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What would you do if you were told you had minutes to leave your home? What would you take, what would you be thinking?

This thought dominated the minds of millions who moved across the newly created borders in 1947. The place they called home was not a geographical zone but an emotion. most just locked their doors and left as if they were going on a vacation. They ended up as refugees in a foreign land with a yearning for a home they could never return to. That yearning is what Hiraeth stands for.




Pages: 159
Publisher: ArtoonsInn
Language: English
ISBN: 9788194132622



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Dr. Shivani Salil

Dr. Shivani Salil



Partition stories from 1947

2 reviews for Hiraeth

  1. Srivalli Rekha

    These are words, emotions, and lives of people who had to flee; escape, run away, hide, and try their best to survive when ‘some higher authorities’ decided to divide their land. A land that was theirs belonged no more to them.
    Tears, pain, agony, uncertainty, questions, betrayal, depression, murder, death, and venom ruled the land that was ruthlessly broken into two.

    Amidst the overwhelming darkness were rays of light- friends who defined the relationship, families that provided a helping hand, strangers who became family.
    Thousands of families perished; thousands survived, barely. Disjointed, destroyed, and desolate, they picked up the wrecked pieces of their lives in a feeble attempt to move on.

    Some made it big, some lost it all. Either side cried for their misfortune even as the governments assured things would be better.
    How can things be better? Relocating wasn’t a choice. It was a compulsion. It was an order.
    Years later, when they talk about the partition, tears fill those eyes. Voices choke with burdened emotions. Hands tremble as the memories of those dreadful days rake up the old wounds that never healed.

    The book has 24 stories- of the past and present. Most with a hopeful ending; the rest dealing with the harsh realities one cannot, should not deny.
    As long as one lives and even after, the stories have to be told. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren show know.
    Read them when one gets old enough to realize what had happened. Read them again to understand how a single word was more than enough to destroy lives.
    It has been long since I read a book that moved me as much as this one did. The partition has occurred long before I was born. But, somewhere in the corner of my heart, I cried for what had happened. The tears made their way back to my eyes when I started reading Hiraeth.

    Shivani, thank you for writing the book. She is a friend and a fellow writer I admire. Her stories don’t hit readers in the face. Instead, the words silently creep and crawl, filling the reader with unexplainable emotions. Hiraeth is no exception. It is proof of how simple words can break your heart.
    The book uses regional languages to retain the authenticity of the stories. Each of those words and phrases has been explained in the footnotes of the same page. Hiraeth is a book I would recommend others to read.

  2. Yatindra Tawde

    The first image that captures your attention is the apt artistic rendition of the message the author wants to convey. The tree symbolises the Indian subcontinent, rooted in the same culture but the ripped apart into two countries by a sudden cataclysmic event.

    As you read the stories, you are drawn into the lives of ordinary human beings, pushed into facing sudden extraordinary circumstances.

    If there are obnoxiously creepy individuals, trying to take undue advantage of unfortunate situations, there are people who have not lost their humanity in the face of the difficult times.

    If there are people who lost their sanity, there are individuals who clung to some hope even in those trying times.

    But finally these are heart rending stories of the common man whose destiny was so mercilessly turned upside down by fickle politicians looking for their self-aggrandizement.

    As you read the stories, you cannot but admire the high level of research, the author, Dr. Shivani Salil, must have undertaken to meet such affected individuals and families who were caught in the turmoil of that unfortunate event of partition of a great country on the basis of religion.

    I recommend this book for all those who were far removed from this page of history, especially the young generation which is separated by the many decades of freedom.

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