and all, always compassionate with their homes open for all. We have a lot to learn from them.

    1. Oh yes Alka . This is what I feel. Despite losing so much , surprisingly, they didn’t carry bitterness for long. May be they were busy rebuilding their life.. Absolutely, so much to learn from them and also from you for a positive perspective. Thank you so much.

  6. Sham bhi thi dhuan dhuan. Husn bhi tha. Udas udas. Dil ko kai kahaniyan yaad si aakar reh gayi. Raghupati rai sahai. When I read your lively article, i recalled too many horror stories of my childhood which elders used to repeat waling and crying uncontrollably. One of that I heard from horse mouth. A wife crying and requesting to kill her before she falls in the hands of rioters and he killed her on her request. Though he married again but i dont remember a single day when he did not cry uncontrobally for his dear wife. After gone through this havoc if we did not learn lesson we are not better than ferocious animals. I appreciate and fully support your human approach. Thanks

    1. OMG! Those touching lines …and the heart wrenching story. One shudders at the thought of those terrible times.My only submission is why recall those dark days . Why scratch old wounds that are likely to create more bitterness? We need to heal, promote brotherhood for our own peace of mind and for the larger interest of the nation.

  7. Once again an excellent write up by Rama. Many of her earlier articles have a sparkling lighter vein but this piece has astonished me with profound maturity of thought.
    I wish our so called political and religious leaders could imbibe even an iota of it. No man, worthy of being called a human being,of what ever caste, religion or nationality would condone the horrors of Indian partition, Jewish genocide or other such instances but it is dangerous to provoke hatred and conflict by rekindling the fires and blame games.
    What happened cannot be unravelled, but the need is to promote harmony so as to prevent such traumatic happenings in future.
    Thanks, Rama, for reminding us.

    1. Actually tears in my eyes as I read your comments…so meaningful, so true. Oh yes ma’am , no more traumatic happenings in future…

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