“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance..”
The Partition of India, and its Social Impact on Muslims
The 15th of August, 1947, saw the biggest turn in the history of Mankind. A country long exploited by The British Raj and The East India Company, sees the beacon of light for truce, freedom, peace and brotherhood. It was the day when India took birth, and so did Indians! After laboring more than 100 years for a Foreign-Imperialistic Authority, the country freed itself from disparity, discrimination and identity crisis. India, which consists of religions, languages and castes more than any other country in the world, and with vast land for agriculture such as Punjab, river as Ganges, mountain as Mt. Kailas, and the desert as Thar, took a leap in the economic, social and political front in the world. The freedom promised new dreams, ideas, life and opportunities for all.
Unfortunately, the free citizens of the free country chose to divide their dreams. The reason to part the two countries, the religious difference, caused millions of Muslims to migrate to Pakistan and Sikhs and Hindus to India, in the dire face of poverty, violence and hopelessness. Millions lost their jobs, their businesses and homes. Many were forced to vacate their home and emigrate to a new homeland called Pakistan and India, for there was no place for them to live elsewhere. For Muslims, the only home was Pakistan, and for Hindus it was India. They thought, Muslims chose their only home, Pakistan, like it was a consensus of every individual Muslim in the country. Unfortunately, many Muslims never chose Pakistan as their new home, but their own home as their own. Separation, Partition and Differences couldn’t create a taste into them to find a new home, but to stay and fight. For some, running away wasn’t an option. Living with the Muslim identity, as a minority and into injustice society, was their life.
Separation and violence burned the lives of millions of men, children and especially women, and the years to come. It was a great tragedy which cannot be undone. Immediately, after the partition, Muslims from India and Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan, emigrated to their new country. Some were forced to move, and some moved by their own will. If it was a mutual exchange of population with no need of differences, or for a bargain of religion, why did millions of people got killed? This tragedy cannot be undone, both sides made a mistake. The differences has been created, Muslims & Hindus, and the hatred still follows. Pakistan and India has consistently been into war since 1947. The thought of partition still pokes the emotion of people from both sides of the country.
Depiction of Partition in a Sociopolitical Film Garam Hawa, & Analyzing Muslim Sentiment and their Lives after Partition
Garam Hawa, a movie by S.M. Sathyu, focuses on the social aspect in the North India, immediately after the partition, the relation between the Muslim and Hindu residents of Agra, and the changing perspectives of Hindus and Nationalists toward their Muslim counterparts. The Hindu sentiment towards the birth of Pakistan, minority Muslim population residing in India, and the socioeconomic advantage of Hindu officials, causes a segregation and disparity among the class in the society. Money lenders refuse to loan the Muslims, employers stop employing them, State confiscated the houses with no official ownership, making their life ever hard and forcing them to migrate to Pakistan.
Salim Mirza (Balraj Sahni), a small time shoe factory owner, is refused the loan for business by the bank and other money lenders, due to the risk of default in payment, making if difficult for him to complete the sales order for new shoes. He faces every hardship of life in those mere few days. He and his family is thrown out of his home, he looses his factory, eventually his old mother and the daughter dies. The changing attitude of his Hindu friends toward him creates an urge for him to finally migrate, leaving everything he dreamed of in his home as an unfulfilled dream. Still, migrating is indecisive, for he is a man of principles and interest to remain in India.
The final plot of the movie sees him coming out of his long silence, and marching against the unjust society. He, an old man, awakens and fights for his rights. Salim Mirza, a man of self-respect, principles and faith, doesn’t falter till the end. With his uncompromising faith for God and everyday hardship, he tries to make the situation better for him and his family. A person living his life would definitely have migrated by now, but he remains adamant. He claims, India is his motherland, he is an Indian, and he will live and die in this country. He fights for his life, his job and his family, and for his desire to live a prosperous life in the very same country. Migrating to Pakistan is not an option for him, for he believes the good faith and good deeds will definitely offer him and his family a better life.
The title, Garam Hawa (Scorching Summer Wind), suits the story of the movie. It shows the difficulty faced by the man, and coming out of it is mere possible. He is hard-struck from his surroundings, but has to fight back.The resuscitation of being called an outsider in his own country, depicts the hardship of every Muslim after the partition. It merely retrospects happy moments of his life, but only hardships. It concludes that the one cannot run from his responsibility, his love and his identity. Be it Muslim, Sikh or Hindus, whoever have been living in their own country as refugees have to accept their new lives, either live it or fight for the change. There are hardship and happiness in life, one shouldn’t try face-off the bad moments.
It’s not the case, where only Muslim suffered this situation, but many Hindus in Pakistan suffered the same faith. They were displaced and discriminated too. Even, they must have fight for their right. It seems that it was natural for this to happen. Either living with it, or changing it, was the only option.
Video on Partition of India, 1947