A very happy Independence Day to all of you!🇮🇳
Today, it has been exactly 75 years we got freedom from the colonial rule of the British.
Well, what better day to take you through the days of the India- Pakistan Partition!😃☀️
In August of 1947 while the British Raj finally came to an end and gave rise to an Independent India, instead of TRIUMPH, our country faced what can only be described as one of the bloodiest disruption in human history. ☄️
It is the history of pain, separation, loss and despair.
“We are independent now, they said, but what good is it when you have to leave everything behind!?”
My grandfather (DADA) narrates to me his encounter of the India-Pakistan Partition, some of his memories still vivid and stark.📝
A little back story:
As soon as the partition was announced, Sindh voted to join the new nation of Pakistan (mostly because it was promised a great degree of freedom along with secured ethnic identity), but a lot of the Sindhi Hindus chose to migrate to India.
My Dada spent the initial six years of his life in Sukkur, Sindh (present day Pakistan) where he could attend school for only a year.
He fondly recalls living in a Haveli, spacious and uncluttered (unlike present day houses), with a huge varandah in the centre and a washroom (without a door 😛 ) on the terrace. 🏡
They were happy living a simple, uncomplicated life but with the announcement of India-Pakistan Partition, their lives changed overnight; it was now a battle for survival.
Friends became enemies, women and children were getting abducted, people were ruthlessly killing each other; 🔪
all this in the name of religion.
They had no choice but to leave for India following the incessant attacks by the rioters.
Trying every bit to ensure survival, BABA (my great grandfather) decided to move his family of four 👨👩👧👦to Karachi where they stayed in a Dharamshala for a few days, in hopes of ultimately reaching India.
Imagine having to uproot your WHOLE life in the matter of just a few days?
(Karachi was the only link to reach India, where people could either cross the border via sea or rail. Around nine steamers 🛳were chartered by the Government of India with an ability to migrate not more than 2000 people per day.)
It is interesting how we have unceasing memories of people based on their traits.
Dada clearly remembers the owner of the Dharamshala, a Muslim man with a thick white beard, who was kind enough to give them a shelter in such dreadful times.
The Maulana sweared protection to all guests within his quarters.
He recalls the man to be one of the most helpful, loyal person he has met till date.
Sadly, the situation in Karachi was worse. Bloodshed, riots, violence was on its peak.
The town had been reduced to ash and rubble.
To protect themselves from the brutal situation outside, they decided to seal the main entrance with wooden planks 🏚and on top of that, a bare electric wire 🔌(with flowing current) was left right outside the main entrance.
Despite all this, a few stones managed to enter the Dharamshala.
Luckily it didn’t hurt anyone, but just imagining the situation gives me chills down my spine.
For days together, they hid from the rioters and waited for the protests to calm down.
Eventually, as the situation outside improved, they boarded a steamer from Karachi (along with hundreds of others) and disembarked in Bombay (almost 589 nautical miles away).
As they reached the Indian soil, the Government of India received and accommodated them in the relief camps. ⛺️
From being citizens (back in Sukkur), they were now homeless refugees with no money, on a new land.
What was once their homeland, their town, now remained inaccessible by the national borders. This took a toll on mostly all those who migrated from the place!
Hindu Sindhis had lost all means of livelihood and were further subjected to immense financial hardships.
To cope with their condition, as a little child Dada had to resort to selling wheat rotis in trains (in the era when jowar was cheaper than wheat). 🫓
If someone was kind enough they would offer him to eat first.
“Beta tumne khai?”
For the first couple years in Independent India, he shifted between cities like Bombay, Jaipur, Gwalior, Pekhua (UP) to finally Haridwar, were he spent most of his teenage years.
Eventually, searching for better work opportunities he shifted to Delhi in 1959.
Even though the times were turbulent and hard for all, humanity persevered. ❤
The people stood up for each other irrespective of their religion. 🤝
Well, how ironic is that!??
Having said that, not everybody’s struggle in the partition was the same – some were betrayed by their own family and friends, while others survived solely with the help of strangers.
Many lost their nears and dears while some found their soulmates in this journey.
I am sure your grandparents have some interesting and gripping moments to share about the partition too!
If you have similar stories to share, I would be more than excited to listen to them.
Let me know in the comments section below! 😃