Where are those heroes of Partition?


Is there a Sikh family in Amritsar that was told the story of one of them who helped save a Muslim family?

My Muslim family had lived in Amritsar for generations. The Pals were carpet-sellers and weavers who became lawyers and joined British India’s educated class in the early 1900s. Our family owned property and were active in the community life of the Sikh holy city. Both my uncles had clients from all faiths in their legal practice. My grandfather wanted to stay on in Amritsar after Partition. But this was not to be.

In June 1947, rioting erupted involving Sikhs and Muslims. In the Muslim neighbourhood where my family lived, gangs of Muslim vigilantes demanded protection money. As violence escalated, my grandfather decided that the family had to be ready to weather the storm in Lahore, 20 miles away, soon to be part of Pakistan. A house was rented in a Muslim neighbourhood there.

On August 8, a Sikh friend of the family came to warn them that it was no longer safe. It was time to leave Amritsar. A few hours later, the Sikh friend was back, driving a hearse. At great risk to himself, he drove the hearse to the Amritsar railway station. Inside were eight veiled female members of my family, including my grandmother. My father and his two brothers went to the station separately, meeting the women there. My grandfather and great-uncles planned to join them in Lahore in a couple of days..........Read more

 

Source web page: The Hindu


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