14 August, 2009

1947 Partition: Unhealed Wounds

105-year-old Ishar Singh, whose family was separated during the Partition of Punjab and India in 1947, has had a life-long wish: to see his daughters before he closes his eyes forever.

Prior to the Partition, Ishar Singh, who now lives in Jammu - in 1947, part of a united Punjab - had a happy family living in what is now in West Punjab (Pakistan), but the line of separation that bisected the sub-continent, also divided his family.

On the fateful day, Ishar Singh, a transporter, was on the Indian side and his wife - along with their seven children, including four sons and three daughters - was still on the Pakistani side of the border.

"I tried to locate them and get them back but all my efforts turned futile, as now they had become citizens of Pakistan," said Ishar Singh.

It was not an uncommon story - those left behind became hostages and were forced to convert to Islam.

His family in Pakistan ,too, had no choice but to convert to Islam. Later, his sons immigrated to the United States where Ishar Singh was able to meet them many years later.

His three daughters still live in Faisalabad, in Pakistan.

In 1975, after 28 years of struggle, he got a chance to visit Lahore, Pakistan, where he met his daughters.

Thirty-four years have passed since then, but because of visa restrictions, he could not visit them again.

"We lost so many people and so many families were separated by the partition. For the past six decades, I have not been able to sleep comfortably, as I miss my family," said Ishar Singh.

Not only Ishar Singh himself, but also his daughters in Pakistan have been struggling hard to meet their father. Every time they apply for a visa, their request has been turned down.

"They, too, want to meet their father. They tried hard to get visas but whenever they applied, they were refused," said Satwant Kaur, daughter-in-law of Ishar Singh.

Though the relations between the two nations were strained, this father still has a hope that before he closes his eyes, he will get a chance to meet his daughters.

People like Ishar Singh who live by such hope have been praying every day of their lives for the improvement of relations between the two nations.

Courtesy: TNS

Also visit Partition of 1947

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a sad and incredible story. Please share it with the archive: