Oral history with Muhammad Saleem, 2016 December 9.
Saleem, Muhammad, Abtahi, Arham, and Shahbaz, Waqas Ahmed
Author (no Collectors):
Saleem, Muhammad, Abtahi, Arham, Abtahi, Arham, and Shahbaz, Waqas Ahmed
Muhammad Saleem was born in Gurdaspur. His father, Sufi Abdul Aziz had a business of construction materials in the city but they lived in a village of Gurdaspur. They were well off in India. His mother’s name was Rehmat Bibi. Mr. Saleem believes that he was 8 to 9 years old when Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place and he was a witness to it. He was in Jallianwala Bagh with his father when the shooting started. Mr. Saleem and his father hid inside stairs near which they were sitting. They stayed there all night. Next day, his elder brother who was in army came to get them.In Gurdaspur, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs lived together but there used to be a lot of conflicts on festivals like Holi. Mr. Saleem also discussed different Hindu festivals and killings of people. His area was called Abdullah Pur as it was a Muslim majority area. Now the name has been changed and Sikhs live in that area as he discovered on his tour to India after Partition. He visited India twice and stayed with the Sikh family in Koocha Pundit, Delhi which had saved their lives during Partition. This Sikh family was a friend of his grandfather and so they helped them reach River Beas safely. They called the father of that family Bapu which was used for all the elders in India.On his way to Pakistan, Mr. Saleem has seen a lot of bloodshed and looting which is a painful memory. He is still homeless in Pakistan and adores the freedom that Pakistan has for Muslims.