Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Partition

I dedicate this poem to all Pakistanis. You are all as much a kin to me as Indians.

One of the many images of partition that moved me emotionally. It was also
the cover photo of  Yasmin Khan's book, The Great Partition

 The second column of Muslims passed,
Not a soul in our side had the strength,
To shower them with our words; cursed,
Along they passed as silent as us,
Drifting with the hot and wild wind,
That very often burns our face,
As we cut through this desert; wretched.

O lovely dawn of freedom,
while you showered purple and gold,
half of us never knew what future held,
Singing and dancing beneath the relentless sun,
we hugged and kissed the conspirator's arms.

The line drawn that sliced Punjab,
The surgical tool that dissected Bengal,
Never seemed more poignant,
Till it ripped us apart from Lahore,
And made us to savor this journey.

Guided by a false pretense of safety,
Moving onto a false notion of liberty,
Living on the narrow verge of insanity,
A humanity was displaced into sheer poverty.

O, the world we left behind,
The luxury and beauty of Lahore,
The exotic parlors, the crimson sunsets,
And vast field of wheat that stretched on and on,
All of it replaced now by the creeping bareness,
Of the Thar.

All my journey was guided by two eyes,
Eyes of a child, barely ten,
That never showed a tinge of skepticism,
While we were in spells of rue,
His eyes were curious for more.

The child's father died last night,
Another victim in this great fight,
The column never stopped,
The child with eyes that moved me,
Were left behind all alone,
Everyone were fighting their own war.

There were no time to turn back,
The column should move on,
Cause terror echoed with the fresh gust,
The desert shall turn into a tomb of dust,
And somewhere along we will face,
The men armed with guns and swords.

A plane dropped of some food today,
One slice of bread for each stomach,
In the desert it were a piece of gold,
And in the pain it gives us hope,
Away form The Promised Land we move,
Onto an India away from us,
Mentally and physically.

The third column of Muslims passed,
They pitied us and our flight,
A word of caution and inspiration,
Someone even gave us a bottle of water,
The thought of it makes me proud,
We are brothers after all,
We will remain so forever and ever.

Nearing an India we never saw,
What we left behind could never be sought,
And what we want can never be bought,
Memories of Lahore still burns,
As we enter into a land of ruins.

God bless India, God save Pakistan,
And I even pray for that man who gave us water,
When shall the countries give each other the same?

Many of us are settled, many of us died,
Those who lived on still muse over the world,
What insanity?! What torture?!
To have brothers ripping each other apart,
And eating on the others' heart.

Many still pray for the countries,
True we are brothers,
We are seeds that sprouted in the same field,
Yet overgrown and often alone.

A poem I wrote some time back. Though not even my parents were alive during the 1947 partition of India, I gathered all the info though books, mainly The Great Partition by Yasmin Khan and Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. I also thank an aged friend of mine, who helped in narrating what he witnessed during those troublesome years. For any more info on the partition, here is what wiki has to say : Partition of India


  1. Anand, I cannot pretend to know anything at all about the partition of India, but this feels like an important poem to me. I feel the narrator's sadness in the poem for what happened, especially in the last stanza. This poem makes me feel like I should do some reading about this event. Thank you for this poem which gives me some insights (and provides some questions I should try to answer for myself) into your part of the world.

    1. Mary, even the things I know, are not the ones I witnessed, nor the things which I can say have changed my life in that respect, but it is indeed something which pains my heart even now. It remains one of the greatest violence in human history. Even a meager survey intended to reduce the number of deaths still reads 500,000, and believe me many still suffers in its aftermath. The countries still remain arch enemies and in 2013 alone almost 10 deaths from both sides have happened due to border conflicts. Even severe than the number of deaths is the hatred planted inside the people's heart.

  2. You have captured the trauma and the pain of the Partition so beautifully. What's tragic about the partition is that we forgot we were humans. The fights and the bloodshed could have as well come from the days of the first man. We just lost the empathy and the spirit of brotherhood that sets us apart from lesser beings. Your sadness at the fate of the two countries comes through overpoweringly well. God Save Pakistan! I don't think it would have suffered the kind of discord it is going through now had it been a part of India.

    1. Indeed. Again, I might seem strange but the 500,000 deaths may be forgotten but the hate planted may live on forever. It is sad.

  3. My only knowledge of the partition comes from the film 'Gandhi'. I enjoyed your far more personal approach and perspective.

  4. what a hard life you have given us a glimpse into...the dropping of food, and only getting a piece of bread out of it...lacking real substance....there is def a sadness. what a story eh? i know a bit from world history class...that they ar of the same seed and yet...

  5. the sad and traumatic history that still gazes back upon us. may it teach us to know better. this was def a wonderful poem to read and feel the hardships of those people.

  6. Thanks to all who took the effort of reading it and commenting on it.

  7. A very powerful poem...I know so little about this part of history, so I appreciate your words and the emotion you've captured in them.

  8. My mother's family was a victim of the Partition ..... they had to start all the way from East Bengal to Kolkata and struggle for a footing in 1946 just before the Partition in mother was still in her teens...a harrowing this context i remember the film 'Mammo' where a character was telling how in a moment of panic a mother placed her living baby instead of the dead one in the water of Ganga and lost both......a very well written poem Anand...

    1. It would have indeed been a harrowing experience for your mother and family. Its strange the things that goes on in the world, and heard about the film you said, won a national award right? And the way you talked about the scene makes me want to see it too. Some people live a life with extreme sufferings, and we sit back on our minuscule problems and think that the world is too rough on us.

      Well I take a moment to bow at your mother and to honor all the sacrifices, the sadness, the suffering that she along with a large population made during that era. It was tough, even though I was not impacted by it in any way, I sure know how it had been.

  9. Anand, you have done humanity a service by writing this poem and bearing witness to the horrible suffering the refugees endured.I LOVE your acknowledgment of the brotherhood - an imposed partition divided a population. So powerful the line" we hugged and kissed the conspirators' arms". And when will countries do the same as the man offering water, a moment of pure compassion? You took us there, and brilliantly. And yes, sadly, the seeds of hatred were sown deep. So incredibly sad.

  10. I don't need to know the historical backdrop to feel the sadness in this "A plane dropped of some food today, / One slice of bread for each stomach," Touching.

  11. I would love to acknowledge a Pakistani as my brother by given how things stand, the hope of peace and healing the partition wounds seem unlikely.there is too much hatred across the border and also in some on this side to allow that hope to flourish.

  12. Very moving and so sad that these things still occur. Beautiful Piece.

  13. It is works like this one that often remind me of that old saying, "The personal is political, and the political is personal." You have made this bit of history very personal for each of us. Thank you,


  14. Coincidentally I have just written a haiku about a book called " The Perfect Gentleman" by Imran Ahmad ,a Pakistani who grew up in England.. I think you would find it interesting.

  15. Thanks to each and everyone of you for taking the time to post your great views.

  16. jayanthi surendran4 January 2014 at 10:55

    What i hv liked here anand is that u'v writtn it frm d perspective of a pakistani which is an aspect that most imdians turn a blind eye to. The narration seems lyk a 1st persn account~ shows hw deeply u'v delvd into d subject and empathisd.
    borders luk gud only on 2D 3D world, it has alwyz lead to conflicts btween nations. With formatn of organisations lyk UNO et al, d war wid weapns might hv ended bt d war within self of agony n despair shal b eternal!

    1. jayanthi surendran4 January 2014 at 11:05

      Kindly neglect d typo for indians (imdians) and led (lead)