Paper abstract

Kamal Adhikary kamal at LINK.LANIC.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed Sep 17 16:00:24 UTC 1997

Dear colleagues:
	An abstract of the lecture :'LAHORE 1947 - EXPERIENCE OF 
PARTITION'  by  Pran Nevile, given on  September 12, 1997 at the Asian 
Studies, UT Austin, is given below:





Lahore, the gateway to the Indian sub-continent, had through the centuries
attracted trade caravans, plundering hordes and conquerors in search of 
wealth and power. A city ruled by Hindu kings, Mughal emperors and Sikh 
monarchs finally came under the British rule in 1849. British Raj brought 
in its wake an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. 

The city acquired the reputation of the Paris of the East. People of 
different communities lived in perfect harmony. The interplay of 
historical forces had made the Muslims of Punjab less fanatic and the 
Hindus and Sikhs less orthodox and ritual conscious than elsewhere in 
India. Three communities subscribed to a composite Punjabi culture. In 
the words of Dr.Prem Kirpal, a leading educationist: 


                       Old Lahore was gay and youthful,

                            moving easily with times,

                        earning well and spending more, 

                       receiving joy and shunning gloom 


                         Warm-hearted and vital people 

                         of diverse faiths and traditions, 

                           united in confident resolve 

                        to enjoy life and reach its peaks. 


>From 1920s the political scene in the Punjab was dominated by the 
Unionist Party with its ideology of inter-communal harmony and loyalty to 
the Raj. The Party stood outside the mainstream of either nationalism or 
Muslim separation but it was overtaken by the political developments in 
the rest of India which finally led to its collapse in 1946. The Muslim 
League with its demand of Pakistan, a separate homeland for the Muslims 
captured the scene. The British announcement of the decision to quit 
India by June 1948 had a disastrous effect on the situation in the
Punjab. Communal riots broke out in Lahore and spread even to rural areas.
There were signs of a full fledged civil war in the Punjab.

According to the British Plan of 3rd June 1947, it was decided to 
partition both Bengal and the Punjab and the date of transfer of power 
was advanced to 15th August, 1947. This led to an exodus of Hindus and 
Sikhs from Lahore after a spate of bloody riots with untold suffering. 
Muslims in the East Punjab suffered equally at the hands of Hindus and 
Sikhs and had to leave their homes. 

The Boundary Commission chaired by Sir C. Radcliffe gave its award and Lahore
went to Pakistan. From April - 1947 there was a concerted Muslim effort 
to burn the Hindus and Sikhs out of Lahore city. The riots left a legacy of 
hatred and mistrust and even the police force was communalised. 

I have vivid memories of those terrible days when my parents were stuck 
up in Lahore and there was looting and killing going on all over the 
Punjab. The Partition claimed at least a million lives, while another ten 
millions were uprooted from their ancestral homes. The extent and horror 
of slaughter and destruction represents the greatest human tragedy of the 

We Lahorias had to pay a very heavy price for the freedom of India. Apart 
from the loss of life and property we have to consider the psychological 
effects of the Partition on the people of two countries. We Lahorias are 
still groping for an identity and forced to make linguistic and social 
adjustments. It was a heart rending experience to leave Lahore, the home 
of our ancestors over the centuries, there was no one left now to look 
back to. Lahore had Eminent writers of both India and Pakistan. They have 
produced a vast amount of literature giving moving accounts of the human 
suffering that accompanied the Partition. My emotional ties to the city 
of my birth and upbringing have survived even after 50 years and
found expression in my book Lahore - A Sentimental Journey. 

                     -- PRAN NEVILE, September 12, 1997



The abstract has also been posted at:



Kamal R. Adhikary, Ph.D.
Asian Studies,UT, Austin
Email:kamal at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list