Amused, 7 year old Om ran from one room to another. Quranic Aayet’s painted on walls in Urdu and Persian, had more decorative value for Om than religious depth. He had just shifted to this mansion like house, Ishmael, from nearby slum. Shaukat had named this house after Abraham’s aide who built Kaba. It was a gift for Pandit Ramakant and his family from newly born nation, which promised its citizens a bright future and fair governance. Shaukat Aziiz and his family had left behind a long trail of prosperity. Shaukat’s father had built this house in Purani Delhi amongst a rich muslim neighbourhood.

Ishmael, boasted of rich muslim architecture. This house had luxurious cushioned flooring with beautiful chandelier’s decorating roof, main entrance of house had a huge painting of Kaba and green curtains justified its name. Stack of Sajda tumbled out of the cupboard as Om opened one in playful mood. He enjoyed himself rolling on Sajda.

Pandit Ramakant, a devout Brahmin, ensured he himself sprinkled Ganga jal in each and every room before they cooked first meal in new abode. House was fumigated with Gugal, a rasin extracted from Mukul myrrh tree, known for its purifying values. A small temple was set in room having ayets from Holy Quran. While the process of purifying house went ahead and pandit ji chanted Mahamrityunjay Mantra a gramophone in neighbourhood played Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas mein bair rakhana.

Birth of twins with a day’s difference had marked the movement of entire neighbourhood to Pakistan. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world slept, movement of Muslims and Hindus from either sides of border started. Movement from mother land to surrogate motherland held no promises, but hope. Shaukat and pandit Ji, had fought for independence of this nation together. Now defying motherhood Shaukats motherland had asked him to leave it, fend for himself.

Shaukat along with his wife Nazira and daughter Amina, loaded on a bullock cart what ever they could load on it. Shaukat held his tears back as the house merged with horizon.

Shaukat never fought for this kind of Independence. Gandhis tricolour was no longer to be held in his hands. Crescent moon and a star on green and white background was his new identity. Where to go in Pakistan was not known. He had moved against his cousin’s advice who lived in Lucknow. Shaukat knew Pandit Ji will take good care of his house and will return it when he returned back once every thing normalised.

Pictures of blood soaked bodies piled up in trains crisscrossing at Attari shocked country men. Shaukat and Pandit Ji prayed for Shaukats safe journey from Delhi to Lahore. Humans were packed like cattle in the train. As train rolled past Fateh Garh Sahib, where Sahibzadaz were entombed alive by Wazir Khan, a crowd of Sikhs and Hindus attacked the train.

Amina lost her virginity to this attack. Sobbing, was all what this family could do as the train came to a halt at Amritsar. Shaukat had already paid much more for independence than he had bargained for. He contemplated his next moves as he combed his red beard with rugged fingers.

Amina watched rising sun, from behind Darbar Sahib, in disbelief, as she just waited for death for honour. Priest at Gurudwara invoked Goddess Bhagwati and narrated holy creations of more than 1000 saints, differentiating nothing on basis of religion. Amina should not have lived till this morning, a raped woman should not be left alive. Amina thanked god for her luck that none from her community were around, she was spared from another series of rape before being killed.

Shaukat had managed to occupy a sprawling bungalow in heart of Lahore. It was earlier occupied by a Hindu family, they either had shifted from Lahore to India or were killed. Images of Krishna romancing Gopikas occupied every room. Suicide by Amina and slilence of Shaukats wife had left him all alone. Sitting on window sill, Shaukat spoke either to Krishana and Gopikas or the trees outside.

Partition of the country had been incomplete, hearts of people were not divided, nor were the Gods, Nankana Sahib did not shift to India nor did River Indus, on whose banks Vedas were written flow in reverse direction. Khwaja Moinudeen Chistis tomb remained in India.

For Shaukat, heart and soul had not been partitioned, but body was. For Shaukat Independence was incomplete, for Amina, it had no meaning.


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