How a jacket and a briefcase shaped a partition love story

At the Partition Museum in Amritsar, there are two unremarkable items with a remarkable story: a traditional embroidered jacket and drab, brown leather briefcase.

These items belonged to a man and a woman who lived in Punjab in undivided colonial India. They had been introduced to each other by their parents and were to be engaged when violence broke out in 1947.

Punjab was divided – western, mostly Muslim parts went to Pakistan and eastern, mainly Hindu and Sikh parts, went to India. The jacket and the briefcase were their most valuable possessions as they fled their homes to escape death as communities butchered each other in a prolonged frenzy of religious rioting. Soutik Biswas recounts a remarkable tale behind these mundane objects.


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