Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The 'other' country...

As the 60th Independence Day dawns in one country, its neighbor sleeps to another one. Its been sixty years and still both the countries are trying to live together, forgetting thousands years of living together as one region without borders. As I watch special episodes on India and Pakistan on BBC, it never fails to amaze me how a country that separated the region into two countries is trying to reflect if the decisions made by them more than 60 years back, had a happy ending afterall. Lord Mountbatten had summed up his analysis of partition, when he said few years later, "I fucked up!!"


India and Pakistan before/after partition (courtesy: BBC)

You can take people out of a region but you cannot take region out of people. For my family, we are still from Pakistan part of Punjab. Even today, when someone asks me where is your background from (most people generally assume I am from Punjab), I say, "Pindi and Sargoda", refering to Rawalpindi and Sargoda region of Pakistan. Even though my Mom was born in India, her each and every attribute is very Pindish and my Dad can't be more Sargodaite.


An Abstract Art depicting India-Pakistan partition

For my grandparents, it was as if they never left Pakistan. All my Nanajis stories revolved in the gaalis of his pind in Pindi. It was there he was born, got married, had most of his kids, built and run his corner shop and made most of his memories. I believe in my heart, he would have loved to spend last days of his life back in the courtyard of his dusty pind. On the other hand my Dadaji was a loyal British soldier, who moved from Sargoda to Lahore to Bannu, where my Dad was born. His stories revolved around his army life as a British soldier with traces of Pakistan in each one of them. I think he mostly missed the diary of urdu poetry he wrote and forgot to pick it up while leaving for India.

My stories about my grandparents hardly includes my Nanijee and Dadijee but I never saw my Nanijee as she passed away before I was born and my Dadijee had a paralysis stroke when I was a very young, so never heard words from her. Although, I have no doubt both of them would have preferred to cook in the sanjha chulhas of their pinds, that still burns without them...

As both the countries celebrate their Independence Day, please spare a thought for those whose heart lies in the 'other' country...

Happy Independence Day India-Pakistan !!

18 Comments:

Blogger Pranshu said...

True. It was probably largest mass migration of people in the history of the world. Euphoria of Indpendence was soon dampened by stains of bloods of neighbours who lived like brothers and sisters and for the slightest provocation became the enemies for life. Our politicians was as much to blame for this as the British.

But as the lines on our palms these blood lines are marked in the history of these two nations and its unfortunate that despite so much affection between a common man of India and PAkistan and borders are stained with blood everyday. We speak the same language .. eat the same cuisine ... share the same heritage.. and we are as puzzled as the world about this.. why?

But with seeds of animosity and extremism deep rooted in minds of certain people on both sides of border its impossible to regain the same unity. But efforts to make it less worse should continue.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Marlee said...

I was expecting a post for Independence Day...hmmm...very sensitively written...I dont know too much abt the Partition from my family! but I always thought that the prepartition generation didnt want to talk abt their younger days, particularly during Independence...I thought they'd rather forget abt the painful memories but here, I see its diff. Yes, it must have taken courage and loads of fear to relocate oneself frm the place you were born to a new place. It was them that rebuilt each country into wat we are today...your right, we mustn't forget them.

5:59 AM  
Blogger ektaran said...

Happy Independence Day....People sometimes still prefer calling us refugees....Ohh my grandparents used to tell me soo much about their pinds in Pakistan...dad from Rawalpindi & mommie from Lahore...

Very nice post...very very Rickish :)

btw, my naniji visited Nankana Sahib in the 80s & she got a chance to visit her house...

9:54 AM  
Blogger Khamakha said...

I dont know wht to say, i hate shackles of any kind, n the helplessness experienced then,prly even if I try,wont be able to empathize ever.Dunno if any nation can ever be called free in the truest of sense unless it lets go off the differences thatz nutrtured now n then.

probably the 3 comments above sum it all up...
thanks for sharing:)

-shona

9:34 PM  
Blogger faith said...

aah! sorry for being a bit late..
well written post champ!

do read this one too

keep rocking!! *smiles*

1:38 AM  
Blogger faith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:40 AM  
Blogger faith said...

eh! eh!

champ you and your comment box... grrr ..link kaha gaya..

ok http://retributions.nationalinterest.in/india-at-60-a-reality-check/#comments
help yourself.. copy paste :P

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Juneli said...

Very unusual and touchy post as ever. The Ricky's touch.

Got to know you more :).

Happy Indepence Day.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Juneli said...

Very unusual and touchy post as ever. The Ricky's touch.

Got to know you more :).

Happy Indepence Day.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Alien said...

very nicely written....

6:28 PM  
Anonymous payal said...

hmmm.. sigh.everybody has said everything n u hav thrown a diff light.... i dunno, if india & pakistan were one, it wud b really difficult to rule that country, no?

yet i don't think ppl from respective countries hate each other as much as earlier....

n pranshu: very very expressive..

1:13 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

pranshu - I think that partition saw the best and worst of humans, with people helping each other with their lives and killing each other like animals.

I think there was a time when politicians from both end only spewed hatred but things are getting a little better. I hope there comes a day when we have open borders like we have in US/Canada with limited restrictions. Amen to that thought :-)

12:20 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

marlee - Thanks!!

I think my grandparents generation who migrated during partition forgot all the painful memories and remembered only the good ones. Like, my Nanajee never talked about the death and destruction he saw on the way back to India as it took him 1 month to reach India and after reaching, he didn't talked for a month before getting better and then never talked about what he saw in that one month.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

ektaran - Oye hoye, tusi we Pindi de ho...wah jee wah. Pindi de log bade meethe honde ne :D

Thanks for liking it. My Mom's Mamaji visited our pind in Pindi too and also lived in our old house as the people living there were very inviting :-)

khamakha - Very thought provoking comment. I am sure people during partition felt that sense of helplessness when leaving their homes and am not sure if they enjoyed freedom of India as much as people who were already living here.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

faith - You are like Indian train...he he.

Thanks for liking the post. My comment box is like me, always bugging ya :P Thanks for the link, read it :-)

juneli - Thanks Juneli. Good to see you back :-)

alien - Thanks and welcome to my blog.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

payal - But Payal, we can't shrug off our responsibilities by saying that it would be difficult. If that was right then shouldn't we give up Kashmir, Assam and Punjab too.

I agree with you, people of both countries never hated each other but they hated what their politicians were telling them about the other country.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Reema said...

very late in commenting on the post Ricky.. but it was a great great piece!! cant say much abt whather the partition decision was right or wrong.. was in some ways but not in most!

have grown up hearing abt the Gujrat side of India.. as both sets of my grandparents were from there.. heard alot of stories, hope i get a chance to visit sooon!!

happy belated independence day everyone.. lets all pray things remain peaceful world over!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

reema - I know your reasons for commenting late, so its all good jee. Its good to see you here like always.

Yea, we can only speculate, what would have happened without partition but its just that it was not fair to a lot of people, who were uprooted from homeland.

Aha, your grandparents are from Gujarat part of India..ahem ahem.

Amen to your prayers!!

5:31 PM  

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