A few days ago, i wandered into the back garden, and my thoughts wandered back to 1947. I wondered about the events that took place, acts of such ruthless treachery that even now the older generation shivered at the mere thought. I scooped up some soil in my hand, and thought, was this once covered by the blood of a Muslim?

Did these trees, which I meet regularly, witness acts of unspeakable evil?

My imagination took me to the past, and terrifying events unfolded before my eyes.

I wondered about my great-grandmother, who had only ever recounted the story of her migration to us once. I remembered that day as we all sat in a circle, as her eyes flickered in pain, her face creased with the fear she had suppressed for so long but which had now taken hold of her once again. More than once she stopped, reliving the past, refusing to tell us some of the Sikh attacks she had endured. Her eyes welled us as she recounted the images of infants being torn into two pieces in front of her eyes. She told us that in the refugee camps other women urged her to suffocate her two-month-old child, the child that grew up to be my Grandfather. She was knew that in the event of the Sikh getting hold of her child, it would not survive. And she had another two year old as well. She smiled as she recalled a particular woman who helped her to carry her children barefoot, to Pakistan. On reaching Pakistan they found a place to live – a house of a Sikh who was about to marry of his daughter. The Sikh had fled, but the entire house was filled with her Jahez. To this day the two beds in her room are from that house.

I then remembered another particular morning, when i had been visiting my maternal grandparents. I had my breakfast with my Grandfather and  my sister while every one else slept. My Grandfather began telling us his story. As my sister hastened to write everything down, I simply listened as he remembered that the river Bias, which was near his village, had turned red, like the colour of the blood of the innocents it held. He remembered that his mother, a bold woman who could go from Burj to Ludhiana alone on horse back, was such an excellent swimmer that she could cross the river Bias. He remembered as his elder two brothers carried him, then only a seven year old, and his younger brother on their shoulders. He had been told not to look down, but of course this was inevitable, and he saw dead bodies cover the earth as far as the eye could see. He recalled that he would scream in fear, and that no words could soothe him. He remembered the lorry which took them to a Muhajir Camp, a Refugee Camp. The journey was horrible. With practically nothing to eat, and because of disease and injuries, the over-crowded lorry soon had to face a number of deaths. But with the danger of the Sikh, they had no time to stop and bury the dead. They simply stopped, hid the body among some bushes, and continued. And when they did reach their beloved homeland, to them it was nothing less than heaven, despite their extreme poverty.

To me, this is what Pakistan is.These are the sacrifices our ancestors made. My Great Grandfather had one sister, and she actually lost her sanity after these traumatic experiences. Pakistan was made with the blood of our ancestors. Lets not waste it away…

That’s why this day means so much to us.