Lahore’s Railway Station in 1947What I am writing here today is all firsthand information which my maternal grandma Kalsoom Begum Qureshi shared with me during her lifetime as she was an active lady in the freedom movement which led to the creation of Pakistan after years of struggle. Begum Salma Tassaduq Hussain was my grandma’s real aunt and history cannot forget her efforts when it comes to the role of women in the Pakistan Movement. I was lucky to have that information because it made me patriotic and taught me how tough it was to have a separate homeland where we enjoy our freedom today, and now I feel it my duty to pass it on to the new generation. It is important for the new generation to know more about this movement so that they can adore Pakistan and respect forefathers who have given their lives, blood and sweat to this land during the freedom movement.It was announced on the radios that the partition is finally going to happen in a while and the trains from India would start reaching the Lahore Railway Station with the passengers who were migrating from India to Lahore, Muslims! Well, to us this sounds simple but now I will tell you what I have heard and what my grandma experienced at that time, which was not at all simple, rather it was heartbreaking, tear-jerking and catastrophic. The largest refugee camp was set up at the place where we see the United Christian Hospital (UCH) today, near Liberty Round About. The bodies and injured from Railway Station were taken there. Later, announcements were made that there are no coffins left so the people should bring clothes from their houses for burialThe trains while traveling to Lahore with Muslim passengers were looted on their way but that’s not all. There were men wearing different attires hiding their identities that would loot the train and kill the passengers, it was assumed that they were Hindus and Sikhs as through their dialects it was obvious.Many trains came to Lahore carrying the passengers and their goods but some reached safely and many could not! Three to four trains would daily arrive at the Lahore Railway station having the migrants. The timings of the arrival of trains were announced on the Radio and people were deputed at the Lahore Railway Station who would run to the refugee camps, which were set up by several people in Lahore, and tell about the arriving trains. A train arrived here at Lahore Railway Station at it was full of dead bodies! The grief, misery and agony will start from here. My grandma said that there was hardly anyone alive in the train and blood was all over and when they stepped inside the train their feet could feel the swampness of blood like flooded water! The men, boys, children, women and girls all had been killed with their stuff and belongings looted by the cruel men who might be against the partition or wanted to show their hatred towards the decision of partition.It happened so that the first and last few bogies of the train were spared by the attackers whereas the middle bogies were attacked ferociously and passengers were killed or injured sadistically. The volunteers of the freedom movement had to visit each and every bogie of the train to find the dead bodies and the injured that were then taken to the refugee camps. Now let me tell you the story of another train that arrived at Lahore Railway Station and this piece is an eye opener for all the youngsters to respect this land and their ancestors.My grandma said she was sitting in the lawn of her house in Icchra with a few ladies and discussing the plans for the refugees and their health care when a man came running to them telling about a train that was expected to arrive in sometime and they needed to rush to the Lahore Railway Station. My grandma along with Mehmooda Begum (her younger sister), Rashida Begum, Fatima Begum, Begum Siraj ud din and Begum Abdul Qadir (all these are known names of women working voluntarily during Pakistan movement) rushed to the station and the train had just arrived. Now hold your hearts to read what they saw there!There were bodies in the bogies but those were sent as a gift to Pakistan at that time in a very different manner! The dead bodies of females were gathered in separate bogies and those of men in others. What they saw there was just the head and the body up to waist but no body part was attached to it. I am sure that your heart would be beating faster or sinking and hurting to take revenge while reading this. My grandma said that as they entered the females dead bodies bogies, while looking around, they saw all the eyes taken out of the deads violently and piled up in one corner of the bogie, similarly in the other corner were the hands and feet, another corner had the legs and the breasts of the females which were ruthlessly cut off from the dead bodies. My dear readers these are the real scenes of the famous and historic Lahore Railway station during the partition. Similarly the bogies having men dead bodies also had piled up body pieces in the corner and only the heads were attached to the upper body portion and all other parts were cut off and piled up. The bogies were flooded with blood and smell. My grandma along with other ladies and volunteers courageously collected all those parts and pieces of the dead bodies and that was the time when tears could not stop dropping from the eyes of men and women there. Only one girl who had, by chance, hidden herself somewhere inside the train escaped alive but went out of senses as she could not bear the trauma of seeing that all.I think we need to tell all these stories to our youngsters who are somehow forming an alien mindset against Pakistan because of some political, social or economical issues, and they should be grateful to the forefathers who gave their lives to give the future generations a better forthcoming life.The largest refugee camp was set up at the place where we see the United Christian Hospital (UCH) now near Liberty round about. The bodies and injured from Railway Station were taken there. Then there were announcements that there are no coffins left so the people should bring cloths from their houses for burial.One day few trains arrived all most of the passengers died in the same manner, and trust me my grandma told me that that day even the cloths with people finished. Volunteers and all others had sent in their bed sheets, clothes, shawls, curtains, duppatas etc but the dead bodies didn’t finish and at last they were wrapped in newspapers and buried.That is why this partition is called the biggest and dreadful migration in the history of the world! This very station was among the key sites of violence during the Partition riots. Hindus and Sikhs leaving for India by train were frequently attacked and killed at the station, and trains arriving from India would unload bodies of dead Muslim migrants. My young readers. please do not forget these sacrifices of your forefathers.Now, let me take you back to 1859 when the Lahore Railway started. Right then, the silver shinning shovel of the train had some Latin words engraved on it ‘Tam bello quam pace’ these meant ‘better peace than war’. British in order to portray peace and tranquility in the region inscribed those on the shovel. Did they know what would happen through those railways later in 1947?A later picture of Begum Salma Tassaduq Hussain (left) with Begum Zia Ul HaqPartition marked a massive and bloody turmoil and Lahore Railway Station was a witness to all those shattered families and dead bodies. At the same time, millions of Muslims abandoned their homes to cross the border into Pakistan. There are no exact numbers of people killed and displaced, but estimates range from a few hundred thousand to two million killed and more than 10 million displaced.It was not just one train in such a condition; many of these were being received by the people and freedom fighters here in Pakistan. Families were murdered, shattered, horrendously tortured and females raped…that is how the Muslims managed to get a separate homeland and Lahore Railway station witnessed all. Pakistan was not an easy task at all…I know you would never have thought this way of the Railway Station Lahore which is an attractive heritage site for most of us. This is a picture and a story which only those know who saw it or passed it on to others.This Railway station is not just a source of commuting to me. I see thousands of horrific scenes hidden in the thick walls and bricks of this railway station. I still see the railway track flooded with blood as I can visualize the atrocities of that time. Respect the sacrifices of your forefathers and be proud of being a national of Pakistan – a homeland acquired after so many sacrifices!This article is part of a series on partition called the Partition Diaries. It will include a piece related to partition every day from the August 1 to 15Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2018.