salim mirza muslim family in garam hawa 1973

Review & Synopsis: Garam Hawa (1974) and Analysis of its Sociopolitical elements

“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..”


~Synopsis of Garam Hawa~

Garam Hawa, a movie by S.M. Sathyu, analyzes on the social-economic scenario of Northern India after partition, the relation between the Muslim and Hindu inhabitants 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 dominance of Hindu bureaucrats, caused a mass segregation and disparity among them. Money lenders refuse to provide loan to Muslims and employers stop employing them, State confiscates the houses of those possessing no official ownership, making their life harder and compelling them to migrate to Pakistan as an only solution.

garam hawa posterSalim Mirza (Balraj Sahni), a small time shoe factory owner, is refused business loan by various banks and money lenders, for he is a Muslim. He faces hardships of highest sort in those mere few days. He and his family is thrown out of their home, he looses his factory, eventually his old mother and a daughter die. The changing attitude of his Hindu friends toward him compels him to move out of the country. Still, migrating is indecisive for Salim for he is a man of principles and love for the country.

The final plot of the movie we see 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. He remains adamant. He fights for his life, his job and his family, and for his desire to live a prosperous life in the very country he ever lived. 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.


Analysis of its Sociopolitical Elements

The title, Garam Hawa (Scorching Summer Wind), suits the mood of the story completely. It visualizes the difficulty faced by an ordinary man in ordinary circumstances. He is hard-struck with the changing times. It concludes that the one cannot run from his responsibility, his love for the country 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.

It’s not the case where only Muslim suffered from such dire situations, but many Hindus in Pakistan suffered the same faith. They were displaced and discriminated too. Even, they fought for their right. It seems that it was a natural course of time, rather difficult to compensate with anything else.

~The Partition of India, and its Social Impact on the Muslims~

people migrating after partition of india

People migrating in large scale, after the partition of India in 1947

The 15th of August, 1947, saw the biggest turn in the history of Mankind. A country long exploited by British colonization and The East India Company’s monopoly saw the beacon of light of truce, freedom, peace and brotherhood. It was the day when India took birth, and so did Indians! After laboring almost 200 years under Foreign Imperialism, 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, took a leap of faith . The freedom promised new dreams, ideas, life and opportunities for all.

Unfortunately, the free citizens of the free country chose to divide their dream. The very reason that parted a single territory into two different nations. It caused millions of Muslims and Hindus to migrate to other side. Many were forced to vacate their home and emigrate to a new homeland called Pakistan or India, for their home was taken away from them. For Muslims, the only home was Pakistan, and for Hindus it was India. Most elite Muslims chose their only home, Pakistan, like it was a consensus of every individual Muslim in India. Unfortunately, many Muslims never chose Pakistan as their new home, but their own home as their own. Separation, For some, running away wasn’t an option. Living with the Muslim identity and as a minority in an unjust society will be their life for times to come.

Separation and violence burned lives of millions of men, children and especially women. 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 home. 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 mistakes. The differences have been created among Muslims & Hindus, and the hatred still follows in the new age. Pakistan and India has consistently been into war since 1947.


Video on Partition of India, 1947



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