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There's no one left of our kind


In his autobiography Punjabi Century 1857-1947 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1961), the late scholar and neuroscientist Prakash Lal Tandon wrote about his Punjabi family's three generations that spanned from Maharaja Ranjit Singh's era to 1947.

Book provides fascinating details about the rise of the Punjabi Khatris during the British rule of Punjab; their origins from Bhera, West Punjab to the expansion of their businesses across Punjab, their lifestyle in Lahore, and the abrupt end of his family's West Punjabi links in 1947.

Excerpt:

Today we have no one left in West Punjab. All the Hindus came away at partition. It is strange to think that in all the land between Ravi and Chenab, from Chenab to Jhelum, from Jhelum to Indus, in the foothills and in the plain down to Panjnad, where the five rivers eventually merge, land which had been the homes of our biradris since the dawn of history, there is no one left of our kind.

Link to Book: http://bit.ly/2exFF6K

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I also found this article where Mr. Prakash Lal Tandon describes the events in 1947.

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One day, a train crammed with two thousand refugees came from the more predominantly Muslim areas of Jhelum and beyond. At Gujrat (West Punjab) station the train was stopped, and the Muslims from the neighborhood excited by the news of violence in East Punjab, began to attack and loot. There was indescribable carnage. Several hours later the train moved on, filled with a bloody mess of corpses, without a soul alive. At Amritsar, when the train with its load of dead arrived, they took revenge on a trainload of Muslim refugees. Six million Hindus and Sikhs from the West Punjab began to move in one dense mass towards safety, and from the east of the border a similar mass movement was under way in the opposite direction.

Muslim friends came to uncle late one night and said with tears in their eyes that they were unable to offer him protection any longer. The family must move at once, before dawn! Dwarka Prashad now saw it only too well that they had to go away, not for a few days, but for ever. He had in fact been expecting it since the day of the massacre at the station, but the problem had been how to get out; and it was then that he had sent the post-card.

His friends rushed to an Indian military evacuation convoy that had arrived the same evening, and brought a truck. They heaved a sigh of relief as uncle and his family, with two suitcases and a few blankets, drove away. On the Grand Trunk Road their truck joined an unending line of military and civil trucks and cars, bullock carts and tongas, people on horseback, and carried on shoulders. In its long history of over a thousand years this road had never seen such a migration.

As dawn was breaking, they caught the last view of Gujrat through the shisham trees by the road.

Partition changed the course of many lives which would otherwise have run in their familiar channels.

Link: http://wps.pearsoncustom.com/wps/media/objects/2427/2486120/chap_assets/documents/doc32_4.html


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