Dilli who became a ‘witch mother’! –

“Separation of Delhi from the people of Delhi is like separation of nails from flesh. For months, my health was suffering from the shock of this separation.

How cute Delhi has become after this separation…! The memory of every particle of Delhi was like a star. Yes, I wanted them to fly and reach Delhi. But all the roads were blocked and the heart we had left behind was so horrible that the very thought of it made one cringe. Despite this, there was a heart-deluded attraction that erased the fear and panic, as if a mother had killed her child and the child had tolerated it and moved away, but wanted to be buried in the mother’s loving embrace for satisfaction. And Dilli, who had now become a ‘witch mother’ for us, was still our mother despite being a ‘witch’.

His bloody bruises were no longer visible, the blood from his lips had been washed away. The people of Delhi wanted to go to the mother’s lap even if they were ruined by Mamata. In the witch’s lap, in the mother’s lap…

My mother and younger siblings were in Delhi, their letters had started coming that there was now peace and there was no danger of riots. I was bound by the bonds of wife and children. Whenever he intended to go to Delhi, he postponed it until now. During this period, a close friend of mine and a friend of mine had gone to Delhi twice to settle many of his affairs. This gentleman was a very mature Muslim. He had come for Hajj, and had a beard of two fingers. He was repeatedly told that this is not the case. You should stay in Delhi and show that you are a Muslim by your appearance and dress. May Allah not bring any bad hour, it is the duty of every human being to be cautious, but he was a servant of trust. He did not change his position. Jinnah continued to wear a beard and cap and returned to Lahore after staying in Delhi for several days. Last time I went to Delhi at the beginning of Muharram.

My elder brother had gone to Delhi to save his house, motorcycle and guns. This gentleman found him walking somewhere. It was Ashra day and he was fasting. The brother jokingly said, “Mian Sultan, take off this fringe now.” But he laughed and said, “If you want to die, someone will kill you even without it.” A bomb exploded in Sadar Bazar. The remaining Muslim shops were broken into and seventy-eighty men were stabbed to death.

Three days later it was learned that Sultan Ashraf’s minister was lying in the hospital with a broken leg. He has informed the police that Sultan Ashraf was killed in his office on Qutb Road. His body is lying there in the room. His sister and close relatives lived in ‘Choori Walaan’ inform them. When the ominous news reached the house, the row broke out. The elder sister was eating and the old mother was looking at each other like crazy. His tears had dried up, and his speech and understanding were impaired. According to Munshi, when the bomb exploded and there was a commotion, Sultan Ashraf quickly closed his office and was about to come down from the stairs to the market when some armed goons saw him and came towards him saying “Here is a Muslim”. swoop down

The Sultan and the Munshi began to climb the stairs with reverse feet. The killers chased them, how could a man resist the sword and spears. Manshi panicked and jumped from the porch into the market and then he did not know what happened. Three days later, the policeman was informed that the autopsy of Sultan Ashraf’s body had been done. If you want to take the dead body, bring it from Baoli.

Two brothers of Rishti bravely went to the vegetable market and as if fed up with their lives, they reached home dead. Some Sikhs appeared there. He dared to ask them about the body. The Sikhs asked, “Who was that of yours?” They said, “Brother.” The Sikhs said, “The body will be inside, go and identify it.” They were eager and entered without paying attention to their gestures. Sultan’s dead body was lying on the table. There was no part of the body where there was no wound, it could be seen from the hands as long as the breath stopped the killers’ blows and all the wounds were facing forward and were crying out saying that the Sultan was dying, but this did not show his back.

When the brothers saw this scene, they screamed. The sound of laughter was coming from outside. When the heart was filled with tears, they were worried about how to take the body home. When we looked outside, the roofs were damaged. He was standing in shock when he saw an Englishman coming towards him. He asked them, “Why are you crying?” He briefly narrated the whole situation. This good man consoled and comforted them and said, “I was passing by, heard your screams and came.” Don’t worry, everything will be arranged.” And indeed everything was arranged that the ambulance came and that Englishman took him and the body to the house.

Sultan Ashraf’s sudden death caused his wife and children to be buried alive in Lahore. The deceased had a monthly income of 12, 15 hundred rupees, it stopped altogether and the survivors were completely destitute in the foreign country. Aziz used to cry eight to eight tears on seeing them. These wretched people eventually went to Delhi after visiting the deceased.

(Selected from ‘Dilli Ki Bapta’ by Shahid Ahmed Dehlvi)


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