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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


Qais said...

Khoob kahi !!!

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

ya yun kahen.. Choar aaye hum wo galiyaan....

Anonymous said...
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Siyaah said...

Very interesting. I think there is potentially a lot of material for more in-depth research on this aspect in the small towns...

Surprisingly, it seems that this phenomena hasn't been well documented or reported...the larger well-known ruins attract most attention.

Diganta said...

Excellent. I saw similar houses in Bangladesh left by Hindu Zamiders.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Kya Faida,

When human life...

How do we know said...

I liked the Ghalib sher better. Maybe, if i go to my erstwhile house, now in Pakistan, I will also feel the same. At least the nice guys from Pakistan can come to see their ancestral property. Maine to 60 saalon mein ek baar dekha bhi nahi ki agar partition na karte, to mera ghar kahaan hota!

Sharique said...

But few of these historical monuments have been preserved too. See the Humayun’s Tomb post on by blog.

indscribe said...

Yaar, Humayun's Tomb is a royal structure. I am talking about the countless havelis and houses spread over towns in UP and parts of Bihar.

Raza Rumi said...

What a soulful post..
Just a minor correction for galib's verse - Hum dasht mein hain aur ghar mein bahar aye hai..
Jeetay raho

Anonymous said...

Behtereen sher. A minor comment; towns, music, earth, nature are universal to human history and not exclusive to a religion. Who knows who lived for thousands of years that passed before humans who called themselves muslims lived and left those towns? Who can say whose towns are those but of humans.

Asif Sultan said...

Ghalib ka sher kuch is tarah se hai,
"ug rahaa hai dar-o-diivaar se sabzah ;Gaalib
ham bayaabaa;N me;N hai;N aur ghar me;N bahaar aa))ii hai"

Pinku said...


lovely post full of nostalgia...

The Archaeological Survey of India has a tough time with the Taj so why even ponder about these ruins.

One thought haunts though some old havelis have been turned into lovely period hotels/museums in Rajasthan...cant something similar be done for these as well?

Anonymous said...

Mian sharique,
The Humanyoun Tomb is goverment prpoerty and it earns Dollar for us and economically viable .


Manju said...

I wonder what did people think when they voted for Pakistan? Did they really think, lot of good and good will is going to come out of it.

Muhammad said...

Asif Rajput,
My grandparents left a small village in nearby Jaipur called Singhana,for Pakistan during mistaken partition and settled in Hyderabad, Pakistan.
I do have a crave for that land. I really want to stand, walk, sit and lie down on that land one day.

Anyway, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, there are a lot of old houses which were left alone by Hindus, so anyone of them are their descendants want me to go there and get some pictures and email him or her please, email me here:

I am doing this because, I do want someone from Singhana nearby area to go there email me some pictures of the streets, houses and old buildings.

To me partition was a blunder and conspiracy of the west!
Had we been one India, we would have getting our treasure back to home from the plunders who invaded our mother land!

Asif Rajput