“Rabin Sengupta is one among the fourteen million people displaced in Punjab and Bengal during the partition of 1947. At the stroke of midnight on 14th August 1947, India would see itself divided along the Radcliffe line. And communal riots would push fourteen million to uproot their entire lives almost overnight and head for bleak futures in the newly created countries in what’s now known as the largest mass migration in human history. After seven decades, many of them are getting a chance to get a glimpse of their ancestral lands once again, thanks to a virtual reality project by a team of tech and history enthusiasts from Oxford University. Here’s the story of Project Dastaan, and of people yearning to go back home.” Read full story here
“India and Pakistan still define themselves in opposition to each other, claiming to be everything the other is not – more pious, righteous, secular, progressive than those across the border. Patriotism is more often than not based on hostility towards the other,” stresses Pakistani author Anam Zakaria, whose third book ‘1971’ (Penguin) will be released in India soon. See full article here.
When Guneeta Singh Bhalla was 19 years old, her paternal grandmother Harbhajan Kaur sat her down at her home in New Jersey to relay a harrowing migration story. The date was August 1947. The place, Lahore, a city in the northern state of Punjab, in what was once India, but what was now the new Muslim majority country of Pakistan. Almost overnight, Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims who'd lived in Lahore for generations in peace turned on one another. Kaur, a Sikh, was forced to abandon her family estate and board a train with her three young children — ages four, three, and one — to Amritsar, a small city just inside the new border of India. For six months, she was separated from her husband. The dead bodies, the horrific violence she witnessed haunted her for the rest of her life. Read full story with videos and links here.
Like many Indians and Pakistanis his age, 75-year-old Ravi Chopra remembers the shocking violence triggered by the countries’ moves toward independence. “Nobody imagined that such a holocaust would take place,” Mr. Chopra, a retired Indian army officer, said in an interview with a U.S.-based oral history project dedicated to recording tales of partition, as the division of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947 is known. For full story with links to website and video interviews, click here.