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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 35-36 August 26 & September 2, 2023

Partition: 14 August 1947 | Sagari Chhabra

Friday 25 August 2023, by Sagari Chhabra


We fought for freedom
but they decided,
our land,
our very own homeland
would be divided.
No one knows of the
mayhem and madness
that did descend;
take this as my testament:
the knives at the nape of necks,
the rapes of women,
their jumping into wells,
followed by blood-thirsty yells.

The people sleep-walked
with their belongings,
then just dropped them,
unable to carry further;
mothers abandoned their babies
hoping they would find them again;
a line drawn, had torn
and turned our world insane.

In the caravan I sat,
my eyes were red with crying;
then the other caravan stopped,
just for a moment
we both looked at each other,
their eyes too were red.
Red is the colour of blood
and there was a flood;
in that instant
we both realized
we had been caught
on the rack of history;
why they had decided
to partition our minds and bodies
will remain a mystery.

I was compelled to leave my home
which housed in the garden,
the grave of a pir,
to whose spirit my mother
always lit a lamp;
but after Partition
my eyes are still damp.
The memory of that time wells,
scars do not heal,
they only recede.

Why do you not see the pain
of the bulldozed people in Nuh;
the women raped in Manipur,
even those felled by bullets on a train,
must we still go down that lane?

Will we ever learn
that red is the colour of blood
both yours and mine,
and of the eyes that cry,
ours and thine.

Sagari Chhabra
14 August 2023

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