To be uprooted, by a quirk of fate, through no fault of one’s own, but by a random roll of an invisible dice, can be devastating.
Truth is even as we celebrate India’s independence and embark on the celebration of Heritage week, there are millions who still reel under painful aftereffects of severance.
What does one do in these circumstances but cope,…yet the memories remain, and haunt…
What of them?
What do we do with these memories?
We grew up in Independent India, long after the three nations had been birthed
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Long after the horror of partition and migration had somewhat settled
And yet, our generation was probably the first generation offsprings of those who had to move from their roots to a new land…the first generation recipients of the visceral tales from our parents and grandparents.
In many ways we were and are shaped by their memories.
Their life stories told to us, is feel raw and real.
We bear the legacy of their severance.
This Heritage of Partition were reflected beautifully in two super films which I got to see quite by chance.
Maati , a Paoli Dam, Adil Hussain starrer, directed by Saibal Banerjee and Leena Gangopadhyay shows the protagonist go back to Bangladesh to the very house from where her grandfather had to leave with his children, one of whom was her father. Her grandmother refused to leave her roots and was subsequently murdered. She goes to visit her ancestral house with anguish and palpable hatred for those who currently occupy what used to be her family home.
In her mind her family was compelled to leave, not just the beautiful house but all that was their sense of home, the land, the people and the village.
She starts off with hatred towards the current occupants getting to enjoy the beautiful property which should have been rightfully her family’s
And yet as the movie unfolds,she sees fellow sufferers those who belonged to India who were also uprooted and had to settle there.
Those who miss their land on this side of the border just as much as she misses her land of that side…
Both sides adapting to a new life…
Way Back Home, made by award winning documentary film maker Supriyo Sen takes realism to an incredible level, moving the audience to tears with the real story of taking his parents to visit Bangladesh 50 years after they left it, in search of their “true homes”.
And yet so much had changed, that even after returning to their roots, they were still lost…
Moving moments indeed when the director’s father searches for his home and unable to find it anymore, he traces fragments of his childhood from visiting the college he studied in and other places of his earlier life.. Or his mother`s meeting with the children of a long forgotten cousin abandoned by the family for having married a Muslim.
Way Back Home is as lyrical in his making as real as it is in its content.
It is sheer poetry on screen!
Both these films speak about a lost legacy, torn asunder by the erection of borders thrown helter skelter by the uprooting. And yet the hallowed homeland so craved for, has also gone through so much that it is now unrecognizable
The essence of home remains rooted in precious memory.
Not all partitions come with borders.
Not all severance are so tangible
Some uprootings happen silently
Right in front of us, when life meanders to a different course, forcing you to walk a different path, sometimes without the cushion of a place to go back to.
Such uprootings are just as devastating.
You learn to adapt into a new way of life,, never ever forgetting where your roots are anchored.
And yet a new generation is born.
This generation whose parents were born and brought up in one of the theese three independent nations.
This generation has its roots entrenched firmly in one of these nations.
How will they look upon their adjacent nations?
With the birth of new generations, time will take history to new courses