Stories about 1947 partition

Viceroy’s House is a British director’s flawed re-imagination of the 1947 Partition

We have seen Gandhi and we have seen Jinnah. Now, here comes another contender that demands viewing with the same veneration, if not more. But the problem is, I was less than thrilled watching the Viceroy’s House, not wanting to keep this adaptation of the 1947 Partition beside the previous two classics directed by Richard Attenborough and Jamil Dehlavi respectively. In her latest flick, the Bend It Like Beckham director, Gurinder Chadha bends the truth just enough to prove Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) an angel, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Denzil Smith), an egotistical villain. She portrays Jinnah as if he were single-handedly responsible for the carnage and bloodshed ...

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If Jinnah never asked Ruttie to change her name to Maryam, why did you, Pakistan?

Those of us who were born before Partition know that Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not speak Urdu, except perhaps a few broken sentences. His speeches were always in English, sometimes with a translator to make the crowds understand what he was saying. But sometime in the 1980s, the government dubbed all his speeches in Urdu, apparently under pressure from those who thought a highly westernised Jinnah would make today’s youth doubt that he wanted an Islamic state. One result of this is that an entire generation of Pakistanis have grown up believing that Jinnah was fluent in Urdu, and always dressed ...

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Is Pakistan still a colony ruled by the white man’s supremacy?

As I waited outside the Head of Department’s office at my university for the sixth time in a week, I started thinking. I wondered what made someone attach so much importance to themselves that they felt the need to berate others in order to recognise their authority. This made me speculate; is Pakistan still a colony ruled by the white man’s supremacy? Have we honestly never recovered from the imperialistic practices of the West? Does the ordinary Pakistani citizen try to exert the ‘white man’s burden’, knowing fully well that he is of colour? The answer is yes! You see ...

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Pakistan and India don’t need Trump to manage their affairs!

Adolf Hitler had forewarned the world about his wicked intentions in Mein Kampf in 1925, years before he implemented his satanic plans of exterminating the Jews from the world. He wrote in the book: “Hence, today, I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: ‘By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” Yet, the international community did not pay heed to Hitler and the Germans went on to democratically elect him with a thumping majority. The rest is history. Imagine someone like Hitler heading the most powerful country in the world. It ...

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Bhumman Shah – Our forgotten Sikh heritage

Taking advantage of the long Eid break, I along with a couple of friends decided to explore the ancient Depalpur Fort, about a couple of hours drive from Lahore. We arrived in Depalpur on time and started inquiring about the said fort. To our amazement, not a single person there had a clue as to what we were talking about, until a shopkeeper taking us for some ‘documentary-type’ filmmakers, directed us to a small village on Wasawaywala road by the name of Bhumman Shah. Somewhat disappointed, we decided to make good use of our day and headed to Bhumman Shah. After ...

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The yearning of a 78-year-old Indian to visit Lahore

My uncle, a 78-year-old retired government officer, recently came to visit and stayed with us for a few weeks. One day, while I was working on my computer, he inquisitively asked, “What sort of things can this machine do?” I explained to him that one can write documents, make presentations, seek information on any topic, watch movies and listen to music, and view different places (including our own residence) amongst a zillion other functions. After a brief pause, with an innocent look on his face, he asked, “Can it show the picture of my village Uche Ladhe in district Lahore?” Touched by his question and his desire ...

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She left India for Pakistan, but was her sacrifice worth it?

“People didn’t even bother locking their doors; we knew that we could never come back. It wasn’t easy for us, leaving everything behind, and it seems like another life now, as if we left a part of ourselves back in India. Plenty of people lost their lives, it’s still hard to believe what the partition did to all of us,” told 86-year-old Raffat Jehan. She says that she never regretted coming to Pakistan; she believes the Partition was originally a good idea. “My father’s non-Muslim friends told him that they couldn’t protect us anymore, as painful as it was for us, we had ...

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End of silence: A woman’s narrative of the 1947 Partition

Many of us born to families who migrated across borders during partition grew up hearing whispers of events from that time. The end of the British Raj in India saw the subcontinent dissected into two – Pakistan and India. This led to the largest migration in history and caused widespread communal violence. My nani (maternal grandmother) narrated tragedies of madness raging the land without adequate police or troops to maintain law and order. One of my nani’s friends narrated how her father had told all the women in their family that should the train they were on be stopped and boarded by rioting mobs, they should commit ...

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If Geeta was a Muslim, would the Indian government have done the same?

After the Indian High Commissioner, Dr TCA Raghvan and his wife met the hearing and speech-impaired ‘Hindu’ girl in Karachi, reportedly stuck in Pakistan for 13 long years, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj vowed on Twitter,  “We will bring Geeta back to India.” “Our High Commissioner believes that Geeta is an Indian,” Swaraj added, while thanking all the wonderful individuals in Pakistan who looked after the wretched girl like their own daughter and sister. Our High Commissioner believes that Geeta is an Indian. — Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 4, 2015 Geeta – whose heartrending story bears an uncanny resemblance to that of a character named ‘Munni’ in ...

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Calm down, Pakistan – there is no revolution coming!

Imran Khan has repeatedly insisted that the revolution he is advocating will be peaceful. Maybe, that is why it has not materialised as a revolution. Peaceful revolution is an oxymoron; a contradiction unto itself. Hans Kelsen theorises in The Pure Theory of Law that societies are built around a Grundnorm, a basic norm, that all of the society’s customs derive out of. A revolution simply changes this Grundnorm. The French Revolution replaced the absolute rule of the monarchy with democratic ideas of citizenship. The Iranian Revolution replaced monarchy with an Islamic republic. The Cuban revolution replaced a dictator with a communist regime. ...

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