The United Nations observes World Refugee Day on June 20th each year. This event is to honour the courage and strength and determination of women, men and children who were forced flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.
World Refugee Day is celebrated, to courage of the refugees who face lot of problems after losing their homes to conflict or violence, I do not like to use the word celebrate, but would call it observation, since it is meant to remind people about the failure of the international community of home conflicts that forced these people to leave their homes and go to another place, just to save their life.
It is observed to eliminate all the horrific violence from the countries and community which is the main reason for people’s displacement and formation of refugee.
World Refugee Day can be observed with sharing the stories of Refugee’s, requesting government organizations for better management of the asylum seekers, and see as an community we could do it. ensuring the availability of basic amenities in their base shelter.
www.1947partitionarchives.org shares lots stories, like Maryam Babar, who grew up in Hyderabad Deccan, the largest princely state of British India, and it was a given that Hyderabad would stay independent but for the conquering Sardar it would have. from 1947 to 1949 their life was unchanged, but in 1949 the police actions that took place triggered unrest, and 1951 the family migrated to Karachi. She says, very categorically “I am from Hyderabad Deccan, but I am not Indian.”
Mr.Om Prakash Gullani from Khyber Pakhutnkhwa, in Waziristan grew up there speaking Saraiki, a language with influences of Arabic, Persian and Urdu. His childhood memories are of Afghan traders selling fruits and nuts and purchasing tea, sugar and cloth. During 1947 partition they travelled to Delhi through Lahore and Faridkot they were rehabilitated in in a one room apartment. Refugees he recollects worked as daily wage labourers, carrying heavy sacks to make a living.
Geeta Nayyar’s childhood memories are rooted in Sindh, born Nawabshah Sindh, she travelled with her parents until 1946 after which she stayed back with her maternal parents to school. But when the rumours of partition showed signs of turning a reality, they had to move, their first experience was Ludhiana refugee camp, which she reached after walking on food under police protection, and then boarding a bus. The memories of unhygienic living, scarcity of food, clothing, medicines disease being on rampage have left scars on her.
If these are the memories of first generation refugees, the second generation grew up with conflicts of a lost culture and trying to assimilate into the new, A sindhi friend of mine used to say, if she went out with locals, particularly since they had come down to Manipal which was far away from even Bombay the pseudo sindh recreated by the migrant community, her grandparents would look at it like betrayal of the sindhi community. while she could not really connect to the stories of Nawabshah or any other district of Sindh, for her reality was Bombay and Manipal.
Another friend who is a gynaecologist at UK sent her son for a trip to Sindh she says after he returned from visiting their ancestral village and viewing their ancestral home the boy is dealing with rage issues.
We need to stand by the first generation refugees, and ensure that their self respect is intact and their courage is lauded. We need to stand by the second generation, while they accept and emerge from their trauma, and find their way into the new community. stand by them and support them as they heal their trauma and resolve their crisis.