The Partition of 1947 saw mass displacement and the largest human migration in our modern history. Inevitably, families were moved, friendships departed and people unaccounted for.
Mass migrations in such conditions are littered with stories of displacement, isolation, alienation and divorce. Communities, families and even individuals are torn within themselves. Countless individuals were snatched from their loved ones, and attempts to reunite are still strong today.
In Punjab, Dharam Kaur returned to her home the night after the riots to find the bodies of her family members, all but one. Her four year old daughter Mohinder Kaur, had been taken away to an orphanage.
Sultana in Karachi, recalls leaving Amritsar overnight. Their friends, their home, and their belongings were left in an instant.
As people began destroying the mosque and burning paddy fields in West Bengal, Anwara’s family fled. With nothing but their hearts in their hands they rode away in terror, leaving behind everything and everyone they held dear.
Author Saadat Hasan Manto depicts this displacement through juxtaposing reality with make-belief, as people were dislocated from their physical homes; Manto provided an escape to a familiar utopian land. Through his character’s search for the homeland, he highlights the permanent sense of insecurity and anxiety faced by all those displaced by the Partition.