After a winter hiatus of a few weeks, this weekend we are happy to host
filmmaker Ajay Bhardwaj and screen his film -'Rabba Hun Kee Kariye' (Thus
departed our neighbours) at Coveda, Sector 18-B, Chandigarh.
Synopsis: There is a point in Ajay Bhardwaj’s film on Partition, Rabba Hun
Kee Kariye (English title: Thus Departed Our Neighbours) where a character
speaks of an invisible border between life and death. In east Punjab, as
the frenzy of slaughter increased, caravans of Muslims who would not have
made it across to Pakistan headed towards the state of Malerkotla. Mobs
bent on murder gave chase, and yet the moment this border was crossed they
would stop. A myth barred their way. In 1705, the governor of Sirhind
ordered that the imprisoned sons of Guru Gobind Singh be bricked alive.
Among the assembled nobles, only Sher Mohammed Khan, the Nawab of
Malerkotla, walked out of the court in protest. In Malerkotla, 242 years
later, not a single person was killed in the violence of Partition.
If peace came to Malerkotla through myth, violence came to the rest of
Punjab in much the same way. History relates the proximate factors leading
up to the Partition, the role of the British, the Congress and Jinnah. None
of this explains the frenzy of the violence. The madness that knew no
bounds, except those of myth, was also born out of the myths we have of the
others—the rights and wrongs of a remembered past.
Mythology as opposed to history totalises, it tells a story where nothing
is left incomplete or unexplained, where every strand is drawn to a close.
But the myths that Ajay Bhardwaj seeks to understand are not the myths that
led to the violence of Partition but the myths that let us live with that
violence. We have no shortage of stories that deal with the victims, none
that talk of the perpetrators. Innocence is easier to come to terms with
than guilt. How does a village, a town, a community deal with the violence
it knows it unleashed? Neighbours, friends and relatives were part of the
mobs that acted out the bloody fantasies of much of the community. Human
society has always placed a prize on murder; done with the violence, how
does a community deal with the knowledge of murderers in its midst?
This is the story Bhardwaj relates. Murder and violence do not go
unpunished. People testify to what befell those who participated in the
massacres. Justice may not have been done immediately but in their telling,
justice was done eventually. One such man may have fallen prey to
unexplained sickness, another may have lost his wealth and status, each of
them in one way or the other suffered for their acts in this very life.
It could well be argued that these testimonies are far too comfortable for
those who relate them. They distance them from the violence, save them from
complicity but they ultimately go to the heart of the matter. For the vast
majority of those who lived through Partition, the massacres may be
justifiable but individual acts of murder were not, they eventually brought
their own retribution.
This is how myth helps us live on—reality is harsh, but at least in myth,
justice is seen to be done, and in this knowledge lies the way to living
with the past. If today we must worry about Gujarat, and Ajay Bhardwaj does
not have to say this, it is because even the myth of justice is absent in
the state. A community lives on without a sense of guilt or remorse and
this has never happened before, as the film shows, not even during the
Partition. --- HARTOSH SINGH BAL
Name of the Film: Rabba Hun Kee Kariye
Date: Saturday, 14th Jan, 2012
Time: 6:00 pm
Venue: coVeda, 'New Public School' / 'Eurokids' Complex, Sector 18,
Chandigarh . Map : http://tinyurl.com/3aoo64
Year of making: 2007
Name of the Director: Ajay Bhardwaj
Duration: 65 mins
Language of the subtitle: English
Directions: From Madhya Marg, take a left at Panchayat Bhawan to enter
Sector 18. Drive to the T junction at the end of the road to where the New
Public School is located. Park outside the school premises and enter the
school from the main gate. Take an immediate right once past the gate and
walk through the entertainment park of Eurokids. Take a left turn from here
and walk straight to the very end to where coVeda is located.
Any questions? Please feel free to contact Moonstar at 98789-16170
Questions about this screening? Call Jasdeep at 9988638850
1. The coVeda MeTa Movie club is a volunteer film club · The
movie-night has no charge and is open to all.
2. Mobile phones should be switched off during the screening.
3. The screenings are mostly outdoors, so please dress
according to the weather.
4. If you are somewhat tech-savy (know how to plug-in jacks,
that's all) and
wish to volunteer for the setup, drop an email to