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WHILE REDEEMING MY SOUL: Chapter 5 - An Oblivious Revelation
Ibrar Hussain was a carpenter; he had his only son with him who was burnt alive by the raiders. Surely those flames hurt everyone beyond one’s imagination. My father ran towards him in search of hope and asked if he knew where his family was. Ibrar told that my grandfather was killed in the attack. It was enough for him for being stunned in those crying voices. Ibrar further told that his sister has been abducted by the raiders and since then, she is missing. It was another thunderbolt for my father. He lost his family, lost those, who loved him for all his life; lost those, who were his life. Finding faces of your relatives in hundreds of dead bodies surely is the most difficult task for anybody. Though I might not have a similar direct experience of it, but I can still perceive this feeling, because I have been an indirect cause of the similar situation for many people.
My father started to look for my grandfather’s dead body. My grandmother was still missing. While searching one face, he found a dozen of other familiar faces. Faces which were grown up with my father: friends, neighbors, relatives and many more. Even after hours of searching, he was unlucky to find his father’s dead body. He was losing his hope, his courage, as he heard a familiar voice calling his name. It was his mother’s voice. She was injured, left without food and water, with no health assistance but she was amongst those few refugees who were able to flee from the raiders’ attack. The way she was crying, my father realized that she is also aware of the disastrous fact that what happened to her family. And the way she hugged him, proved that she knew what happened. But what she did not knew that my father found one more face, when he was searching the blended dead bodies in search of his father’s. It was a girl, who was killed in the attack. A face my father was familiar with. A face my father was in love with. Her name was Khadija, and she was engaged to my father a year ago. They both grew up in the same neighborhood, played in the same turf and both knew each other since their childhood. They were about to marry by the end of that year. My father never talked about her to anyone, not even to my mother and this fact is written in this diary and I could easily understand by reading the following line that he wrote in his diary that why he did not tell anyone about her. He wrote a simple, straightforward but a meaningful line:
“No one will ever understand what she really meant to me.”
14thAugust, 1947, the great day of independence had arrived. For which, all of these sacrifices were made. So many homeless person, injured and dying, but with hope and passion, were travelling towards their homeland, PAKISTAN. My father was one of them. The South-East Asia was still burning, people were still being killed. Trains were still coming with thousands of dead bodies from India to Pakistan. It was a challenging task to refuge all these migrants who came without any food or money, but the Pakistani administration showed great potential and tried their level best to maintain the dignity of their homeland and they succeeded. Majority of the camps were made in Lahore by the Pakistani administration, as almost all the migrants were coming to Lahore. My father along with his mother came there and after managing an accommodation, he settled there. He later shifted to Karachi in 1949 and got married.
The exact number of casualties during the great partition will always remain a matter of debate. Estimates range from around 200,000 to one and a half million (1,500,000). A British contemporary estimate claimed that 180,000 people died. Another contemporary estimate from India put the death toll at around 500,000. The estimate given by Dr. Robert Corruccini and Kaul is about 400,000 deaths with a wide margin of error that is plus or minus 100,000. It also generates the fact that at least 13 million refugees, out of which 10 million from Punjab (a province) alone, comprising four and half million non-Muslims and five and half million Muslims. Along with these facts, approximately 75,000 women were raped and/or abducted across the two sides of the new border.
(You can read Chapter 6 from the above link)