Forced Migration

Around 12 million migrated during the Partition of 1947. Roughly, 6 million had to leave Pakistan and 6 million had to leave India. Most of the migration happened within Punjab – that was once undivided. (The numbers vary according to different sources).

That wasn’t a happy migration.

The painful stories are part of our literature. Those tragedies lived for decades. Pick any Urdu writer and you will find the stories of painful migration. Manto, Shahab, Mumtaz Mufti, Ismat Chughtai, Intizar Hussain (my favorite short story writer), Ashfaq Ahmad, etc. all wrote in bits and pieces about the lost world.

Boota from Toba Tek Singh was not a Boota from Toba Tek Singh as he remembered but as you read in the story.

Apart from literature, there have been movies and dramas on sad stories of migration. An Indian movie titled ‘Garam Hawa’ (1974) captured the trauma in a very painful way.

Remember. Even when Prophet Muhammad PBUH had to migrate from his home city Mecca to Medina, He experienced sadness. He longed for his home in Mecca.

Today, we are seeing two tragedies. One is more painful for us than the other because of our bias.

People of Gaza are being forced to leave their homes. They are being killed. Their homes are being destroyed. Their entire neighborhoods have been bombed out, along with hospitals.

Thousands are dead and thousands are wounded. Even the memories of homes and streets and markets are being erased by Israel.

The other tragedy is of forced deportation of 1.7 million Afghans. They are being thrown out. They can’t carry cash more than Rs.50,000 to Afghanistan. They are selling their homes at cheaper prices as the deadline has already passed. Their businesses are being taken over at throwaway rates by their Pakistani facilitators.

Even those who lived here for two, three or even four decades are being deported. Their memories are being taken over. Their schools are no longer their schools. Their homes are no longer their homes.

After living as a second class citizens here in Pakistan, they are being displaced. To a land where no one wants to live under the Talibans.

If you compare the two, 0.7 million Gazans are suffering compared to 1.7 million Afghans. A million more. Obviously, the modes are different – as one is violent and the other one is physically enforced – but the sufferings are after all, inhumane.

Such are the tragic times. There are more tragedies too but these two are at a massive scale with millions involved. Condemn both with whatever mode of condemnation you can afford.


Author: SakiNama

His Highness

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