Home Poetry Divided, United…Divide

Divided, United…Divide

by Shehnaz Gujral
1 comment 2 minutes read

Grains of sand swooned in grey wind.

Sisters swerved into two halves.

As knife cuts through a bar of butter.

Maps outdated; census underrated.

A bloody Holi played in blood trains.

Summer and fall of 1947.

Sisters then, now second cousins.

Baptized as Pakistan and India.

And how they named the violence.

Coffins vomited into the soil.

My chest is hollow, my heart untouched

Broken glass bangles cried like white conch.

Malefic ether spilled the claret sanguine.

Division of land, subtraction of sons and daughters.

Multiplication of coffins and cemetery seats.

Carnage caravans on the wheels.

Homeless strangers departed to eerie lands.

Ash and rubble arrived at cousin’s dwelling.

Two lacs to two million tramped into silent screams.

A battle ground looks the loneliest when war ceases.

Dungeons in train cubicles, sinewed stray men.

Disquieted men, quieted doting daughters and wives.

Whispering winds and billowing clouds, petrichor to the rotting flesh.

Flag stop at Doraha Canal.

Crimson Red the floods in monsoon.

Whistle stop and a rough start.

Treading the trembling trek.

Bodies delivered; souls departed.

New life with infinite pockets.

Found religion, lost identity.

Peace to moron; unrest to rationalist.

Collecting denominations of new nations.

Logic, Justice and rights in the begging bowl.

Blurred patriotism preached, seldom practiced.

14th and 15th August, ennui and energy in foggy eyes.


The Sarhand Canal is a large irrigation canal that carries water from the Sutlej River in Punjab state, India. It is one of the oldest and biggest irrigation works in the Indus river system,

Holi is called the festival of colors because the main event is a color-filled celebration. While the bonfire on the night before, Holika Dahan, has a religious element, the day of the color fest typically doesn’t involve a religious ceremony.

I was inspired to write this poem as I had revisited the painful partition of India & Pakistan through my Grandfather’s reminiscences. As a Police officer during Pre-Independence times, he had encountered the grey shades of atrocities, brutality and honour killings.

Khushwant Singh’s novel Train to Pakistan is a historical novel published in 1956 recounts the Partition of India in August 1947 through the perspective of Mano Majra, a fictional border village.I have visualized the situation with insights from this novel.

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1 comment

Amar jit kaur September 30, 2020 - 11:43 am

I loved it..keep going


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