Stories about 1947

Happy 84th Birthday to Gulzar: 5 short poems for the 21st century revoluntionary

Gulzar remains one of the most influential, intellectual and cultural figures in the Indian subcontinent. His towering contributions as a poet, short-story writer, filmmaker, scriptwriter, lyricist and a story-writer for children are well-known. What is less well-known is the fact that he was born in the city of Dina, near Jhelum in Punjab, 13 years before the Partition. Today marks his 84th birthday, and thus the month of August is synonymous with the Partition of India as well as the birthday of Gulzar. Equally well-known is Gulzar’s love for both the Urdu language and Pakistan. As a birthday tribute, I have ...

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When the old Pakistan was a new Pakistan

Every year as August 14th peeks around the corner, it is tradition to see stories emerge of what is known to be the bloodiest and largest mass migration in history. Similarly, there have been many instances where I have been told the story of my maternal great-grandparents and their journey from India into Pakistan. Before the Partition of 1947, my great-grandparents, Syed Hasan Mian and Syeda Sardar-Bano, resided in Muzzafarnagar, India with their three sons and daughter. Mian, after receiving his degree in law from Aligarh University, was an advocate by profession and the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Provincial General Secretary in the Muslim League. His friendship with Ayub ...

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No cow, no beef, no slaughtering – Will Indian Muslims be able to celebrate Eidul Azha with zeal?

India at 70 is an entirely different country as compared to when it started its journey as an independent nation in the summer of 1947. It ranks amongst the leading economies of the world, sent a satellite to the moon, is nuclear-armed, and is a country admired by most. But unfortunately, this progress cannot mask its ugly reality. In 1947, the most pressing challenge, other than economic development, was settling the dust of the Partition. It was an urgent and long-term necessity needed to create societal harmony. An atmosphere where the country’s secular and multicultural temperament would return to normalcy was imperative. Decades of ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 1 ‘My life from my deathbed’

It was a sunny morning amid the typical mid-summer hustle and bustle on the roads of Punjab. The rays of the sun made their way into my eyes and pierced through my pupils, blinding me momentarily yet almost completely. I adjusted my sight, trying to squeeze my eyes to halt the enforced violation of my personal eyesight space by nature’s brightest star, as a bead of sweat trickled down from my forehead and into the wrinkles around my squeezed eyes. The bus engine roared, and the passengers moved around in unison on every bump. The elderly man next to ...

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Let us return to March 23, 1940, and start over, Pakistan

On March 23, 1940, the All-India Muslim League adopted a historic resolution in the city of Lahore. This resolution has since come to be known as the Pakistan Resolution as it became the forerunner to the formal demand for an independent nation state for the Muslims of India. The following is an extract that provides the essence of this resolution: “Resolved that it is the considered view of this session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principle, namely, that geographically ...

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Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have always been much better off without the British

In 1944, Beverley Nichols’ sensational Verdict on India came out with a slap in the face of what we know today as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan — or BIP, to duck a mouthful. Nichols thoughtlessly trashed BIP’s society and culture, out-doing Churchill’s well-known: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” The religion might have been Hinduism, but the cigar-puffing fat man’s book, The River War, reveals as much contempt for Muslims. Nichols’ vitriol, though, stands in a class of its own. BIP’s classical music was a “… shattering onslaught of sheer Bedlam … hullabaloo … pandemonium.” He dismissed Ayurveda, ...

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Did the 1965 war make Pakistan stronger?

September 6th to me will always remain a day of remembrances of the following brave soldiers of Pakistan; Raja Aziz Bhatti, Sarfraz Raffiqui, Peter Christy and Younas Hassan. Through their ultimate sacrifice, they ensured that a superior invading force, which outnumbered Pakistan’s military forces, was decisively stopped from taking key cities like Lahore.  That Pakistan could hold India to a stalemate during the 22 day war was nothing short of a miracle brought about by the sheer bravery and an indomitable will of our fighting men – and in particular our magnificent little air force – which was outnumbered five ...

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Pakistan and India should celebrate independence from the British – not from each other

Sometime back I ran into an elderly man at work. Since I live in an area of Canada that is densely populated with immigrants from Indian Punjab, I knew the gentleman was from India. After I was done helping him out, he looked at my name-tag and asked me what part of India I was from. I told him I was from Pakistan, not India. A wide smile appeared on his face, and he asked me what city of Pakistan I belonged to. After I mentioned that I was from Lahore, his smile grew even wider as he got teary-eyed. ...

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The Kashmir issue has proven that Pakistan and India refuse to learn from history

The pot and the kettle are calling each other black. The truth is that they’re both black – and neither of them is willing to accept it; just like India and Pakistan. New Delhi holds Pakistan responsible for spreading terrorism in its territory and Islamabad claims vice versa. India is not willing to accept its faults in Jammu and Kashmir and alleges that the Islamic Republic is solely responsible for the trouble in the valley. Pakistan, on the other hand, says that the cry for freedom in Kashmir should not be equated with terrorism; the Islamic republic itself is a victim of terrorism and is as ...

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When did Pakistan change from being a liberal country to a fundamentalist one?

When and how did Pakistan go from being a moderate Muslim majority country to a fundamentalist society within a relatively short span of time and is this trend irreversible? Pakistan emerged out of a Muslim nationalist movement organised around the group identity of the Muslims of British India. It was led not by cultural relativists in flowing robes, but by modern Muslim men and women, most of whom felt that they could reconcile their faith with modernity. Jinnah’s objectives in any event were to create a united Muslim voting bloc within united India and his demand for a Muslim majority ...

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