Tales Of Two Cities
||Kuldip Nayar and Asif Noorani
Partition of the subcontinent still stirs up controversies, arguments and much soul-searching. In Pakistan, Sir Cyril Radcliffe is often seen as the ‘villain’ who did great injustice to Pakistan at Mountbatten’s behest. Kuldip Nayar surprises readers by recounting his meeting with Radcliffe in London in 1971 in which the man entrusted to divide the subcontinent confessed that he did not even visit the areas he was supposed to demarcate.
Tales of Two Cities offers two more perspectives on the partition, which are valuable in their honesty and individuality,and 61 years later are still extremely relevant, since the Partition and the subsequent chaos will remain prominent in the national consciousness of both countries for a long time to come.
-Herald November 2008 issue
"In telling their stories, Nayar and Noorani make a strong case for bringing down barriers of hostility and mistrust. The Cross Border Talks series is a commendable contribution towards creating better understanding between the two neighbours. There are many stories still to be told and one hope the publishers will take this project further."
Zohra Yusuf in DAWN of October 26, 2008
'On 3 September 1950 we left for the Princess Dock and boarded the Scindia Steamship Company's S.S. Sabarmati. My maternal grandfather ... was shattered. My mother, the elder of his two daughters, was a pillar of strength to him, and here she was grief-stricken on board a ship, which was to take her, her husband and their kids to an unknown destination. ... As for me, the voyage was exciting. It was the end of a long struggle to get the elusive no objection certificate and the permit to go to Pakistan.'
'It was great to be alive. There was still daylight. As I looked out,
relieved and happy, I saw people walking in the opposite direction. They were Muslims. I saw the same pain etched on their faces. They trudged along with their belongings bundled on their heads and their frightened children trailing behind. They too had left behind their home and hearth, friends and hopes. They too had been broken on the wrack of history. A caravan from our side was going to Pakistan. We stopped to make way for them. They too stopped. But no one spoke. We looked at one another with sympathy, not fear. A strange understanding cropped up between us. It was a spontaneous kinship, of hurt, loss and helplessness. Both were refugees.
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