The writer, while mapping memories of Partition, unfolded a few of his literary creations along with poet Sukrita Paul Kumar at‘Guftagu with Gulzar’ on Sunday.

Famous writer-poet Gulzar at Partition Museum in Amritsar on Sunday.
Famous writer-poet Gulzar at Partition Museum in Amritsar on Sunday.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Aankhon ko visa nahi lagta, sapnon ki sarhad hoti nahi, band aankhon se roz main sarhad paar chala jaata hoon, milne Mehdi Hassan se… This poetry was narrated by legendary poet, Gulzar, to an audience at Partition Museum in Amritsar.

The writer, while mapping memories of partition, unfolded a few of his literary creations along with poet Sukrita Paul Kumar at‘Guftagu with Gulzar’ on Sunday.

Before sharing his literary creations, he took a walk around the museum, feeling the pain of people, and said, “Likh likh ke main ye dard bhoolta raha, par aaj ye dobara samne aagaya (I kept writing for years to subside my painful memories of partition, but today history came alive yet again). I was a kid of about nine-years, but I remember everything. How our family got separated, how we were taken to refugee camps. The ones who left their homes; us paar, ya iss paar; cultures have seen bloodshed.”

History came alive for Gulzar

“There can’t be more perfect place for this museum. Coming here has brought history alive for me. One should learn that history cannot be changed, it just has to be accepted as it is, irrespective of the fact that it gives us pain and tears till date,” said Gulzar, who along with Sukrita pointed out the wounds were grave, and filmmaking on this incident was not allowed. Also, till date cinema has not been able to show a film where this chapter of history can be seen as it was.

Sukrita said, “Not only cinema, even our education system has failed to unfold the heart wrenching truths of Partition. Earlier it was needed to heal the wounds, but now the archives should be brought out.”

‘Bring tales from Pakistan to the museum’

Gulzar suggested the trustee’s and the dedicated team of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT) to also get the poignant tales from Pakistan to the museum.

He said, “Jiye hain hum dard ke saath aur dard ko saath lekar (we have lived with the pain and keeping the pain with us), now if we have a platform like this museum, we should take out some chunks of our pain and hang it on the walls for generations to read and feel.”

“Let’s try to get the stories from across the border as well. People in Pakistan also felt the tremors that we felt. Their stories should also be a part of the museum. In one of my writings, I had stated hum logon ki duniya mein aam log kitne milte julte hain (People this side and that side have many things in common),” said the poet-writer.

Gulzar, while winding up the talk, said, “Pakistan ko main watan kehta hoon, par Hindustan mulk hai mera. (I was born there, but I belong here).”

Desh, sarkar nahin hota, aur mulk hukoomat nahin hoti. Hukoomat aur sarkar to badal jate hain par mulk aur watan nahin badalte,” he quoted.

“One cannot change what happened and neither it is possible to be one again. One should accept history positively and tell oneself that borders and siyasat have divided us but the waters, sunshine and air cannot be curbed, and the cultural exchange should not be changed,” he added.

is 83rd birthday, a new book bearing Gulzar’s name hits the bookstores. The man is a blend of virtuosity and vigour. Translated by Dr Rakhshanda Jalil, Footprints on Zero Line: Writings on the Partition is an evocative collection of Gulzar’s poetry and short stories where “he wants to peel back, layer upon layer, the silence that had settled upon the lives of those most affected by the partition.”

The book was launched at an event marking the opening of the Partition Museum in Amritsar on 17 August.

In this exclusive interview with The Quint, Gulzar talks about the Partition, its impact on languages, culture and politics, and a lot more. While Gulzar’s views on the Partition are well-known, he remains cheerful about the languages.