September, 2012

Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed writes about my films in Daily Times

Parts I, II  and III of ‘Sufism and the East Punjab Dalit assertion‘ by Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed, published in Daily Times. It talks extensively about my films.

This fact dawned upon me in a most powerful manner when I saw documentaries on this subject by an exceptionally talented and enlightened filmmaker, Ajay Bhardwaj (a Brahmin). His remarkable contribution comprises a trilogy: Kitte Mil Ve Mahi (where the twain shall meet); Rabba Hun Kee Kariye (thus departed our neighbours), and Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te (We shall meet at the festival of Baba Ratan).

Part I:

 By probing the Sufi connections of the social and cultural world of East Punjab Dalits, Ajay Bhardwaj has opened new vistas for us in West Punjab. After 65 years of a violent partition, we catch glimpses of the other part upholding the 1,000-year old common heritage.

Part II:

The final documentary in the trilogy on Sufism and the Dalits of East Punjab, Milange Babey Ratan De Mele Te (“We shall Meet at the Festival of Baba Ratan”) begins with the recitation of pantheistic Punjabi verses about God existing not outside the universe but in intimate communion with it; in such a worldview, man, woman and God become one.

Part III:

An Article for Viewpoint: ‘We didn’t know. Or didn’t we?’

An article for Viewpoint:

It seems as if everyone is a victim of the partition violence. No one asks the question, if that is so, then who are the perpetrators? There is a complete silence about it.

Read the complete piece:

An Opinion piece for The Hindu: The absence in Punjabiyat’s split universe

Nationalist politics and official patronage to a selective narrative of Partition have not succeeded in wiping out the memory of a composite pluralistic culture.

Read the complete article:

An article for EPW: Tales in search of listeners – Memoryscape in post-Partition Punjab

A recent article for Economic & Political Weekly.

The essay concerns two tales, narrated by two different people — one a Sikh and the other a Muslim — about the perpetrators of genocidal violence in east Punjab in 1947.


Book review for Biblio magazine: The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed by Ishtiaq Ahmed

Review of the book, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed by Ishtiaq Ahmed, for the Biblio magazine’s Jan-Feb 2012 issue.



Reflections from a viewer on ‘Rabba Hun Kee Kariye’

Reflections of Ashraf Sahib.

To me this documentary has given a voice to those hundreds of Thousands of people who lost their lives in the 1947 partition. Personally, I grew up in a family where I heard these stories first hand from my Gran. Of how she locked her home in Kartarpur and looked after the key to that house for several years with the intention of returning. Further, of how my Gran was privileged to be travelling in the only survived truck of three whilst the rest of her family was unfortunately in the other two trucks that were slaughtered on the way to Pakistan.

Read more →

The idea shift behind ‘Kitte Mil Ve Mahi’

A TRAVELOGUE IN HISTORY, MEMORY AND OBLIVION: Revisiting little traditions of the Punjab

In the beginning…the IDEA

That memory is also a great binding force, conserving the most humane of values of a given society doesn’t come naturally to mind in times of its rampant abuse. Perhaps each epoch renders certain memories invisible. Yet, they carry on, by turning into personal memories of individuals, collective memories of a village, a sacred tradition among the bards and musicians, and preserve themselves in a thousand different ways. That is what we would call the little traditions.

Read more →