M Ghazali Khan | Clarion India
IN my childhood days, there was a rumour in my hometown, Deoband, that Late Haji Mastan had approached the authorities of Darul Uloom Deoband for permission to shoot some scenes in the world-known Islamic seminary for a film he was planning to make. The film’s story was said to revolve around a Hindu lady in pre-partition India who adopts a Muslim boy and brings him up with her son of the same age.
After the tragedy of the partition in 1947, the Muslim boy migrates to Pakistan. The two brothers join the Pakistani and Indian air forces as pilots. In the 1965 Indo-Pak war, they face each other in a dogfight in which their aircrafts crash and both of them die. In the last scene, the mother was stated to be hugging the dead bodies of her two sons on each of her shoulders.
I was reminded of this rumour and this story after listening to the real story told in this V-blog of Lt Gen (R) Amjad Shoaib of Pakistan. He describes how Sahibzada Yaqub Khan, who later became Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, was injured by his elder brother Yunus Khan while defending their countries. (Watch the clip from 9:20-11:9 https://youtu.be/MR8g6lYKQb0)
Sahibzada Yaqub Khan was born in Rampur in the Nawab family (Gen Shoaib confuses the Nawabs of Rampur with the Nawab of Pataudi). He and his elder brother Yunus Khan had joined the British army in pre-partition days. When partition happened, Yaqub Khan joined the Pakistani and Yunus Khan, the Indian armies. In the 1948 Indo-Pak war, the brothers came face to face leading their battalions as majors on the Kashmir border, and Yunus Khan fired at and injured Yaqub Khan. When he realised that the soldier he had injured was none other than his own brother he shouted: ‘Don’t grieve Chotey. We are soldiers and we did our duty.’ When Colonel Maneckshaw, who retired as Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army, learnt about the incident, he commended Yunus Khan and also said sorry for his brother. The two brothers met in Calcutta after 36 years at the wedding of Yaqub Khan. They hugged each other and wept.
What it also shows, which the hard and soft-Hindutva elements fail to see, is that the love of Indian Muslims for their motherland is in no way less than all the ill-informed Hindutva goons. They fail to understand that Indian Muslims were neither the ‘enemies within’ in 1947 nor are they today. These goons need to realise that they are serving neither their religion nor the country by creating and intensifying the venomous and destructive atmosphere. Which idiot in the world can imagine himself to be safe when his neighbour’s house is on fire?
In 1947 Indian Muslims were deprived of not only leadership but also educated members of the community, as the clip shows. Their extended families got divided. There are still relatives on both sides of the border who have not seen each other for years and are desperate to see their loved ones at least one last time. Even those born in US and UK with nationalities of these countries but parents of Indian and Pakistani origin face unnecessary bureaucratic difficulties in getting visas to go and see their grandparents in India. Late Syed Shahabuddin used to refer to Indian Muslims as the ‘casualties of partition.’