Rebuilding with out bitterness : The Tribune India

Vijay Sabharwal

My household belonged to Eminabad, a historic city of Gujranwala district, now in Pakistan, and owned 2,200 acres within the villages of Tokariya, Tupasari and Shamir. My father had gone to school (which was uncommon in these instances) and was thus an informed landlord who expanded his enterprise by opening a rice mill in Kamoke Mandi, Gujranwala. Later, he additionally began an ice manufacturing unit there.

When the legislation and order scenario began to deteriorate just a few months previous to Partition, my father explored the choice of exchanging our properties in Eminabad with a Muslim landlord in Delhi, who was, after all, nervous for his family’s security on this a part of the nation. Nevertheless, the elder brothers within the household have been against the thought — they have been assured that there could be no Partition and that nobody could be compelled to go away their hometowns and properties in such excessive circumstances.

My father had adopted within the footsteps of his elders and was politically energetic, holding the put up of vice-president of the municipality. Just a few months earlier than Partition, his political instincts warned him of the looming hazard of social upheaval, and he determined to pack off all the household to Dehradun by taking up hire a bungalow. He figured the household may keep there for just a few months whereas issues grew to become clearer. So, all of us moved to Dehradun, together with our household prepare dinner, Brij Lal, assuming this was going to be just a few months of vacation earlier than we returned to our dwelling. I used to be simply over two years outdated on the time.

The household was fearful about my father’s security in Eminabad. So, after I fell in poor health, a telegram was dispatched to my father, who came visiting to see me. This was simply weeks earlier than Partition, and the household then pleaded with him not to return. Because the scenario deteriorated, lives and companies have been impacted. Munims and different employees fled from Eminabad and reached Dehradun to tell us that our factories have been being put to fireplace by miscreants.

With none supply of revenue, we have been left with no cash to pay hire, or to run the kitchen. My father requested Brij Lal to go to his village in Hoshiarpur district, however he refused, saying he wouldn’t go away the household in a time of disaster and as a substitute requested that we enable him to stick with solely meals and lodging.

The household then shifted to Mohan Vedic Ashram at Haridwar, the place my household had contributed a donation underneath the patronage of my Tayaji, Mela Ram, who was the secretary of Arya Samaj unit, Kamoke Mandi. My youthful brother, Rohit, was born throughout this time on the ashram and was given the pet identify ‘Swami’.

My father made nice efforts to hunt compensation for the lack of property and wealth. He was allotted an ice manufacturing unit in Sarian Mohalla, an city locality in Pathankot. He was awarded a comparatively small farm at Gharaunda in Karnal district. Later, the agricultural land was reallotted at Bagthala village, a forest close to Kurukshetra, the place my father lastly settled and earned his identify via his social actions.

Whereas we have been at Pathankot, within the early Nineteen Fifties, I recall that our tonga driver in Eminabad — Jalala — crossed the border close to Madhopur and got here to satisfy us. As a baby, I heard Jalala saying to my father that it was good that he determined not to return to Eminabad in July 1947 since there have been innumerable incidents of looting at our rice mills and different factories, and that my father’s identify figured in a listing ready by native fundamentalists who have been attempting to foment ethnic and spiritual strife.

Jalala’s narration remained etched in my reminiscence, and I used to be curious to know extra about these tense and horrible instances. At some point, after studying my article that was revealed in The Tribune some years again, 87-year-old Akram wrote to me. Akram had settled within the US after retiring from Pakistan Railways and he wrote of his pleasure in studying about me from the article. He himself was from Eminabad and was well-acquainted with my household and my father, whom he described as variety and beneficiant to the villagers. Akram’s letter gave vivid particulars of the tense scenario that prevailed throughout Partition. Akram wrote about a number of incidents that have been surprising and unlucky, however via all of it, I nonetheless felt excited to attach with an individual from Eminabad.

Akram mentioned the primary homicide was of Dewan Maya Ram. “Not one of the villagers of Eminabad can overlook this occurring dedicated by some mad, criminal-minded individuals. He was a really variety, sympathetic and useful man. Everyone within the village drastically condemned the incident that occurred in August 1947. I’ve no phrases to jot down about his service to the folks. Everybody was unhappy and wept at his slaughter.”

He narrated {that a} Gorkha battalion was referred to as over, which killed some Muslim males and took management of the scenario. Members of the Hindu group have been shifted to the camp within the custody of the Indian Military.

Akram wrote of an incident which horrified him. He noticed some younger males indulging in looting just a little distance away from our haveli. A soldier on responsibility tried to assault him with the butt of a rifle, and he escaped from the location and ran to his dwelling. He was trembling with concern and didn’t enterprise out for a lot of days. He additionally remembered the prepare from Rawalpindi to Lahore being stopped at Kamoki railway station, subsequent to Eminabad, and looted.

Whereas Partition was a horrible human tragedy, it’s price noting what number of from my father’s and my very own technology by no means actually dwelled on our misfortune and as a substitute, appeared solely to rebuild. Many continued to have fond recollections of our hometowns in undivided India. Possibly this can be a good time to pause and replicate in order that the following generations could recognize the gravity of what occurred to make sure that one thing like this by no means occurs once more.

— The author is predicated in Kurukshetra

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