Friday, July 03, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday #51: Chapter 44 - Kinaaraa


Some stories are the same in any language.
"Who were those men?", she asked later, "And why would they want to kill us?"
"Most probably raiders from one side of the border or the other." Arjun speculated.
"Border? Which border?"
Head cocked, he regarded her momentarily before answering. Could she really not know?
"The India-Pakistan border"
"Pak-ee...stan?" she said quizzically. "Where is Pak-ee...stan?"

Notes:
kinaaraa: border

From the maybe you know it, maybe you don't file:
The nation we know as Pakistan didn't exist until 1947 when the British relinquished control of India. The partition was probably not the choice of the vast majority, but was a non-negotiable point between very vocal and powerful minorities on both sides. The British, significantly weakened both economically and militarily by the Second World War and facing growing hostility from the indigenous people of India, were anxious to quit the country. As a consequence the last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten has been accused of rushing the arrangements and failing to consider or make provision for several eventualities that proved disastrous later. Apparently, the Crown didn't anticipate large population movements from one side of the border to the other, though how this could be overlooked is a mystery given the primary motivation for Partition. Some 12.5 million or more people started the day on one side of the border and finished it on the other before the resettling was complete. In the process communal violence claimed as many as a million lives (estimates vary widely from "several hundred thousand" to "approximately one million".) The State of Punjab was the epicenter for much of this violence and was itself split across the border with part of the former province falling on each side of the "Radcliffe Line" (named for Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the British chairman of the Boundary Commission that settled the lines of demarcation in Punjab). By the time the India Independence Act took effect on 14 and 15 August 1947, the British had all but evacuated the subcontinent, leaving a power vacuum that sucked both countries into the first of four wars by the end of October. In the interim, bands of marauders routinely attacked refugee convoys heading from one side of the border to the other stealing from, killing, and in many cases kidnapping the women of their perceived enemies. These women were doubly doomed, since even escaping from their captors often left them with no options. Many families and communities considered them "dead" once they were taken, and only the lucky few were ever repatriated even if freed.


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8 comments:

G-Man said...

Mojo...
You crack me up son!
Your footnote was longer than most term papers.
BUT....Thank you for clarifying that potential anachronism!!

Thanks for playing, thanks for visiting, and have a GREAT holiday.
Galen

Mona said...

they reached the border??? I thought they had to go in opposite direction if they were to reach Delhi!

Shadow said...

a bit off the track she wanted to be on???

Klaatu said...

regarding the notes:
The more things change, the more they stay the same, or, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Jadey said...

MOJO I always look forward to your 55 great post. Happy 4th. My 55 is up.

Fandango said...

we dragons used to fly over Pakistan but not any more, too many missiles.
Great 55 as ususal

Our 55 is posted.

Dr.John said...

Thanks! A good story, a language lesson, and a little history all in one.

Eaton Bennett said...

I must catch up...how did they get there? I missed a week or two Mojo
and look where you have them. :))