Viral video reminds us of harsh times — Revisiting the Partition of India and Pakistan7 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
A sibling is like a best friend for life, and it’s hard to imagine a life without them. Now, imagine you’re separated from your brother for decades and decades, not knowing whether they are alive or not. Seems scary, right?
Well, a recent viral video captures the heartwarming moment when two brothers — split by the Partition of 1947 — are reunited. Watch the tear-jerking moment below…
Here’s what happened. For 74 years, the two brothers had no idea about each other’s whereabouts or even if the other was still alive. Separated during the Partition, they had lost hope of reuniting until a video on Punjabi Lehar, a Pakistan-based YouTube channel, brought them together, from opposite sides of the India-Pakistan border, at the Kartarpur corridor connecting the two countries.
The video of the reunion, which shows the elderly brothers hugging each other, went viral, bringing back memories of the chaos during that particular time in history. The emotional meeting lasted just a few hours before the brothers returned to their respective homes.
The older of the two brothers, Saddiq Khan, was eight or nine years old during Partition, and currently lives in Bogran village in Pakistan. Sheeka Khan was a toddler at the time of the separation and now lives in village Phulewala in Bathinda, Punjab.
The emotional video captures the sentiment shared by numerous families who lived in the area at the time of the Partition, which gave rise to two nations and also created two Punjabs — Charda Punjab in India and Lehnda Punjab in Pakistan.
How were they reunited?
Nasir Dhillon and Lovely Singh run Punjabi Lehar — a popular YouTube channel that focuses on reuniting families from the two Punjabs — from Pakistan. Here is what Saddiq said in the video message:
We are sure that you have read about the Partition of India and Pakistan in your history textbooks, but let us go through quickly again. The Partition of India split British India (the name for the country when the British had colonised India) into the countries of India and Pakistan in 1947. This partition was part of the end of British rule over the Indian subcontinent, called British Raj. The partition was caused in part by the ‘Two-nation theory’ presented by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, due to religion issues. Pakistan became a Muslim country, and India became a mainly Hindu country.
What happened to the people during the Partition?
Huge numbers of people moved across the border between the two newly-formed nations. The population of undivided India in 1947 was about 390 million. After partition, there were 330 million people in India, 30 million in West Pakistan, and 30 million people in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
Once the lines were established, about 14.5 million people crossed the borders. The newly-formed governments were unable to deal with migrations of such huge numbers of migrants. A lot of violence occurred on both sides of the border. Estimates of the number of deaths at the time vary, with low estimates at 2 lakh and high estimates at 20 lakh!
Owliver’s Obscure Observations
Did you know that to set itself apart from India, Pakistan changed its time zone with a 30-minute difference!
The Partition served as fuel for a lot of creativity. Several films, novels, short stories and poems brought out the plight of the people who suffered as a result of this split. Let’s look at one such poem — Subh-e-Azadi — by the celebrated Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
What do you think this poem is about? What is Faiz Ahmed Faiz trying to articulate through this poem? Put your thoughts down and let us know in the comments, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
What is the situation like now?
It’s been years and years since the events of the Partition unfolded. However, it’s effects are felt even today. Since Partition, there has been conflict between India and Pakistan – particularly over Kashmir, which both nations say, even now, should belong to them.
Pakistan and India have gone to war with each other, and there was conflict when East Pakistan broke away and became Bangladesh. Many families have never been able to go back to where their ancestors used to live or know of what happened to their broken families.
While a lot of progress has been made since, the horrors of the Partition is still fresh in the minds of those who lived through those times.
Do you know someone who witnessed the Partition or was directly affected by it? Talk to them and hear their story to understand what they experienced.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home and for her own identity.
Owliver recommends that you read this work of fiction to understand the Partition from the eyes of a child. You can get the book here.
Sources: The Print, BBC, Penguin Random House India