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The 1947 Partition Archive Survivors and their Memories

Oral history with Ajit Cour, 2010 November 2.
Oral history with Ajit Cour, 2010 November 2.
Cour, Ajit, 1934-, Bhalla, Guneeta Singh, and Kaur, Kanwalroop
Author (no Collectors):
Cour, Ajit, 1934-, Bhalla, Guneeta Singh, Bhalla, Guneeta Singh, and Kaur, Kanwalroop
Ajit Cour was born in 1934 and lived in Lahore during the Partition. Before the Partition she attended a Christian school. There, the nuns taught English to the Punjabi children, highlighting the difference in the sound made between the ‘k’ and ‘c’. The nuns claimed that the letter ‘c’ is feminine while the letter ‘k’ is masculine. This led Mrs. Cour to change her name from Kour to Cour. She remembers being brought up on stories that demonize Muslims by portraying them as the evil characters. She believes that these stories contributed to the uneasy relationship between Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. In school, she noticed the discrimination between the Muslims and Hindus. Hindus and Muslims drank from separate water fountains, the Muslim children had a hard time finding partners for school projects, and the teachers were harsher on Muslim children. Ajit recounts her parents discussing the possible violence that might break out over the Ravi River (thinking that the boundary would be drawn along the river). Her mother believed that the tensions would end once the Muslims could represent themselves.On the night of the 14th, her father was glued to the radio as she went to sleep with her siblings. They all woke up to her mother and father crying after hearing the announcement. During the Partition Mrs. Cour remembers hearing stories of violence breaking out between families that have once lived together in peace. The violence was unlike any other she had seen before, people were proud of what they have done. Mrs. Cour recounts one particular act of violence were a man was beaten with a wooden rod, doused with petrol, and set on fire. This horrific event was celebrated, people danced around the man whilst burning in the street. After retelling the story Mrs. Cour describes this moment as “a very deep-rooted brutal, brutal, enjoyment of killing.”Mrs. Cour says that as Punjabis and Sikhs, they have left and lost their physical possessions as well as the importance of their language. After Partition the Punjab was split, and because of this the language diminished in its influence. She describes the history of the Punjabi language is one of revolution against the Brahmins and losing the history of the language, diminishes the power of the language today.
History and History
Physical Description:
3 video files
Publication Info:
New Delhi (India)
New Delhi (India), November 2, 2010
Filmed interviews