The entire country is in the grip of anger against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Protesters are out on the streets; some innocent lives have been lost in the frenzy. Who is at fault is a matter of investigation. CAA guarantees citizenship rights to a few select persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries. But it keeps Muslims out of its fold. The government gives its own logic to exclude them from CAA. Technically, it may be correct. But on humanitarian grounds, the Act seems to be harsh on one community. It is a fact that we are cut into different shapes by man-made sharp tools of caste, colour and religion. But two incidents during the ongoing protests have proved that human beings are basically peace-loving creatures, driven by strong feelings of love and camaraderie. In one incident, a Hindu formed a human chain with the help of his friends to escort the baraat of a Muslim woman. In another incident, a Sikh farmer donated his 16-marla plot for the construction of a mosque and a community centre for Muslim families living in his village in Punjab. What a gesture! These two humanitarian acts have come at a time when the forces of divisiveness are in full control. This clearly reflects that humans are basically emotional beings, who believe in the power of sharing and caring. They are simple and do not attach much significance to the religion and other attributes of others when it comes to extending a helping hand to their brothers and sisters. Many tales of Partition bear testimony to this fact.
I share such a story which was told to me by one of my uncles who was an eyewitness to the incident. It so happened that my uncle’s family decided to move to Ambala from Sargodha in Pakistan after Partition. A gang of Muslims got wind of their migration plan and decided to finish them off. When the headman of the village came to know about the sinister plan of the Muslim youths of his village, he provided full security to the family. He escorted them to the Wagah border. Before departing, the headman gave a promise to the family that he would take care of their property and animals.
My uncle told me that the headman kept his word. He sold off their property and animals. The money thus made was handed over to the family after 20 years of Partition. Before dying, he had instructed his son to hand over what belonged to my uncle’s family at any cost. His son made honest efforts to trace the family. Once he came to know about the whereabouts of the family, he personally paid them a visit and handed over the money.
The headman of Sargodha did it to keep the brotherhood between the Hindus and Muslims intact.
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