A Nightmare of 1947

Navni Tandon | 15-Feb-2017

New Delhi, 1977

The Journalist talking on a TV show:  At the time when the destiny of two countries was being written, when violence was a daily scene when politics was seeing a lot of jerks and jolts when India was going through a World War like disastrous period, three friends were weaving their own dreams. But unfortunately, one of them was murdered brutally. In his memory, the other two friends came up with the idea to restart their business, but with the name of their late friend “Shahid”. Now, after 30 years, their business is flourishing far and wide, in the nation as well as in abroad.

A Nightmare of 1947

Image courtesy- nytimes.com

(Daljeet Singh and Krishnanandan are being interviewed by a TV Journalist. They are some of those people who had seen the pain and the tragic mass massacre during the time of partition of India. Both of them are sitting calmly and a feeling of satisfaction can be gauged from their faces.)

Journalist: Mr Daljeet and Mr Krishnanandan, first of all, congratulations to you for the progress of Shahid Industries. And welcome to our show. Sir (with a pause), our audience wants to know what led you to restart this business with your late friend’s name.

Daljeet:  when the fire of revenge and hate was destroying everything around us, a dim light of hope, positivity, and humanity was kindled in our hearts.(he tells this with a calm tone and serene look on his face)

Krishnanandan: and that light led us to help the family of Shahid. His family refused to take financial help, but they proposed to set the business again under Shahid’s name. Eventually, this business broke all the hurdles that came in the way – including the religious obstructions, the national as well as international claims.

Journalist: Ok, so from where does this story begin?  If both of you are comfortable, can we talk about your past, how you guys went through that struggle and what all happened at that time?(has a very inquisitive look on her face, as if she wants to know it all in one go)

Daljeet: yes sure(with a smile), it’s an open platform after all. Though, the short film prepared for our life story will reveal what all we went through. Here, we would like to discuss only the general issues. (Though he smiles, but does not want to show the hidden feelings. He knew that if he would speak about it much, it would make him cry, so he just turned the topic to the other side.)

Krishnanandan: And we would like to tell the essence of the story here, which revolves around Shahid.

Journalist: Then please carry on sir. The entire nation is listening to you.(Enthusiastic about this interview, she is pleased to have these two men on her show and she shows complete support to them and to what they did for friendship). Please pour the honey of love, humanity, the fraternity on the deaf ears of politicians, governments and tell the people of all the nations that true friendship transcends all boundaries.

(a long pause)

Daljeet: This story reminds us of a simple fact of life, that we need to take action against injustice. If we choose to remain silent on it, then we are creating a bad deed. Instead, we ought to create such circumstances within these trying times, which will put an end to the destructive activities of everybody.(he keeps on talking like an expert on the subject of life). We need to hold on(a little pause), ponder over what has been going on(pause), leave the mind blank for some time and then (a little pause) automatically some solutions will come to the mind. Take action(with stress) based on those ideas that lead to winning hearts and minds of people. Do not go on the way that will destroy the relationships which had once held your head high, even in the most trying times. (stresses the point, with his hands also moving in the manner as if telling like a strict teacher.)

Journalist: That is so true (smilingly and confidently).

Krishnanandan: Putting a stop to the destructive activities can be done in many ways, depending on the time and circumstances. Try to win over yourself and the situation will change with the change in you. If we raise our voice against injustice in any form, it will always help us. Encourage your people to do some act of charity, not for showing off, but to turn the circumstances for the better, for the good of the people. Help those who are in need and who have been affected by the destructive acts of the inhuman people. Take initiative to fight those who have harmed the people. It is not necessary to fight with the sword in hand physically. Of course, arms are required when it is really necessary, but, there is yet another and important way to resolve even the toughest problems. (all this is said with a spark in his eyes, but with a hope that everybody will understand, at least some part of what he is saying.)

That sword of non-violence can never be denied and its power cannot be challenged. Even those who wish to destroy the society, claim rights over every petty materialistic thing and are inhuman, they are stunned to see the power of positivity, Peace, generosity, piousness and compassion. They become powerless, once the positive energies arrive to protect people from the evil minded people. (he says this with a firm resolve in his mind).

Daljeet: That’s what we want to say. The only thing required to put a daring fight against the evil act is(a little pause) – have a courage and the determination not to bow down in front of them. If you bend, it should only be to pretend that you are losing the battle. Surprise them by a sudden movement and cutting through the darkest phase, destroy the destroyer. Use every weapon that you can use to cut the dark curtain of evil. Bring in the light of hope and compassion, peace and prosperity. A great man has said, light enters through, where there is a crack. I don’t remember, who said this, but this is what I personally have implied in life.

Journalist: Alright, we had a lively discussion.  Thank you, Mr Daljeet and thank you Mr Krishnanandan. Now we will see the actual story, in the form of a short film, base on the life of Mr Daljeet Singh, Mr Krishnanandan, and Late Mr Shahid Jamaal.

(Both Daljeet and Krishnanandan feel proud and are cheerful to share their experience with such large audience through TV

Place- Banaras - inside a house.


Inside a house – three people sitting and making plans to join start a business of clothes. Shahid is from Peshawar, Daljeet Singh from Pathankot and KishnaNandan from Banaras. All of them decides which type of cloth is going to be sold at the Pathankot shop, where Daljeet will look after, and from there half of the material will be exported to Peshawar where Shahid will take care and sell it. 

KrishnaNandan has to handle the major work of collecting raw materials, getting is cleaned, getting it prepared and packed and send to Pathankot.

Where India’s independence was close, these three friends were dreaming of a good business, unknown of that fact that partition of India could wreak havoc on their dreams.

KrishnaNandan – boys, we have got a lot of work. Let us complete the packing today, both of you should leave by tomorrow evening so that our business can get a kick start.

Daljeet – alright, let’s have dinner.

They go to dine at a Dhaba, where lots of people have gathered. They are shouting slogans of “clear range Pakistan, lekar rahenge Pakistan”. These three friends are afraid, but not puzzled. They knew that Mohammad Ali Jinnah had refused to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan and wanted a separate sovereign nation “Pakistan” for the Musalmans. August 16, 1946, was the Direct Action day when over 5000 lives were lost due to this fight for the partition of India.

The very next day, Daljeet and Shahid left for Pathankot, taking with them the bundles of cloth that was prepared last night. They were happy for the growth and development that they were going to bring to the country with their business. But here, KrishnaNandan was afraid because of the terrific circumstances prevailing in the country. He was worried for the safety of his friends Daljeet and Shahid.

In the train – night- Daljeet and Shahid are sleeping. 

Suddenly a man appears, wakes up Shahid. As soon as he wakes up, Shahid is murdered. Daljeet sleeping on the next birth wakes up with a shock and see the blood around with Shahid’s throat slit. He finds himself in darkness, he in unable to move. He screams and cries bitterly for his murdered friend, but nobody comes to help. When he gets up from his birth to fetch help, he finds himself in a pool of blood and dead bodies lying all around him. In the whole coach, only he is left “alive”.

One year later -1947 -17th August

Daljeet and KrishnaNandan are mourning at the 1st death anniversary of Shahid. Outside, people are celebrating India’s independence. Daljeet gets up in a rage.

Daljeet – we won’t let this happen. Our innocent friend was murdered; thousands of our brethren were murdered for no reason. We must spread peace and fraternity in this nation and beyond this nation. We must complete the incomplete task of Shahid.

The year 1948 – the process of the reorganisation of the states on linguistic basis is undergoing. After a painful partition, India is going through turmoil. Daljeet and KrishnaNandan go to Peshawar to meet Shahid’s family and set up the business of clothes. His family does not accept the offer of financial help from them, but they agree to run the business in the name of Shahid.

Krishnanandan –We would love to see this place again and we would keep coming here to see you and support you. Don’t worry, nothing will go wrong.(KrishnaNandan tells Shahid’s family, he is confident, polite and compassionate in his tone. He holds the hands of Shahid’s mother lovingly.

Shahid’s mother is weeping, her voice trembling. She looks up at KrishnaNanadan with a smiling face and says – Betaji, I have lost one son, but I have got two more sons. We will run this business together and will strongly face all the challenges that come our way. ( and she burst into tears after saying that)

Shahid’s family has tears in their eyes, Daljeet also gets choked when they get up to leave for the Railway station. KrishnaNandan is calm. The Wind blows and a light sandstorm grows up with the wind that comes from Shahid’s family and the two friends Daljeet and Krishnananda. Nobody says anything, the silence of humans is filled up by the roar of the wind.

It is an imaginary short movie script. Context is Partition of India.

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About the Author
Navni Tandon
Navni Tandon is a professional writer. Navni previously worked as a Research Assistant for a project of Indian Council of Social Sciences and Research. Her paper entitled ?Human Trafficking in Rajasthan: Recent Surge and Administrative Loopholes? has been published in the book entitled ?Administrative Reforms and Good Governance".