Historical texts sometimes miss out mentioning certain real heroes. However, when we get to know about them, we must remember their contribution and services that they have provided for the society. Ishtiaq Ahmed’s “The Punjab: Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed” is one such source which accounts those unsung heroes who had served people threatening their own lives.
These are not the people who might have an idea of becoming historic figures some time. Because whatever the work they did were during crisis like situation where there were chances of losing their own lives. Despite that, they dared to do their service for humanity.
It was the time of partition. People from both the territories had to be displaced. According to some estimates, around 17 million people were displaced and 1 million were killed. Communal violence had started. Hindus and Muslims were killing each other. Mutually they were not leaving anyone from other religion. The situation could be visualized through the movies like Garam Hawa where friends from different religions themselves become enemies against each other and kill mutually. Even in such horrifying situations, these heroes tried saving the lives of victims. Many a times, they were not identified or stayed anonymous. However, their contributions are still alive. Here are some accounts of such great personalities.
- Doctors of Amritsar:
Amritsar was one of the epicenters of violence during partition as it is one of the major towns near to the border. The mobs were not letting even the hospitals. When a Hindu – Sikh mob tried to attack Muslim patients in Amritsar hospital,DrPurushottamDutt and his brother, DrNarain Das, took out their guns and confronted the assailants. As per the eye witnesses, the doctors dared to say the mobs that they will not be able to touch the Muslim patients until they are alive and they have bullets in their guns. Apparently mob had to return without killing anybody.
2. Bawa Ghanshyam
He stood by his name. Ghan refers to solid and Bawa Ghanshyam stood like a rock to protect hundreds of Muslims from Hindu – Sikh mobs, risking his own life.
3. Police officer Trilok Nath
There were rumors of Hindu – Sikh mob attacking Muslims at the mosque. The station head officer, Trilok Nath had deployed Muslim guards outside the mosque so that the people inside will be protected. Nath did this despite many other officers and subordinates of his own religion had parted against Muslims.
4. Swami Saroopanandji of Narela:
He was instrumental in saving hundreds of Muslim peasants in Delhi. He made his ashram as a shelter for Muslim refugees and ensured that they reached their relatives’ houses on the other bank of Yamuna. He also worked hard in rehabilitating back to their own lands after the riots had come down.
5.Tapiala peace committee:
This was a case where the whole village joined together to save minority Hindus and Sikhs. Tapiala, a village located in Sheikhupura district of Lahore had Muslim population in majority. Considering the probable harm that may be caused by mobs of other adjacent villages, the village residents decided to form a peace committee to protect the Hindus and Sikhs.
6.Sunil Dutt’s savior Yakub:
Sunil Dutt belonged to Khurd, near Jhelum town in the present Pakistan. Sunil Dutt was brought up by his uncle, who resisted to leave during partition. However, with increasing violence, Sunil Dutt and his uncle were compelled to evacuate and they took rescue in his friend Yakub’s place. Yakub and his brother fought with Muslim mobs to save Sunil Dutt and his uncle.
7.Godly Harijan Baba:
Harijan baba is the man who was the God for those thousands of women who were abducted. They were rescued and secretly returned to their homes by Harijan baba, whom they named so. However, his original name remained secret as he was not found later on.
Likewise, there were many people who served humanity with their selfless efforts. Remembering their contribution is important because they risked their lives and cared for lives than religions or castes. A big salute to those pure souls.