My lost home

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ajtr, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    My lost home

    by Pritam Bhullar

    SIR Cyril Radcliffe’s pencil divided India and sealed the fate of millions like me. I lost my home for ever and became rootless. Sixtythree years have rolled by. Yet I am filled with nostalgia when I think of my childhood home.

    My home is (yes, is) in Lyallpur (now known as Faisalabad in Pakistan), a town 80 miles south-west of Lahore. My village — Sardar Sunder Singhwala — was named after my grandfather. Being on the periphery of municipal limits, the village enjoyed the benefits of both the village as well as the city life.

    A landlord was virtually a “monarch” of his village; more correctly of his estate. His mansion with a luscious garden in front and open space on the other three sides looked really majestic. On the outer perimeter of his estate usually stood a hundred or so tenements in which lived his farm workers, artisans and a few others whom he liked to keep there.

    In the beginning of the 20th century when all others from his family from village Bhullar in tehsil Batala, district Gurdaspur, refused to go to Lyallpur where the land had to be developed from scratch, my grandfather accepted the challenge, went there and started his new life with 125 acres of arid land. Being a land lover, he kept on adding to his land with the weat of his brow so much so that he owned 878 acres of land in Punjab and Sind at the time of Partition. But he remained poorly compensated in East Punjab as after applying various cuts, including the crippling “Punjab cut”, the government slashed his entitlement to 140 acres. Of this, he was allotted only 134 acres.

    The day of parting is indelibly printed on my memory. Our workers, most of them Muslims, gave us a tearful send-off. They gathered with chhannas (shallow utensils) filled with milk and made a fervent appeal to us to drink it. The milk still tastes fresh in my mouth.

    I was so much in love with our race horses that I could not think of leaving them behind. While all other family members left for India in the first week of September, my grandfather and I decided to stay back and travel along with a kafla (caravan). I was only 20 years of age at that time.

    Since the kafla was moving very slowly, after the first night’s halt, my grandfather advised me to take the horses separately, while he himself continued to travel with our bullock carts with the kafla. So the next morning, I and three of our servants trotted our horses towards India. We rode on nonstop during the day, but halted with one of the kaflas at night.

    On the second morning, when the kafla that we had halted with at night started crossing the Ravi bridge, a battalion of the Bloch regiment opened fire and killed about 30 people. On the third night, about 15 people from another kafla that we were halting with died of cholera. Finally, our tortuous journey came to an end when we crossed the Sutlej to enter into the Indian territory in Ferozepur.

    Though the “cruel divide” had separated me from my home, I had left my heart behind. Now even in the twilight years of my life, a question that keeps crossing my mind is: Would I ever be returning to my lost home?
     
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  3. Rahul92

    Rahul92 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well past is past there is nothing left to be done
     
  4. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    I would at the risk of sounding cynical and heartless say that the author misses his "monarchy" more than his home. His grandfather was lucky to be allotted 134 acres, correct me if I ma wrong but many others lost everything they had, money, family, property..became penniless and did not have government allot them 134 acres of land..

    But nevertheless, cruel divide indeed..those who went through the unimaginable horrors of forced migration during partition would understand would surely have scars for the rest of their lives
     

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