Saturday, 11 October 2014

Story shared from my FB page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/MoodsGeeks-and-Freaks/1481103312141628

The Partition

Another burst of gunfire greeted the battalian. Both sides had been exchanging sporadic fire for the last ten days. No ceasefire in sight, the army command had deputed Major Rehamatullah and his troops to this freezing mountainous terrain to combat the enemy incursion.

Major Rehamatullah led his troops valiantly and succeeded in annihilating quite a few soldiers from the enemy side. All his men fought with perfect precision and coordination just like the cogs of a well-oiled machine. But the opponents were not novices either.....

Observing the direction of declining gunshots with his hawk eyes, the Major was sure that they had been able to cause major damage to the enemy. But then this sudden revival of shots worried him. He decided to go a little forward and see if the enemy had received some reinforcements. Instructing his friend and junior Captain Raman to hold the fort in his absence, he left the bunker.

Slithering stealthily, he moved forward inch-by-inch behind the thick forest cover. He had managed to cover just about half the distance between his troops and the presumed location of his foes, when he sensed something moving closeby. It could be an animal, but not one to ignore anything as insignificant, he turned to his left, pistol ready in hand to shoot.

In front of him lay the bleeding body of a soldier in army fatigue, but of the rival army. His first instinct was to aim and shoot but something inside prevented him. He crept closer but very cautiously lest it should be a trap. He turned the man on his back and checked his breath....he's alive. Captain Rajan Malhotra, read the badge on his chest.

Major Rehamatullah reflected much later.....He didn't know what had come over him but he took out his flask and sprinkled some water on the unconscious man's face. As he showed some sign of revival, Major opened his lips and poured a little whiskey down his throat. The Captain spluttered but opened his eyes in a few minutes.

The increasing roar of gunfire drowned his feeble voice but the Major caught a few words thanking him. The setting sun had dipped the temperature further. Major Rehamatullah tied his handkerchief on the bleeding arm of the Captain and offered him a chocolate, forgetting the boom of shots around them.

'You a Hindu?,' he asked a meaningless question.

The Captain nodded and added,'from Multan province.'

'Multan! Which village?' Major questioned him with a sudden glint in his eyes.

'Gujranwala', the Captain seemed to be gaining strength.

'Oh.....There was one Ashfaq Khan there, do you by any chance know him?'

'Why yes, my grandfather and he were neighbors......at the time of partition, he went to India with his entire family. My father Satpal was just like a son to him, he still remembers how he would play with Khan Chacha's son Rahim and even stay at their home the whole day.....he still rues the day the country was divided sowing permanent seeds of hatred, distrust and enmity between brothers, he has just one wish left now-to be able to meet Rahim Chacha once!..........he babbled on.
'But why are you asking? How come you know them?' The Captain queried.

'I am Rehamatullah, your Rahim Chacha's son!' Overwhelmed with a sudden gust of emotions, he hugged the Captain. He spoke on, unmindful of the purpose for venturing out of his bunker......
'Abbu is no more now, he died some years ago. But till his last day he kept hankering for one opportunity to visit his village and meet his childhood friend Satpal. On the way, grandmother and my father's brother were killed in an accident. On reaching India, grandfather and my father were given shelter by a Hindu family. Grandfather died soon afterwards and father was raised by his Hindu saviors.....as a devout Muslim.'

As darkness descended on them, the hateful guns fell silent slowly bowing down to the bone chilling cold. But nearby, two enemy hearts still beat loudly, warmed and united by the tales of mutual love and friendship that were going to outlast three generations, despite the cacophony of selfish political and religious divide.
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