Sikka Badal Gaya: A Story which depicts the Cataclysm of Partition

Sikka Badal Gaya is a story which take us back to the time when One Nation was divided into two parts and left a scary remark on the notes of Indian history. This incredible story is written by Krishna Sobti, she was a major Hindi writer of fiction and essays. In 1980 she won the Sahitya Akademi Award for her novel Zindaginama and in 2017, she received the Jnanpith Award for her contribution to Indian Literature. Sobti was born on 18 February 1925 in village Jalalpur, City Gujrat in the Punjab Province of British India, Gujrat – became a part of Pakistan after Partition.

The story revolves around an old widow lady named Shahni who feels shattered when she realizes that she has to leave her home, her place and memories because the partition day has come, Krishna Sobti writes, “आज इस प्रभात की मीठी नीरवता में न जाने क्यों कुछ भयावना-सा लग रहा है।वह पिछले पचास वर्षों से यह नहाती आ रही थी। कितना लम्बा अरसा है।शाहनी सोचती है, एक दिन इसी दरिया के किनारे वह दुलहिन बनकर उतरी थी और आज। ...आज शाहजी नहीं, उसका वह पढ़ा-लिखा लड़का नहीं, आज वह अकेली है, शाहजी की लम्बी-चौड़ी हवेली में अकेली है।”The most important aspect of the partition was the certain kind of fear and feeling of dislocation. There was the sense of uncertainty, a feeling of not belonging. The feeling of fear was the awareness of dislocation that lies in the days of partition.

The tragedy of 1947 gave rise to an unexpected and inhuman behavior even in the loved ones. Here, it is ironical that in spite of being concerned about Shahni yet no one is trying to stop her from going. The writer writes, “दाऊद खां लज्जित-सा हो गया। शाहनी तुम अकेली हो, अपने पास कुछ होना ज़रूरी है। कुछ नकद ही रख लो।वक्त का कुछ नहीं पता। शाहनी कहती है – वक्त? दाऊद खां, इससे अच्छा वक्त देखने के लिए क्या मैं जिंदा रहूंगी। People deluded themselves into believing that Partition would really happen. But somewhere they knew that there were cracks in the society which were dangerous. “नवाब बीवी ने स्नेह सनी उदासी से कहा, शाहनी, हमने तो कभी न सोचा था। शाहनी क्या कहे कि उसी ने ऐसा कब सोचा था।”


Observing the terrible condition, Shahni is in, we get to know the horrible destruction partition brought with it. Not only the living atmosphere of people was ruined but also partition broke them down from within. While lying down in the camp Shahni was thinking that how she lost her memories, her home, her loved ones and most importantly her peace of mind. The old woman’s tears are significant enough to give us the view about those terrible nights, she was surviving alone in the camp with the people whom she hardly knows. The depression caused by partition can be seen in form of drops falling from Shahni’s eyes. Though everyone in the camp came from a different background , different places but now they are all related through a nightmare which just took place. All of them together became the victim of partition, experienced the same pain and the same injuries during that time. The mornings were full of depression and the nights contained too much negativity to bear.

The last lines of the story says it all “आसपास के हरे-हरे खेतों से घिरे गांवों में रात खून बरसा रही थी.....शायद राज पलटा भी खा रहा था और....सिक्का बदल रहा था।


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(अनुवाद - कृष्ण पाल ) इस कहानी को पढ़ते समय मैं अकेलेपन की यात्रा पर चल पड़ी। उस अकेलेपन में मेरे साथ कहानी का मुख्य पात्र लोभसिंह भी मौजूद था। उसकी कहानी बड़े ही इत्मीनान से मैं काले अक्षरों में पढ़ रही