August 14, 2019 marks 72 years of Independence for Pakistan. The Partition of India 1947 was one of the most excruciating events in modern history. It was all about bloodshed, massacre, social, economic and cultural decline.
The extreme violence and torture imposed by the Hindus of the sub-continent on the Muslims triggered the largest mass migration. Muslims were forced to move across the border between the two newly formed states that were, India and Pakistan.
In the midst of this mass migration, the horrific violence led to the loss of millions of precious lives. People lost their loved ones, saw them being brutally killed in front of their eyes, and even saw their homes burning. The struggle was indeed real. It was not only a struggle of days or weeks or months, but of several years. Muslims were literally traumatized by the atrocities of Hindus.
I believe that reading history in books has less impact than listening to oral histories, which help people develop a better and clearer understanding of past events. For this reason, I sat by my grandmother who was 8 years old and had witnessed the hard times during the Partition of 1947.
She revealed, ‘I can still visualize the horrors of those times. They are unforgettable.’ Although she lived in a Muslim-majority area, in a building named Rehman Manzil, the Hindu barbarism reached there too. Every place was unsafe.
‘Hindus were killing Muslims and a curfew was imposed. Women and children were dying of hunger. It was so horrible that wherever the Hindus saw Muslims peeping out of their windows, they shot them on the spot’, she said. Apart from using guns, they usually made use of knives and swords to slaughter Muslims.
Furthermore, she told that it was the extreme form of torture. At that time there was no Army to protect the Muslims. They had to defend themselves. The Hindus fought with weapons while the innocent Muslim men made use of wooden sticks, and stones. On the contrary, women used to sit on the rooftops with spices in their hands, so that if attacked by the Hindus, they would immediately throw the spice in their eyes.
‘The streets were covered with blood. The daughter of our neighbour was shot dead in front of us. And we saw people whose fingers were cut by the barbaric Hindus.’ She also said, ‘during migration, Hindus used to get on the trains and fired people leaving the trains full of dead bodies.’ These terrible moments were hard for her to state, as much as we find them difficult to hear.
Fortunately, such people are alive and we can get to hear a lot from them. They had also made so many sacrifices, fought for their homeland and gone through the extreme pain which is impossible to forget. We should be grateful that we are born in a country that is Independent. It is because of the efforts of these people who have sacrificed everything that we are celebrating the 72nd Independence today.
The photographs shared below provide a sense and awareness to people about what the Hindu-Muslim riot resulted in. Have a look at these images that reflect pain, hopelessness on the faces and troubles faced by the people at that time.