Violent times remembered

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In a presentation at the Socorro Public Library at 7 p.m. Oct. 9, New Mexico Tech professor Bhaskar Mujamdar and Sandy Qureshi will talk about the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

The Partition of India was the process of dividing the subcontinent along sectarian lines, which took place in 1947 as India gained its independence from the British Raj. The northern, predominantly Muslim sections of India became the nation of Pakistan, while the southern and majority Hindu section became the Republic of India.

Mujamdar and Qureshi will discuss the experiences of their families during one of the greatest migrations in history. Mujamdar's family, who are Hindus, chose to leave the part of India where they lived, as this area was to become part of Pakistan. Qureshi's husband's family, who were Muslims, chose to leave India and migrate to Pakistan.

In her novel "The Pakistani Bride," Bapshi Sidhwa describes the period this way:

"Tales of communal atrocities fanned skirmishes, unrest and panic. India was to be partitioned and that summer the anger and fear in people's minds exploded. Towns were automatically divided into communal sections. Muslim, Hindu, Sikh each rushed headlong for the locality representing his faith, to seek the dubious safety of strength in numbers. Isolated houses were ransacked and burned. The sky glowed at night from the fires. Is was as though the earth had become the sun, spreading its rays upward. Dismembered bodies of men, women, and even children, lay strewn on the roads."

The presentation includes a discussion about how the three countries — India, Pakistan and Bangladesh — are doing today. Fabrics and clothing from India and Pakistan will be on display.

This program is sponsored by the American Association of University Women and the Socorro Historical Society.