Stories of Partition: The Letter
by Ashraf Ameer (Lahore)
Sometime back, two of my colleagues were exchanging opinions over the riots that took place during the 1947 partition. One of them was of the opinion that it were Muslims who were the ultimate victims of violence. He also justified violence committed by Muslims saying that “this was in retaliation to the train full of corpses that arrived at Lahore railway station”.
The other colleague had an entirely different story to share. He said,
“When the decision of partition was made final and everyone was almost certain that the partition is inevitable, a group of Hindu families in my ancestral village in Bahawalpur (southern Punjab) decided to migrate to India. Some Muslim inhabitants, planning to cause them harm, encircled them to ransack and plunder them of the very few belongings they were carrying. My great grandfather was a very respectable and resourceful person in the village community.”
My colleague also shared that when his grandfather came to know about these wicked plans, he made a public proclamation that “no one should dare harm the migrants. If anyone commits any harm, I will take it personal and will deal with him with all my might”. His grandfather personally ensured that the migrants embark the train to India, safely.
After some years of his death, his family received a letter from one of the members of the migrant group who was a 13-14 years old boy in 1947. He had written “I don’t know whether or not we would ever have been able to make it to India if you would not have stood by us. Anything could have happened to us and we’ll always be grateful to you and your family.”
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