That is a big question mark Rabba Hun Kee Kariye does not answer. Nor does it intend to answer. But it does shake our morality when we are drawn on religious fronts of hate.
Rabba Hun Kee Kariye is a documentary on bloody mayhem following the partition of India in 1947. “It constitutes a vital link in the chain of Partition memories.” In doing so, the film creates a pictorial monument of genocidal killing, which cannot be blacked out either by time or by society.
Vancouver-based UBC scholar and documentary filmmaker Ajay Bhardwaj presents a powerful and compelling presentation about the horrors and dreadful count of mass killings inflicted through religious vengeance.
Earnestly crafted by Bhardwaj, the 65-minute documentary in Punjabi, with subtitles in English, is a captivating presentation of interviews scripting the brutal chapter of recent Punjab history after the partition.
Bhardwaj’s camera roams the fields and streets of the Indian side of Punjab, in its Ludhiana, Bathinda, Patiala, and Malerkotla districts. It instinctively captures the insanity of humankind in its indiscriminate but sudden eruption of hatred against fellow human beings.
The gripping narrations by aging witnesses in the documentary bring a vivid portrait of hate which the fanatic murderers of ‘47 often boasted with some pride in the slaughter of those who are different by their religion only.
The film besides presenting the dreadful carnage through the eyes of the witnesses earnestly seeks the commonalities which bind the people together. In this exploration emerges a sense of “guilt and remorse.” It is a feeling of consciousness which “they expressed in a language that is distinctly their own, in their unique tradition/cultural specific ways — a language often ignored by the portals of academia. Yet this seems the most powerful organic response of Punjabi people against the genocide of 1947as also the silence of the state”, as Bhardwaj observed in filming the documentary.
Religions might be different in their names, but all of them have the same bottom-line of universal brotherhood. Poet-philosopher Mohammad Iqbal says “Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna… (religion does not teach hatred among us).
Sharing the same culture, same language, same skin color and looks, same music, and the same literary heritage have been beautifully laced together by popular Punjab singer Puran Shahkoti in his explanations as well as musical presentations in Rabba Hun Kee Kariye.
Then why this sudden butchery by fellow neighbors living side by side for generations. And despite all that oneness, it happened.
– Promod Puri (promodpuri.com)
(The above picture is of Prof. Karan Singh Chouhan, a retired linguistic scholar who was one of the interviewees, and who witnessed the 1947 communal riots).