Reena Varma, a citizen of India, will be the only member of her family to have returned home since they fled just before the two countries’ separation; she will be travelling to Pakistan this week for the first time in 75 years.
“My dream came true,” she proclaimed, noting that her sister had passed away before she could fulfil her wish to go back to the house in Rawalpindi that they had left when Varma was 15 years old.
Shortly before India’s division in August 1947, the family of five siblings escaped to the state of Pune in western India.Varma was happy to attend Lahore once when she was a young woman, but she has never returned to Rawalpindi. Her parents and family passed away a while back. She experienced a flood of emotion when, after decades of trying to secure a visa, she finally crossed into Pakistan by road last week.
During a stay in Lahore, she recalled, “I got sentimental as I reached the Pakistan-India border and could see the signs for Pakistan and India.”
Now that my ancestral home is on the street in Rawalpindi, I am unsure of how I will feel.
After the subcontinent was divided in 1947, millions of people’s lives were upended, including Varma’s family.
Following a political upheaval that claimed more than a million people, a large-scale exodus marked by violence and murder occurred as around 15 million Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs fled their home nations out of fear of prejudice.
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and tensions between the two countries still exist. This is especially true because both countries claim the entire Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
On August 14, it will be 75 years since the partition of the two countries, which roughly divided the province of Punjab in half.