As Punjab’s cities transfigured into urban slaughterhouses in August 1947, Darji – dressed in army uniform – travelled from Lahore in a British army van to urge his parents and step-daughter to leave Jhelum. This was after he had facilitated his immediate family’s exit to the Indian side of the new border. Perceiving no danger, they refused.
Darji trusted the imam-sahib,” my grandfather said with regret.
When tensions intensified further, Darji’s father resolved to leave. He started loading the contents of his house onto a bullock cart, ready to make the cross-border journey. When the pir caught sight of him packing his bags, he shot him dead. Hearing the report of the gun, Darji’s mother came running out of the house. She too was killed. Fearing the step-sister would be kidnapped and raped, a close family friend pierced her belly with a spear. Dada explained that this elder did not want anyone to “misbehave with the daughter of Captain Doctor Jaswant Singh. He wanted to save the honour and dignity of the family...and he did not want her to be taken away by those people.”