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Three partition stories: An ending saga of pain and sufferings
The stories, plays and films by various writers bring alive the sad historical facts of Indian partition and highlight the problems of communalism and pseudo-secularism present in our society. Saeed Mirza's play Naseem, Mahesh Dattani's Final solution and Asghar Wajahat's Jis Lahore Nahin Dekhya highlight the plight of people caused by partition of sub-continent and their endless saga of pain and sufferings.

WHAT HISTORY has done cannot be undone. One of the sad historical facts is the India’s partition and not a surprise, it inspired many creative minds to write plays, stories and make films over the last few decades. The three plays of Asghar Wajahat, Mahesh Dattani and Saeed Mirza, written on Partition, two of them staged and one made into a film, highlight the tragic circumstances, which caused the plight of the people. More than this, the plays have shown how partition dehumanized people in both the countries. The plays are an unending story of pain and sufferings, both physical and mental.


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Wajahat being an Indian writer, a professor of Hindi at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in his story unfolds a spectrum of views about the partition, religion, geographical divisions and attitudes. The play may be seventy-years-old, but looks fresh and relevant even today. It transcends the geographical, cultural and linguistic barriers. Set in Lahore, this play showed people living there in poor light. The high-handed and innately selfish and fake fundamentalism of the Yaqoob Pahalwan, the simplistic indoctrinated understanding  of Islam by Aleem Chaiwala, cracking the stereotypical image of a Maulvi, are all exhibited against the backdrop of the antagonism of the Mirza family and Maee from the very opening scene.


Sikander Mirza’s initial belligerence towards Maee, in order to fulfil his duty to settle a young family in a new place and give them a room is portrayed with an equal brilliance as is the maternal instinct, an affection and Nasir Kazmi’s warm and poetic philosophy are highlighted. From the cultural and artistic viewpoint, it was outstanding. The brilliant script and sincere performances strike a chord somewhere. Mirza and his wife, son and daughter migrate from India to Lahore. They are allotted a haveli, which once belonged to a Hindu Jeweller family which fled. Much relieved, they shift in only to find that an old lady, Ratan Ki Maa, is still staying there. The Mirza family tries various ways to get rid of her but their conscience does not allow them to get her killed. Yaqoob Pahalwan tries to create trouble under the garb of religion, but his real intention is to swindle the old woman’s hidden wealth. The play ends with some famous dialogues resonating in our ears: Pooja hi ibadat hai, aur ibadat hi pooja’ and ‘Tum zameen pe logon ka khyal rakho, asmaan mein woh tumhara khayal rakhega.” The play reeks with potential. Habib Tanvir is the veteran theatre personality and his staging of Wajahat’s Jis Lahore Nahin Dekhya is considered as one of the most telling comments on partition and its aftermath. The phenomenal response to his staging of the play is quite thrilling.


Mirza’s story, Naseem, was made into a Hindi film, which was later made into an English film, The Morning Breeze, marked a turning point in the Hindu-Muslim dynamics in India as it was centred upon the Babri Masjid demolition of of 1992. Naseem means ‘morning breeze’, and charts the story of a young school-going girl Naseem in the months leading up to the demolition of the historical mosque by Hindu extremists, led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1992. It is a story of nostalgic reflection of a little girl who shares deep and loving bond with his grandfather. The old man represents the era of communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims in India as he fondly recalls the story of the times, he spent in pre-independent Agra. But as communal tension erupts in the city of Bombay, Naseem got increasingly confused by changing scenario at her school as well as in the neighbourhood, while her grandfather appears to be a silent and helpless spectator among other people in the locality who got deeply divided over the Babri Masjid issue. The film ends with the grandfather breathing his last on the day of demolition of Masjid.


Dattani’s Final Solutions is a little more complicated in presenting a mosaic of diverse attitudes towards religious identity that often plunges the country into inhuman strife. The term ‘Final Solution’ was used by the Nazis when they used it to refer to their plan to annihilate Jews. The ironical title of the play makes Dattani’s intentions clear as it probes into the religious bigotry by examining the attitudes of three generations of a middle-class Gujrati business family. Hardika, the grandmother, is obsessed with her father's murder during the partition turmoil and the betrayal by a Muslim friend, Zarine. Her son, Ramnik Gandhi, is haunted by the knowledge; his fortunes were founded on a shop of Zarine's father, which was burnt down by his kinsmen. The play becomes a timely reminder of the conflicts raging not only in India but in other parts of the world.

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