A couple of years back, I had played the lead role in a play named Partitions by Pangea World Theater. We had 16 shows in the Twin Cities and had nearly taken the play to New York and Chicago.
The play was wonderfully written by Meena Natarajan and directed by the talented Dipankar Mukherjee.
The play was about the trauma of a Sikh family and its journey from the bloody Partition, the 1984 Riots and its aftermath. The protagonist Bishen (played by me) tries to find the meaning to this journey.
It was during the preparation and study for this play that I actually found out how horrific the times of Partitions and the 1984 riots were for the families. We talked to dozens of Sikh families and Pakistani families as well to get a perspective of what the Parition meant for them.
I still shudder at the stories that I heard and their deep impact on me. The stories of honor killings, people burnt alive, uprooted from their native lands and then betrayed by the land which they called their own. Meena had done extensive research for the play.
It was then, that I realized that the betrayal by India of the Sikh community. I was never and still am not in favor of any more divisions of our country based on religion, language or caste. But for India to remain a united secular country, we all need to be a bit tolerant.