The great divide

Lahore to Delhi...Rising from the ashes is Pran Seth's personal account of life before & after Partition

The story of my life thus started on the narrow streets of Lahore where mutual distrust among the communities, Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other, manifested itself in every sphere of my early life...

It's a pain that even time, the greatest healer has failed to heal. For those who have lived the trauma of Partition, what remains constant is the sense of loss and an emptiness that can never be filled. The past lingers on in the present and home is a distant land. "In my case, the pain healed, but the haunting continued," Pran Seth charts his long journey, from 'Lahore to Delhi, Rising from the Ashes', describing it as an autobiography of a refugee from Pakistan.

One of the most important chapter of history of India was written in the first five decades of the the 20th century and the book, according to Seth, a senior journalist, is a heartfelt eyewitness account of India before and after Partition, India's independence and emergence as a great democracy. "I would speak at length to my grandson about our home in Lahore, the massacres, the helplessness, my burning hometown...and he goaded me to put it all down,'' Pran agrees these experiences, of critical historical events, needed to be shared with the younger generation and it was a challenge, one that became detailed and brought back a train of memories. Pran says he was among the fortunate few who was well-qualified, did not lose anyone during the painful period, had a secure job as a reporter and celebrated his Independence day in Delhi. Months of research, help from family members, a publisher like Dr Poonam S Kohli, made the book possible. The author begins the book from the walled city of Lahore, the place of his birth, gives an anecdotal account of the people of Lahore, its customs, traditions, making it an absorbing read and moves on to eye witness accounts of India's freedom, mayhem after Partition, the challenge of starting a newspaper, his job as a journalist in J&K...and finally rediscovering Lahore after three decades. It's a journey, smiles Seth, now 82, that's been filled with adventure, love, agony, ecstasy and fulfillment. "And it continues, slowly and steadily," he signs off saying.

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