Today’s film, Division of Hearts, gave me a behind-the-scenes peek into what the partition was really like. In the beginning of the documentary, people were saying that they were confused about the concept of partition, in general. They were confused about where India ended and where Pakistan began. Punjab was split in half and the Punjabis were unsure of where they belonged, since most of them were neither Hindu nor Muslim; they were Sikh. Punjabis were afraid to go into rooms in their own homes because they thought Muslims would be hiding, waiting to murder them.
Lahore and Amritsar are two large cities in Punjab but presently, Lahore is in Pakistan and Amritsar is in India. A few women in Lahore expressed that they did not want to leave their homes just because they did not practice the religion of their new home country. The reason for the partition was different depending on who was asked in the documentary. A few Sikh villagers in Punjab stated that everything was always fine before this talk of partition began. Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs all lived in peace and harmony in a single village.
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Although they did not practice the same religion, they had respect for one another. They did not distinguish each other by religion; they all considered themselves to just be Indian. They felt the real religious conflicts were between the upper class and politicians, and these conflicts seemed to be instigated by the British. It was the issues of the politicians that caused the partition, and Hindus and Muslims to turn against each other, even in the villages. On the other hand, a few Muslim men in Dhaka, Bangladesh, felt that Hinduism and its multiple gods were not worthy of worship.
They did not think such a religion was valuable or could even compare to Islam. Therefore, they agreed that Hindus and Muslims should be separated to keep the Muslim population away from such an “unworthy” religion. The text that I connected to the most was Ibn-e Insha’s poem “Our Country. ” It was about how India and Pakistan had the same people living in both countries. They both had Hindus, Muslims, Sindhis, Punjabis, and Bengalis, so what was the point of having two countries if they had almost no difference at all? They should have never split in the first place.
I absolutely agree with this poem. My own grandparents, though Hindu, have to write that they were born in present-day Pakistan because they were born and raised in Lahore. However, they consider themselves to still be Indian. In the documentary, many Muslims did not want to leave present-day India and many Hindus did not want to leave present-day Pakistan. They grew up in their neighborhoods, established social networks, and did not want to leave their homes merely due to the fact that the government wanted to divide the country by religion.
I feel bad for the Bengalis the most who really felt displaced because one day they are Indian, the next they are Pakistani, and 24 years later, they have their own country and are referred to as Bangladeshi. I feel the partition was not an effective way to end conflicts between the Hindus and the Muslims because right now, India and Pakistan are enemies, and I feel that something else could have worked out in order to maintain peace rather than dividing into 3 countries.