Tribune News Service
Amritsar, August 12
“I am longing to see my house in Pakistan,” says 75-year-old Sukhwant Kaur in a choked voice, as she recalls the ordeal faced by her along with the members of her family during Partition in 1947. Sukhwant Kaur was seven years old when she along with her father and uncles and their families lived in 47-Chak Balere village in Lahore district.
Talking about the tense situation in their village in 1947, she said, “Tension was brewing between the two communities. My father and all other male members of the village were called by a prominent Muslim man near a pond to deliberate on the situation. However, his real intention was to kill us all together. Therefore, my father, accompanied by his brother, went to examine the situation.”
On returning, her father informed other villagers about the danger and all of them decided to leave the place together in a group. “The sun had set and the women of our house were preparing dinner. I still remember tandoors (traditional ovens) being placed in our porch, when we left hurriedly. We sat in bullock carts. It was decided to go to a bigger village nearby and then proceed further in a huge assembly.”
“We used to sit in a circle whenever we stopped to take some rest. It was decided that we should burn ourselves, if there was any danger. Sukhwant Kaur, who retired as a block primary education officer, Verka block, curses the time of Partition that led to loved ones killing one another.
She said, “There came a point when we were not able to travel by bullock carts due to rains. This was the time when I saw a mother requesting her son to kill her, as she was not able to cope up with the journey. A father, too, abandoned his two sons, as he was not able to carry them on his shoulder. It was a painful process.”
Though Sukhwant Kaur claims it was a sigh of relief when they reached India, the life they once lived had gone. “There were fresh struggles facing each one of us. Life was never the same. It was a difficult time. Life had taken another turn, but I shall go some day to my house in Pakistan. No place can replace the love I have for that house.”