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Posted at: Feb 14, 2018, 12:45 AM; last updated: Feb 14, 2018, 1:38 AM (IST)

Missing Lahore days...

ML Joshi
Missing Lahore days...

ML Joshi

OFTEN, becoming nostalgic, I can’t resist the haunting, but vivid memories of the bloody Partition. I was in Class V then, studying at Dyal Singh School, Lahore, located on the campus of Dyal Singh College, founded by philanthropist Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia. 

Our residence was about a furlong from school, near Gali Waan Waali, Mohalla Sathhan, where famous Punjabi singers, Surinder Kaur and Parkash Kaur, lived — three houses from ours. The locality was inhabited by Hindu and Sikh families. The left side of the street was only for Muslims. One had to cross it to reach the school, or Bhatti Gate, where a cinema hall was located. From our side, Lahori Gate, Shah Aalmi Gate and Anarkali Bazaar were closer. The rear of our house touched the house belonging to a Muslim gentleman.

During riots, we had to shift to Krishan Nagar Colony, exclusively for Hindu-Sikhs. My mother ventured out from Krishan Nagar to see our house burning. Our Muslim neighbour escorted her to the house. She salvaged a small kadhai from the debris of our kitchen. A ration card of those days, showing ration drawn till August 17, 1947, is still with me.

As riots took a more sinister turn, we shifted to the kothi of Bhalla saheb, the owner of a shoe company in Anarkali Bazaar. They had honoured and garlanded Pandit Nehru with currency notes and showered notes over him when he was leading the victory procession after becoming the Congress president. 

My father, my eldest brother and I boarded a train to Amritsar as both of them had been transferred from Mayo Medical College Lahore to Medical College Amritsar as senior clerk and lab technician, respectively. 

My mother, along with my three other brothers and a sister, also left for Amritsar. On the way to the Lahore railway station, their tonga was chased by three Muslim youths on cycles to loot and perhaps kill them. But the Muslim tonga-wallah whipped the horse hard to escape them. 

My mother belonged to Hudiara, a suburban village of Lahore. Hudiara came to limelight when the Indian armed forces captured it along with a large chunk of area surrounding Lahore during the Indo-Pak war. We used to spend our vacations in this village. I still have haunting memories of this village, where my nanaji and mamas lived as landlords. My mother would visit gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore, every masya and Sankranti for a holy dip, taking me along as an escort. I remember the visits to the famous museum of Lahore, the zoo and the fun and frolic on the lush green grass of the Parade Ground. 

Alas! gone are those sweet days of my childhood in Lahore. The Partition created a divide, which was more than just geographic.

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