“What will I gain from reliving those dark memories … barbariyat! There used to be love and care between us. I don’t know who started this fire.”
Sayyed and Mussarat Abrar are Pakistani Americans who migrated from Jalandhar, and Gurdaspur respectively in 1947. Neither of them have been able to visit since. Sayyed, now in his early 90s, had been studying in college at the time the riots began. He remembers watching from his dorm window as a Sikh man was pelted with stones on the street. The man ran away, and in 30 minutes brought back a mob of angered villagers – within hours, entire villages were in flames. Mussarat was younger, perhaps 15/16 at the time of the Great Divide. In order to escape the violence in her neighbourhood she jumped from the roof of her house into her neighbours backyard.