Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ruins in towns of Northern India: Dilapidated structures tell tale of Muslim exodus from North India after partition

Ruins of a palatial house in Kakori in Lucknow
Where else can you find such ruins [khanD-har] but for Uttar Pradesh [UP]?.

Lakhs of Muslims left Uttar Pradesh in the aftermath of partition just like Hindus and Sikhs arrived from Pakistan.

Hundreds of towns [not the Cities but towns--those with population of 5,000 to 50,000 and even more] were ruined.

And nobody ever thought of preserving those 'havelis'. The architecture was not documented. Those who went often returned, looked at their ancestral houses and left. The generation that was born after 80s, even lost that emotional touch.

Many of the havelis were pulled down, occupied, altered. Nearly six decades after partition these ruins still dot the landscapes in most towns. Nostalgia fills those who return to their roots from US, Pakistan and other countries just to have a look at their dilapidated houses.

After all, few relatives are left. The new generation of people who were left here do not understand the relationship as well and aren't attached much. The same is true for second and third generation of muhajirs in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Inhabitants gone for ever: How long the pillars stand?
ug rahaa hai dar-o-diivaar pe sabzaa Ghalib
hum pardes meN haiN ghar par bahaar aaii hai

With tears in their eyes they return. The structures wait for their inhabitants but they were gone for ever.

Like a poet once said:

 'yeh to makaan hai jis mein qayaam hai yaaro/ghar to voh hai jise barsoN pahle chhoR aaye haiN'.

To understand the feeling, you may read the famous Nazm 'Muhajir-nama' written by Munawwar Rana in Roman, Urdu and Hindi scripts here