Self Expression Magazine

The Terror Train to Pakistan

By Alka Narula @narulaalka

".We walked night and day. There were men and women of all ages and all conditions. Many could not stand the strain. They-mostly women and children-were left on the road. I reached a place called Fazilka, in Indian territory, and discovered that another refugee column in which my father and other relatives had set out had fared much worse. They had been attacked by Muslim mobs on their way: Only 40 or 50 had survived out of 400 or 500 and even these were in hospitals. My aunt had been killed, more than a hundred girls were abducted, and my father rescued from a heap of the dead. ...While in Fazilka, we saw other refugee columns coming in; one of them he says was 'forty miles long', and in another marched " five hundred women who had been stripped naked.......I saw women with their breasts, noses, ears and cheeks of them told me how her child was roasted and she was asked to partake of the same.....another was ravished in the presence of her husband who was kept tied to a tree".
— Stated under oath by Madanlal Pahwa during the Mahatama Gandhi Murder Trial.(Wikipedia)
 If i had to rate the  most shameful event in the history of the world , i would rank partition of india on top. The year 1947 marked the end of the British Rule in the Subcontinent. The departure of the British from the subcontinent led to the creation of two independent states, Pakistan and India.Muslims moved to Pakistan ,and Sikhs and Hindus moved to India. Several books give an account of the tragedy of the partition  that plagued the subcontinent  The year 1947 records the gruesome human disaster in the wake of partition. The incredible suffering and bewilderment were witnessed by the people on either side of the subcontinent.It lead to the killing of innocent people on both sides..  Several  books and novels written give a vivid  account  of the communal violence that erupted in the subcontinent when the British announced its division into Pakistan and India. The most affected area was the Punjab province since it was one of the two provinces that were divided into two halves. This led to huge migration from one city to another to seek a peaceful land for their survival while giving rise to unprecedented violence and crime scenes.During the tragic history of partition, vicious acts were not confined only to the adults. Even children were also exposed to same violent and angry world.They too could not escape the harsh realities.But women became worst hit victim of this event.The partition narratives are testimony to the fact that the women of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims were among ―the greatest victims of religious and cultural persecution. On both sides of the newly created border, women were kidnapped, abducted, raped and brutally kille . And the violence inflicted upon women was equivalent to a sacrilege against one‘s religion, country, and family. It  became the norm of the victors that they  celebrated their triumphs on the bodies of women while crossing all the limits of humanism.And most abhorring act was, scores of women were killed, mutilated , their breasts cut and sent across the border.Train to Pakistan a novel by famous writer, Khushwant Singh says: ―The fact is both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped. The peaceful and serene atmosphere of Mano Majra(a character in the novel) starts to crumble when a group of dacoits kill Ram Lal(a character in the novel) – the money lender. The situation is worsened when two ghost trains arrive from Pakistan, full of murdered Sikhs and Hindus. All of them have been gruesomely hacked to pieces. The severity of the situation can be judged from the fact that the fuel stock for pyre to burn Train to Pakistan mentions the mutilated breasts of the bodies arriving from the Pakistani side.
I have read that these breasts were sent across the border stuffed in gunny bags ,i dont hink there could have been worse example of inhumanism than what was seen in 1947. I also wonder was there a real need to divide our country , It would have saved millions of lives .  There would be no enemity between Hindus and Muslims ,which had been implanted by British rule , untill then they lived like a family.And i feel very proud to say we still live like one in this country, inspite of what all has happened in past ,Britishers divide and rule policy could not stain us for life.
   photograph courtesy jas fotography

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