A Survivor Recalls: Part II (For real this time.)

So it’s been a long time coming, but here is the last part of my grandmother’s ( my Bee Ji’s) Partition story. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ PART I, or if you want a little more information about the Partition of India, click the smiley, it’s waiting for you–😀


When my Bee Ji and her family arrived at the train station, all was well. They got on the train, leaving their house, their belongings, and their father Pakistan. They had no way of knowing that the train that was supposed to leave the station right after their’s would never leave at all. It was ransacked by a mob, and the passengers were raped and killed, because it was sort of chaos everywhere.

The family sped across the newly formed border, leaving everything they knew behind.

Eventually my Bee Ji and her family arrived in India. They went to a refugee camp in Phagwara, Punjab, where they would only stay for a few days. At this point, they had realized how serious things were, and that they probably would not get to return to their home in Pakistan, where the father of their family was waiting for them. They would have to stay in India.  Meanwhile, in the family’s home in Pakistan, my great-grandfather was realizing the same thing. He was forced out of the family home by what I assume was yet another mob, and was left to find his family across the border.

In the refugee camp in Phagwara, my male relatives were about to take part in the chaos around them.

A caravan of Muslims was seen passing by on its way to Pakistan. It would never arrive at its destination. It was my Bee Ji’s uncles who did it–they went out to the group of Muslims and killed every last one of them. Every one, that is, except for two of them: A woman and her baby somehow managed to evade my relatives and sneak away. My Bee Ji’s mother quietly met the woman and actually housed the two Muslims in the refugee camp, taking care to hide them from her male relatives, who would have killed the family of two.  The next morning, another group of Muslims was passing by, and my great-grandmother sent the two refugees along quietly with that group.

And as suddenly as it was disrupted, life began to settle again. Somehow, my Bee Ji’s dad was able to find the family in the refugee camp. After leaving their home in Lahore, Pakistan, my Bee Ji and her family never settled in any one place in India. They stayed in the state of  Punjab, but they moved around to different cities; from Phagwara to Jalandhar, Amritsar, Firozpur, and eventually Sangrur, where my Bee Ji would eventually meet her husband.

Well, I guess that’s all folks. Part II was a long time coming, I know. But at least it had some action? Tears even? Did you cry? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone if you did. No? Okay. That’s cool. You do you.

I know it was kind of short. I wish I was able to get some more details. I’m visiting my other grandparents this weekend, so I might get some new stories then. I wanted to finish this off with saying something insightful about the Partition, but in the words of Russell Peters…http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=b8NLVxr4WjM#t=4s

And I guess my Bee Ji’s story says quite a bit on its own. Overall, the Partition was a time of confusion and dislocation. My grandmother never saw her home again. Friends and families were split apart. But out of all of this came the nation of Pakistan. And please, don’t get me wrong: I love Pakistan. I have some really cool Pakistani friends, and I even consider myself Pakistani, as well as Indian. But it is cool to think that 66 years ago, India was so diverse in religion and culture, even more than it is today.

If you didn’t know about the Partition of India, I strongly suggest Wiki-ing it. To put it in official terms, that Partition cray.



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2 thoughts on “A Survivor Recalls: Part II (For real this time.)

  1. Simran says:

    Your grandmother’s tale has been echoed in thousands of households across India, as grandparents told their grandchildren about the horrors of the Partition and the difficult adjustment to their new lives. My own grandmother tells me of an idyllic existence in a palatial mansion with her family and extended family – all torn away when the British decided to “go out with a bang.” I have read all three of your posts, and I enjoyed reading them. You have a way of addressing a serious, emotional issue with levity, but with the perspective of an insightful teenager, which makes your recount all the more compelling.

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