The Unforgettable Memories 15 Th August 1947


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The Unforgettable Memories 15 Th August 1947

  1. 1. THE UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES 15TH AUGUST 1947 Today when the country is celebrating Golden Jubilee of Independence day, I thought of jotting my old memories which have been haunting me for the last 50 years. It was late in the evening of 6th March 1947 when I was sitting in the Varanda of our house at Chakshadad. I noticed a bright skyline in Pindi indicating some large inferno. Although Pindi was about six miles (a crow-fly distance) from Chakshadad but Chakshadad being at an elevation, one could easily see the night lights of Pindi. My brother-in-law Meghnath who had come to our house for a dinner after his marriage with my sister exclaimed Aag Se Lagta Hai Pindi Khattre Main Hai (from this fire it appears that Pindi is in danger). Since the distance from Pindi was large one could not hear the noise. So the dinner passed comfortably. At the time I was a child of 10 years. I had sound sleep, and did not hear what had happened during night. Next morning when I went to our field to answer my natural call I saw a large quantity of wheat in the field was destroyed as if it was cut by somebody in a haphazard manner and thrown the straws around. I started thinking as to how and why one could have destroyed the wheat like this. Tender wheat straws, cut in a systematic manner for using as fodder but why one should cut the wheat in such a manner. When I returned home which was 100 yards from the spot of wheat destruction, I talked to Rani (my sister) about what I saw in the field. Rani told me that I should not make noise of it and keep it confidential only then she will tell me what had happened. When I promised her by touching my neck that I will keep this thing confidential she told me that our father has tested a bomb in the field. She told me that elders did not sleep the whole night in the house because from all the sides of village’s noise was coming Nara-eh- Taqdir Allah-Hu-Akabar and the whole night Papaji and Chacha Jagannath (my uncle) have been making the bombs and the bomb was tried in the field to check the power of destruction.
  2. 2. When she gave me this information, it stuck to my mind as to what I had seen in one of the Almerahs a few months back were the crackers for the marriage of my sister but it was explosive for making bomb. Immediately, I ran into the house and opened the almerah to confirm my belief if the golas were there. But to my great surprise, not even single gola was in the almerah. When I told my sister that I knew everything, now knowingly she told me that I do not know everything and snubbed me that I know nothing and advised me for keeping quite. Before I got up as per routine, my father had already left for Pindi. Around noon, he returned and told that the whole city of Pindi is under the siege of Mohammedan and they are trying to enter all the roads to Pindi but Hindus and Sikhs are putting touch resistance. As the darkness coming falling, the voice of Nara-eh-Taqdir Allah-Hu-Akabar again started coming from all sides of our village. It appears Mohammedans from neighbouring Dhokes (small villages) were proceeding towards Pindi. There was an uneasy calm in the atmosphere. I do not know when I slept that night but when I got up in the morning I saw everybody in the house were frightened. They had no idea as to what will happen to us: Nobody was uttering anything but there was an overall confusion. Chakshadad had about 150 Hindu population, 90% of which were Brahmins. They were called Misras by the local and 100 Mohammedans population. There was one mosque in the village and one Dharamshala in which both Guru Granth Sahib and idols of Ram- Sita and Laxman were installed. Most of the Hindus who were Sanathan Dharmi also believed in Guru Granth Sahib. Only four house of Arya Samajis who were totally non-believers in Guru Granth Sahib. There was one strange bond between the Hindus and Sikhs at Chakshadad. Although all Sanathan Dharmis were very staunch Hindus and would perform their Artis, Kirtans by beating Dholak every day would still have faith in Guru Granth Sahib and would take part in all the social function of Chakbidha Singh, Chakragroot which were dominated by the Sikhs. There were lots of inter cast relationship between Hindus and Sikhs of these villages. As a matter of fact during these days nobody considered as one religion and they were living quite harmoniously with the Mohammedans. Chakshadad, Chakbidha Singh and Chakragroot were
  3. 3. surrounded by small small Dhokes which were inhabited by Mohammedans only. There was not even a single house of Hindus or Sikhs in these Dhokes. Village of Rawal which makes first part city of Rawal-Pindi (Rawal+Pindi) was situated about two miles from Chakshadad and was on the last tip of hills on the other side of the riverlet Kurnag. One could easily see the red flag at the top of temple of Rawal from Chakshadad. Although the village was very small, it had unparalleled scenic beauty. Riverlet Kurnag was cutting the Padi mountains just by the side of Rawal. The water of Kurnag was so sweet that the Government had built a small dam above the gorge of Kurnag and made a big reservoir. The water from this reservoir used to flow from Pindi for a distance of about 8 miles through underground concrete tunnel. I understand this tunnel was made some 20 years before I was born. The blue water of Kurnag used to dripple over the face of dam like a silver sheet and fall into the Sandh which was formed between the cut of mountain. There was no road between Rawal and Chakshadad. The road from Rawal Pindi going to Srinagar would pass by the side of Rawal. For going to Chakshadad one has to take Pak-dandi (footpath) and cross over the river Kurnag by passing through knee deep water over stony bed. Some stones were covered with slippery moss and would give a nasty fall to an unexperienced person. Hindus from Rawal, Chakshadad, Chakbidha Singh and Chakragroot were slightly avoiding meeting with the Muslims of the villages and neighbouring Dhokes. An invisible barrier was coming between them after the disturbance started in Rawal Pindi. No communications come from Rawal Pindi for four to five days after I noticed the first fire. But that day the city of Rawal was under the siege of Muslims. Many Hindus from four villages mentioned above, in the guise of Muslims (just by tying turbans in different ways) went to the outer fringes of Rawal Pindi but had not been successful in entering the city because there was always fear of getting killed by the Hindus. In the afternoon of the 5th day, a lot of people were noticed around the temple of Rawal only sought for fetching fodder for the cattles returned home quickly without fodder saying that Rawal has been attacked by the Muslim and very soon the mob will enter into Chakshadad. Therefore all Hindus from the villages must vacate their houses immediately. Fazaldin who was a turner at our workshop in Pindi used to live in a
  4. 4. Dhoke which was hardly one mile from Chakshadad, was called by my father and was told that the attackers mob which was visible at Rawal will very soon come to Chakshadad after looting and killing and burning of the houses of Hindus of Rawal. With lightening speed, Hindus of Chakshadad took their belongings out from their houses and through them in the fields away from the regular paths and also freed their animals. Fazaldin alongwith other two persons who had come from his Dhoke suggested that all Hindus of Chakshadad should move their Dhoke. The Hindus vacated their houses under the cover of darkness in order to avoid any bloodshed by the Muslims who may attack Chakshadad. By about 9 P.M. all the Hindus shifted to Fazaldin’s house. Since it was too cold in the middle of March, a big room which were meant for animals in Fazaldin’s house was vacated. All Hindus numbered around 30 were put into that house. Many other families of Hindus from Chakshadad shifted to other house of Muslims of their acquaintance. The whole night we passed in the dark. Children were not allowed to carry or cough by putting hands on their mouth by their mothers. Nobody went to answer any natural call. Just in one hour my body system stopped working due to fear and uncertainty. Saliva in the mouth of young and old dried. Everybody was talking with fear inside. Hunger, thirst and emotion had died. My grandfather did not come to Fazaldin’s house. When my father told him that soon the Muslim will come and kill him, his reply was that he would prefer to die in his own house then to go to anywhere else. By about 11 in the night some families started pouring Rawal to Chakshadad. Although most of the Hindus had shifted to Muslim’s Dhoke but still some male members who bold and brave were roaming in Chakshadad shuffling between Dhokes and their villages alongwith their Mohammedan friends but always in the guise of Muslim. The people who had come from Rawal narrated the story of the last evening as to what had happened at Rawal. They told that when Muslim would not entered in Pindi while returning to their villages, decided to look all Hindu villages, they attacked it. When the attack come all Hindus with their families assembled in the open yard in front of the building, Muslims of Rawal stopped the attackers and were living with them harmoniously for the last 100s of years. After lot of discussions, attackers agreed to leave after getting a ransom of Rs.2500/-. They also told
  5. 5. the attackers that nobody will go to the temple and local Muslims of Rawal will collect and give to them. After collecting the ransom of the attackers melted away towards their villages and after that Hindus from Rawal decided to vacate their village. As uneasy calm prevailed in Chakshadad from the next 4 days, most of the Hindus in Muslim House started coming to their own houses for preparing food. Since no attack came in these four days they had also collected their belongings which they had thrown in the field and also tied their animals back. During these four days mother used to cook chapathis on tandoor and gave me alongwith ghee and curd but it was not possible to swallow even a single morsel of food. During these days I always used to fight with my mother for more ghee on which she had put a ration. But during these days she was very liberal. When children were not able to eat food and there was always fear of attack or getting lost, parent gave some chapathis tied in a piece of cloth at the back of each child. My younger sister Kailash was six years old, her responsibility was given to me. She holding my hand used to run with me where I went. There was so much uncertainty that sometime we both were running from Dhoke to Chakshadad and sometimes back to Dhoke from Chakshadad. Perhaps on the 5th days we returned to our village thinking that there will be no more attacks. A night passed peacefully in Chakshadad but all around Chakshadad Hindu villages were under fire. It may be Kuri or Tarlai or Rawal. Many Hindus from these villages were badly wounded. Some with missing hands, some with missing ears, women with injured heads or breast were pouring in Chakshadad. They were telling such horrifying stories but some times I was not feeling scared as if my brain stopped reacting to the fear and my fear sensing organs had stopped working. I think, I had become totally dump. Although seeing everything but not reacting anything. My hunger, thirst had died. My only worry was my younger sister Kailash whose responsibility was given to me it was around 10.00 a.m. when my mother was making chapathis on Tandoor. I heard a noise Nara-eh-Taqdir Allah-Hu-Akabar from Khumar’s (Potter’s) Dhoke which was about 11/2 miles from Chakshadad. When I climbed our roof, my horror, It was the mob of about 200 people carrying a green colour flag on a very big post walking towards Chakshadad. My mother hurriedly gave me and my sister some
  6. 6. chapathis alongwith fresh butter. In the meantime, the voice of mob started becoming more louder and clearer. I could not swallow even a single morsel of food. I picked up 8 chapathis and packed it in a cloth and tied them at my back. Holding hand with Kailash ran towards the wheat field to hide ourselves, My father went to a strategic place for attacking the mob in the main street of village from the roof of Babu Ran Chand’s house which was by the side of main street. The mob come so sudden, no pre-planning for hiding the ladies and children or attacked by men-folk on the invaders could be made. For a moment there was chaos nobody knew what to do. They were trying to hide their women and children inside the house and trying to organize themselves. But that time the mob entered the village. But some people in front of the mob were shouting don’t attack repeatedly and raising their hands upwards. They just pass through the village and assembled in a field on the other side of the village. Almost 90% of the mob were known to the Hindus of Chakshadad. Seeing them the men-folk of Hindus started moving near them and mixed up with the mob. One of the person who was the leader of the mob disclosed that many people from their community have approached them to find out as to why the Hindus of Chakshadad have been spared when Hindus of all other villages have been either chased out or killed and today they have come to Chakshadad to convert all Hindus to Islam. Most of Hindus vehemently rejected to this idea as to how dare to put such proposal. Mr._____ who was a Headmaster of High School at Kuri and had come to Chakshadad only tow days back prevailed upon the Hindus and calm them down and told the leader of the mob that he is a teacher of both Hindus and Muslims for the last 30 years. People from both communities respect them. So whatever he will say, both communities will agree. He also declared that all Hindus of Chakshadad and all other Hindus also who have migrated to Chakshadad during the last 4/5 years are prepared to embrace Islam. The leader from the mob after one hour hectic discussion, modalities of conversion were settled. A Mullah of the village who was also present in the mob called and asked to teach “Kalma” to all the Hindus. Mr.____ said that since he is elder of all Hindus and Muslims, the Mullah should only teach him the Kalma and other Hindus would automatically converted into Islam. Mr.____ himself was a
  7. 7. scholar of Arabic, Urdu and Pharsi. When he told the Mullah that he will learn only “Kalma” from him if he can tell him the meaning of “Kalma” in Urdu. The Mullah was just an illiterate person, had declared no idea about the meaning. Mr.____ declared that he will explain the meaning of Kalma to everybody. The atmosphere was so frantic at that time that mob immediately christened Mr.__________ as Fazaldin and declared that he would be the Mullah of the converted Hindus from now onwards. All Hindus and Muslims sat in the field and the new priest Mr. Fazaldins read Kalma with a loud voice. All Hindus and Mohammedans repeated Kalma after him and with this simple ceremony all Hindus were converted into Islam. By about 4 P.M. list were made giving Mohammedans’ names for all Hindu men-folk. The females members was not included in the list. It is decided that name of female members will be changed with the consent of ladies. The mob embraced Hindus and the atmosphere become emotional. They declared that from now onwards nobody from outside would touch their brothers of Chakshadad. If everybody would dare, they have to walk over their bodies. By about 4.30 p.m. people assembled were gone back again shouting Nara-eh-Taqdir Allah-Hu- Akabar. Most of the Hindus did not accept this conversion and started accusing Mr._____ and my father could not react openly. They also carried the impression that if an opportunity comes all Hindus will run away and not accept Islam. After this incident, total peace came in the village and the atmosphere calm down and the village Chakshadad had new life and relief. People slept in their houses peacefully. Since there was a lot of disturbance for the last fortnight, perhaps nobody noticed the smoke which was rising from all villages around Chakshadad. Almost for next two days there was no discussion in this matter. More Mohammedans from neighbouring Dhokes started coming to Chakshadad and mixing with their friends. They were looking more closer to each other. Mohammedans were feeling happier and started calling their friends by new names which even Hindus themselves have not remembered. In many cases they would refer back to the main name list. Copies of which were available with Numberdar and to the Mullah Mr._____ about 2/3 days passed like this. No undesirable incident happened
  8. 8. in Chakshadad. Physically and outwardly all Hindus have accepted Islam but inwardly nobody had accepted to took it as a joke but not expressed it openly. When confronted with my Muslim one of my Mohammedan friends Ashraf Khan embraced me and told me that my name is _______________. On the third day at about 2.30 p.m. huge mob of 100s of people appeared on the Padi Mountain. They were all walking down towards Chakshadad. All people from Chakshadad and near by Dhokes were shocked to see such a large number of people coming towards Chakshadad. In lightening speed all make folk of Chakshadad and a few Dhokes stopped the attackers at a distance from Chakshadad and told them that Hindus of Chakshadad have been converted to Islam and now they should not come to the village. When men folk were running towards the mob all the ladies and children were assembled into a house of Kakka-Ram which was the heart of the village, which contained lot of straw inside. They hatched out a conspiracy that if mob do not accept the conversion of males and try to attack those who proceed to the village through the main street of the village will be attacked by bombs from the top of Baby Ram Chand’s house and Bodh Raj’s house which were at the two ends of the main gali of the village and house of Kakka Ram in which all ladies and children were housed will be put to fire. When most of the people from the village walked towards the mob, I was given a bag containing about 16 bombs to get it delivered to my father who were already gone to the centre of the village to fix the position for attack. As a matter of fact, some persons were deputed for giving signal for putting Mr.Kakka Ram’s house ablaze and for attacking the mob. The mob was stopped about 1 KM from our village by the side of Bani Lake. The elders from Chakshadad and neibouring Dhokes were arguing that all Hindus were converted into Islam and they should not go to the village. There was argument and counter argument but the mob did not agree and they were slowly pushing towards the village. The whole incidents must have taken about an hour. The people who were in the village and ladies who were in Kakka Ram’s house were totally breathless. They had become pale and white with fear. I was also included in the group who was to be immolated. After waiting for sometime, I came out saying that I will also fight. By this time my father had also come down from Babu Ram Chand’s house
  9. 9. and started walking towards the mob but he did not take me along. When my father reached the place of discussion, there was a very hot exchange of words between the two parties. My father who had revolver in his pocket, took it out and tried to fire it in the air. By that time some person from the mob snatched the revolver and put it in the forehead of my father. Seeing this Fazal Khan who was by the side of my father, immediately bushed the hands of person who had snatched the revolver and said bastered are you going to kill a Mohammedan? I do now know how but within a few minutes calmness prevailed and the attackers agreed to leave Chakshadad provided newly converted Hindus accompany the mob for attacking Chakbidha Singh and Chakragroot. At the time Hindus were left with no alternative then but to join the mob. They started moving towards Chakbidha Singh. When I saw the people were moving towards Chakbidha Singh I also walked to our house from where I could see Chakbidha Singh and the areas between Chakbidha Singh and Chakshadad. When the mob was almost mid-way some bullet fire came from the front over the mob. Everybody in the mob started running back towards Padi mount and within 10 minutes there was not even a single sound to be seen. Everybody disappeared in Padi. Many Hindus who had joined the mob had also run alongwith them towards Padi instead of coming towards Chakshadad and everybody was wondering as to what has happened, who has fired or is there some other attackers? After sometime 4/5 Hindus alongwith my father come to our house. By that time, we could see atleast two persons visible from where the fire came. I alongwith Mohinder who were deputed to go there and see who were the people and who were fired. The distance must have been about one mile. When we were half way through, we saw a police inspector accompanied by four policemen advancing towards our village All Hindus gathered around them. They narrated that when the attack was coming from Padi, Choudhary and Hussain from ____________ village saw the attackers. Sensing that they will attack Chakshadad, so he went to Rawal Pindi on his horse and summoned the police. They came in a Tonga upto Nala Kurnag and started running towards the spot where the mob was standing. When they noticed that the mob was coming towards Chakbidha Singh, they though that the mob had seen them, they took cover in a natural trench
  10. 10. and fired in the air to scare away the mob. As soon as they fired about 10 rounds of 303 rifle in the air, in a hysteric way the mob took about-turn and did not breath till they reached Padi about 11/2 miles away. After this incident, Hindus become very brave as if they had beaten back the attackers. When all these things was happening, my father mounted two rifles made by him on the top of our house and both the rifles were pointed towards Padi. Very soon the news was spread that Mirshas have mounted a Top at their house. I really did not know if these bombs and guns made by him would have been successful or not in killing the mob but these are made lot of impact. Next four days passed peacefully. The Mohammedans of the village started feeling scared. Another interesting thing was that Fazal Din who was a turner in our workshop used to call my father as his Guru (master) was in complete confidence about the rifle and the bombs. Even at that time my father gave about 10 bombs to him. On the fifth day late in the afternoon, an Army truck with about 6 soldiers and one captain had parked their vehicle about 200 yards away from the village. Two/Three times they tried to climb the steep rise but were not successful. After seeing the army, we had a sigh of relief. All villagers met the captain of the army in a yard of Chacha Ram’s house. They were served with tea. The captain was South Indian and did not understand Punjabi. My father translated him in English. He told the villagers that they have been posted to clear the dead bodies of area and they will camp at Kuri which was 21/2 miles away from Chakshadad where casualties were very high. But he also told the people that they should not worry for anything, if there is any danger, they should give a sound signal with a Pataka and within 10 minutes they will reach the village. Another 4/5 days passed under huge tension. All men in the village used to remain awakened and vigilant and gave pehra in shifts. During these 4/5 days my father used to visit the army camp at Kuri and briefed him the latest developments. One night some rifle fire came over the village. Immediately a Pataka was sounded and the army men came running within 20 minutes. They searched all around but no such person was found. For the first time I saw a Sten Gun. Before that I had seen pistol, revolver and rifle with two muscles but never a Sten Gun. One day the captain came to our village around noon with two Sikh Soldiers. They both were carrying Sten
  11. 11. Guns. The people from the village met in the house of Babu Ram Chand. The captain told to the villagers that they should not be scared and shifted to Rawal Pindi. By an accident Sten Gun of the soldier fell from the shoulder and fired but luckily the fire went into the roof making a big dent in the tile and fortunately nobody was hurt. I think the soldier had not locked his refle. For about another 10 days we remained in the village Chakshadad under the shadow of army. During this time the local Mohammedans also started keeping themselves away from Hindus of Chakshadad because they were also scared of army. One fine evening three big trucks of army came and all the children and women of the village were loaded in these trucks and shifted to Chakshadad which was about 6/7 miles from Rawal Pindi. We were housed in two tents which were provided by the Army by the side of run-way of Chak Kala Aerodrome. We sat in these tents for ¾ days and during this period army people used to feed us from their mess after cutting their own ration. Since living was very very difficult, people like us who had relatives in Rawal Pindi Rawal Pindi decided to shift their relatives who were living in the safer areas of Rawal Pindi. On one fine morning myself, my mother, brother and sister took a tonga and went to our Aunt’s house (my father’s sister) which was in Devi Dware Mohalla and was in the heart of Pindi city. I think it was first week or second week of April when we landed there. During the passage of time many other elders who were living in the outer Mohalla of Rawal Pindi also shifted to this house. I had gone to Chakshadad after my 5th standard examination. The school reopened for a few days in the month of April. During these days we used to go to S.D. School under Army protection and in the Army truck which we used to catch from Mai-Viro-Ki-Banni. The menfolk joined us after about 4/5 days. My grandfathers were 4 brothers and all had constructed their house on the outer skirt of village Chakshadad. My grandfather Pandit Hira Nand called Theke-dar, was perhaps influential of the flour. As the elder brother who was more than 95, used to live in Rawal Pindi. Second younger brother used to live in the village Chakshadad. They all had separate house and lands. When we shifted to Rawal Pindi, a few days after that my grandfather was also brought to Rawal Pindi. He suffered a severe stroke and died after two days. Two brothers of my grandfather did not shift to Rawal Pindi. They
  12. 12. stayed in Chakshadad. One of my uncle Shiv Ram with his wife and son stayed with them. As the time started passing the extent of violence and killing in the outer area of Rawal Pindi started increasing. Day by day all hindus were getting killed in the villages around and they shifted to Rawal Pindi. Uncertainty became so great that people started leaving Rawal Pindi. All people were coming to Patiala. We also have to abandon out house land and other valuables. My uncle (Taya) strongly opposed leaving Rawal Pindi with the belief that Governments are changed but public is never changed. The schools that were opened during April were closed after working for 2/3 weeks because there was danger in the schools also and S.D. School was completed occupied by Army. On 6th August somehow we passed in great anxiety and it was on 6th August an announcement came in the radio that Lahore will get to Pakistan and Amritsar will remain in India. During these periods my brother Davindra Lal Sharma (Deputy) who was about 17 at that time, was insisting to shift India and compelled my father for sending my mother alongwith children to India. It was on the 8th August we reached Pindi Railway Station and boarded the train and reached Muzaffarnagar after two days. Each moment in the train passed with uncertainty. Many trains were attacked at Jhelum and Gujaranwala but somehow our train reached Amritsar after two days problem. I distinctly remember when I reached Amritsar it was raining and I took lot of water for the first time. I pissed after 3 days. By late in the night we reached Muzaffarnagar. My father, my uncle and my grandfather with his two children Kanta and Prithvi remained in Rawal Pindi. On 12 th August, one of our workshop employee reported to my father that he heard a lot of noise in the our house at Chakshadad. Perhaps our relatives who were still there have been killed. As I started earlier one Taya of my father with his son and daughter in law and one grand son of two years of age and one uncle of my father were still in the village. My father sent him back to the village by a cycle and back and told him that he should get full information. About 10-O clock that man came back and told my father that all our people have been killed. My father approached one of his cousins whose father was also in the village accompanying him in the village but he refused to go saying that when his father has already been killed what he would
  13. 13. do there. My father alongwith police party of 4 persons went to Chakshadad by cycle and took one tonga with him. When he reached Chakshadad, he saw the throat of his uncle was cut at two pieces but the old man was still alive. When his uncle saw him said Mathura give me some water it was more than 18 hours when he was injured. But that time the whole blood had drained but still he was alive and conscious. He told my father that he should wash his hands before giving water to him. That was the level of faith of Hindus in the religion. Although he was badly injured and bleeded for the last 18 days, he did not allow my father to touch the water pitcher without washing his hands. In the next house where the cousin brother of my father lying dead outside in the courtyard. A stick was lying by his side which means he had fought with the intruders for sometime. His wife was lying in the open kitchen and the two year old son was cut in two pieces in the middle and my father’s elder uncle was inside the house which was bolted from side when my father opened the latch of the door the old man only said there was a loud noise outside.