Prashant Panjiar
Kaifi Azmi
Emigre poetry is laden with nostalgia, he says, suggesting a turf for cultural dialogue. More Stories
COMMENTS PRINT
Special Issue: Partition  Partition
At six, she witnessed the slaughter of her family. In 1984, she relived the trauma.
Jeet Behn
Two Hindu families, who never left Dhaka in '47, were hit by the Ayodhya spillover.
P.K. Chakravarty
A Mohajir in Sindh, uprooted from UP, she finds no respite from a harsh, blood-shot life.
Naeema Begum
After two years as Pakistani citizen, she realised she was differently acculturised.
Begum Para
The classical maestro opted for Pakistan but admits he paid a price for it: his music.
Ustad Fateh Ali Khan
His Pakistani family got Mohajir-ised; he, over here, got marginalised.
Ali Sardar Jafri
The dancer-actress is happy to be in Lahore, says Muslims are kings there.
Uzra Bhatt
Gifted with a syncretic outlook, he decided to go west when all friends, with whom he discussed poetry, left.
Intezar Hussein
A refugee from Calcutta's legal street, he was sensitised to the minority predicament.
Kemaluddin Hossain
The Gentle Giant of Multan wanted to look in on his native Haryana village, but was refused permission.
Inzamam-ul Haq
Haunted by bleak images of riots, famine and migration, he took refuge in literature.
Sunil Gangopadhyay
He saw mud, massacre and betrayal in '47; yet 71 was just duty, not poetic justice.
J.S. Aurora
He came with the deathly 'Karachi Cologne' on him; joined Edwina's rescue team.
From UP's Azamgarh, he called democratic polls after Zia's death; yet retains a sense of dissatisfaction
Fundamentalist by 'birth, instinct, training', his aggressive motto is 'Next year, Lahore'.
They've come very far from the gutter that life threw them into; but his mother still calls Delhiites 'Hindustanis'.
Angry with a dream gone sour, Pakistan's 'Father Teresa' is still fired with optimism.
He hoped for a Lahore, India, address. And fled only when history dictated otherwise.
Though relieved to leave Lahore, she missed its life of the mind. Delhi was a village.
Now head of state, in 1947 he was one among the dispossessed millions.
At 11, torn from his family, he fled East Bengal with Rs 30, borrowed from a Muslim retainer
Special Issue: Partition
These are the stories of women, children, everyman; of the pain and trauma of being uprooted--an account of our holocaust
Sunil Mehra, Arshad Mahmud, Azhar Abbas, Mazhar Zaidi, Pritha Sen
BEING a card-carrying communist, I was hounded by the British police. During Partition, I was underground in Aurangabad. My parents and my five brothers took the ship from Bombay to Karachi. By the time I surfaced, their ship had left.

Over 20 years passed. Nephews and nieces grew up, got married. I wasn't there. Mother died. I wasn't there. Because Pakistan would not give me a visa. Because I was a communist. Like my friend Bukhari sahib, the Pakistani writer, would say, "Ek hota hai kutta. Ek hota hai bahut hi kutta. Tum unki nazar mein bahut hi kuttey ho!"

Not a mere communist. I was too utterly reprehensible, too arch a communist for that government to risk my presence there. I got a visa during Bhutto's regime. Sub miley. Ek maa nahin thi bas (Met everyone, except ma...) Talking about this is like scratching an old scab, making it bleed.

What can one say about 1947? It was a bloody history we saw being made. One that was to repeat itself with even more animal fury in 1984 after Indira Gandhi died. We lost everything that purportedly qualifies us to be called humans.

What can one say about those who left? That the pain they experienced was nowhere as wrenching as the pain of those they left behind? But who can deny the pain of the emigre?

The Sindhi that came from Pakistan to India is called 'Seth'. The Muslim that left India for Pakistan is called 'Mohajir'. Bade Ghulam Ali was asked by a Pakistani luminary, Mohammed All, to sing. He started "mohe na chhedo Nandlal" and was interrupted rudely with a "kucch Pakistani music gaiye". He retorted: "Mori gardan no marodo (don't twist my neck) Mohammed Ali". Then upped and left, returned to reclaim his Indian citizenship.

The future? We cannot leave it to the hukmaraan (political establishment). The impulse has to come from us, the people. Dono taraf nek jazbaat hain (There's amicable sentiment on both sides). Pakistani shaairi is redolent with nostalgia for India: references to Krishna, Radha, the home they left behind. We should build on those commonalities. Not let a third country exploit our differences. It hurts that the Shankar-Shaad mushaira has been discontinued. Such things accentuate differences.

What I wish for the two countries is expressed in these couplets I wrote on a Karachi-Bombay flight:

Karachi, jahan miltee hai sabko bemaangey bhi deen ki daulat
main us hasti mein apna deen imaan chhod aaya hoon
rahegi dosti hi dosti ab dono mulquon mein
main har dil me apne dil ka armaan chhod aaya hoon.

(Karachi, where everyman is blessed
In your safekeeping my soul I've left
My heartfelt wish that our two nations will live in amity
That's what I've left with my heart, with your fraternity.)

COMMENTS PRINT
At six, she witnessed the slaughter of her family. In 1984, she relived the trauma.
Jeet Behn
Two Hindu families, who never left Dhaka in '47, were hit by the Ayodhya spillover.
P.K. Chakravarty
A Mohajir in Sindh, uprooted from UP, she finds no respite from a harsh, blood-shot life.
Naeema Begum
After two years as Pakistani citizen, she realised she was differently acculturised.
Begum Para
The classical maestro opted for Pakistan but admits he paid a price for it: his music.
Ustad Fateh Ali Khan
His Pakistani family got Mohajir-ised; he, over here, got marginalised.
Ali Sardar Jafri
The dancer-actress is happy to be in Lahore, says Muslims are kings there.
Uzra Bhatt
Gifted with a syncretic outlook, he decided to go west when all friends, with whom he discussed poetry, left.
Intezar Hussein
A refugee from Calcutta's legal street, he was sensitised to the minority predicament.
Kemaluddin Hossain
The Gentle Giant of Multan wanted to look in on his native Haryana village, but was refused permission.
Inzamam-ul Haq
Haunted by bleak images of riots, famine and migration, he took refuge in literature.
Sunil Gangopadhyay
He saw mud, massacre and betrayal in '47; yet 71 was just duty, not poetic justice.
J.S. Aurora
He came with the deathly 'Karachi Cologne' on him; joined Edwina's rescue team.
From UP's Azamgarh, he called democratic polls after Zia's death; yet retains a sense of dissatisfaction
Fundamentalist by 'birth, instinct, training', his aggressive motto is 'Next year, Lahore'.
They've come very far from the gutter that life threw them into; but his mother still calls Delhiites 'Hindustanis'.
Angry with a dream gone sour, Pakistan's 'Father Teresa' is still fired with optimism.
He hoped for a Lahore, India, address. And fled only when history dictated otherwise.
Though relieved to leave Lahore, she missed its life of the mind. Delhi was a village.
Now head of state, in 1947 he was one among the dispossessed millions.
At 11, torn from his family, he fled East Bengal with Rs 30, borrowed from a Muslim retainer
Special Issue: Partition
These are the stories of women, children, everyman; of the pain and trauma of being uprooted--an account of our holocaust
Sunil Mehra, Arshad Mahmud, Azhar Abbas, Mazhar Zaidi, Pritha Sen
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