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“Writings about [the 1947] Partition invariably tend to focus on the victims. Little mention is made of the many unknown heroes who helped save lives,” writes author Mariam Pal. Her own father’s life was saved in 1947 by a Sikh man who warned him and his family that an attack was planned on their home in Amritsar, in the present day Indian state of Punjab. Many Muslims in the area were being targeted and he would help several members of her family travel to Lahore. Their home was burned to the ground the next day.
But, because of that act of kindness, they escaped.
Seventy years ago, the dissolution of the British Raj lead to the creation of two new nations - India and Pakistan, based district-wide on Hindu or Muslim majorities. Partition is said to have displaced more than twelve million people, causing one of the biggest migrations in modern history. It was also one of the bloodiest. Neighbours turned on each other across religious lines leading to the killing of some two million people. But in many cases friends, and even strangers, also reached across those lines to save lives, and bring people to safety. On this episode we’ll hear those less-heard stories from people who lived through the experience.
The Stream kicks off a week of special programming marking the #PartitionAt70.
On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to:
Malika Ahluwalia @PartitionMusuem
CEO, Partition Museum
Mariam Pal @mariampmontrea1
Nida Kirmani @nidkirm
Civil engineer, Partition survivor
We discuss acts of kindness during the 1947 Partition of India. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.