TOBA TEK SINGH: A businessman from the backwaters of Toba Tek Singh has come up with his third book which covers in detail the plight of the Muslims during the Partition.

“Ludhiana ke Musalmanon per kia guzri” is an 1,800-page book which is replete with historical events and anecdotes and speaks volumes for the quality of research the author has carried out.

Belonging to Chak Bhalair, a small village adjacent to Toba Tek Singh city, Muhammad Aslam told reporters that he spent several years gathering material and interviewed many people including first-generation Pakistanis to glean facts about the Partition.

“The book covers the family history of almost all leading families of Ludhiana who came to Pakistan after the Partition,” he said.

Aslam, who has previously written “Barray azmon ka musafir” and “Jat kalon ka dais mein”, said he spent his childhood in Nairobi (Africa) where his father Haji Ahmad Din went from Ludhiana and served for 20 years in the railways. The writer also remained for several years in the UK, where he claimed to have written a letter to Lord Mountbatten in 1970 about his “negative role regarding the Kashmir problem” and he has included his reply in the book.

He said he was stunned when Moona Insari, an old resident of Faisalabad’s Chak Dhandra, told him that the Sikhs murdered 9,000 Muslim men, women and children at Chak Sehna of Ludhiana and they took away 100 young girls with them who the Pakistan government brought home after some time.

He said he had also included in the book the family trees of Rai family of Chichawatni and several other prominent personalities. When Khan Wali Khan came to Faisalabad in 1978, says the book, he offered ‘fateha’ at the grave of Maulana Anees Ludhianvi, son of Maulana Habibur Rehman Ludhianvi. Maulana Habibur Rehman was one of those who opposed the creation of Pakistan and when he came to settle in the country, people kept reminding him of his stance and he had to go back to India. The Maulana’s family divided and some members now live in Ludhiana and many others in Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh.

Aslam said the book would be formally launched at a function.

In his observation about the book, columnist Abdul Qadir Hasan mentioned an interview given to the writer by the late Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan (who remained MLA from Ludhiana and passed away in 1998), in which Shaukat narrated an incident in these words: “When we were on way to Lahore from India, an elderly woman in the train compartment repeatedly asked him when the train would reach Pakistan and the moment we reached the Walton railway station and asked the woman to come to the refugee camp, she put her hands on earth and breathed her last saying we have reached Pakistan”.

Writer Bano Qudsia wrote that she came to know from this book that Saadat Hasan Manto, Soofi Barkat Ali, and Allama Iqbal’s wife Mukhtar Begum also belonged to Ludhiana. The book, she said, was a historical document for researchers and students.

Columnist Haroonur Rashid claimed in an article “the book has come up with many revelations about the history of the subcontinent.”

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2016