He could never go back to his place of birth, the home of his childhood and youth years in the racial-mixed company of his friends: Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.
Mr. Kundan Lal Bakshi always wished and prayed to visit, at least once, the warm and friendly town of Kotli in Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir. To roam its streets, speak his mother tongue, Mirpuri, freely, and get the nostalgic feel of the neighbourhood where he grew up.
The family moved to Jammu, and so did Mr. Bakshi during the horrific and deadly communal riots of 1947. The existing Line of Control bars the region’s citizens from crossing the other side from where they got uprooted just in a matter of days and hours.
A simple folk with jolly good nature, Mr. Bakshi spent the rest of his life in the city that gave shelter and a new beginning to most refugees from the region once part of the State of Jammu And Kashmir.
The religious divide of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 gave rise to two nations, but it crushed humanity in genocidal and brutal waves.
What do people on both sides of the divide get? A never-ending hostility.
Mr. Bakshi, who died in 2021 in Jammu, was caught in hostility between the two neighbouring nations. He lived a long life till the age of 103 years.
Perhaps he waited for the opportunity that one day he would see the place of his childhood again. But it never happened.
The family immersed his body’s ashes as per Hindu customs in the flow of the mighty river Chenab in Akhnoor, a small border town near Jammu.
It was Mr. Bakshi’s sentimental wish that let mother nature carry his ashes through the waters of Chenab entering Pakistan, the land of his birth and home of his ancestors for generations.
It’s true how partition has broken hearts and souls, bruise suffered and uprooted many among us whose parents moved places and shores. Thanks for writing about Bakshi ji beautifully.
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Thanks for your comment. It was a nostalgic as well as the sentimental reason for Mr. Bakshi, a
maternal uncle Mamaji) of my wife, to visit his birthplace. There are not many like him left on both sides of the border. The stupid decision of partition was indeed heavy on humanity.