In August 1947, after long years of bitter struggle, India and Pakistan finally won their freedom as new independent countries. New democracies were born, people found their voice and were finally able to determine their own destiny. This demands celebration, particularly in this year, a 75th anniversary.
However, at the same time, there is a bitter-sweet quality to the remembrance. In his speech of August 1947, Pandit Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister spoke of the ‘labour pains of the birth of freedom’. He was referring to the violent rupture of partition, the bloody fracture of the Indian subcontinent into two independent states: a Hindu-majority India and the Muslim-majority Pakistan. This sparked one of the largest migrations in human history. Overnight friends became enemies, terrible scenes of murder left countless dead and countless lives completely shattered, with over million people killed. All suffered. Though amidst the horror, there were acts of kindness and humanity. These memories, both good and bad, must be passed down; almost all Partition survivors have already died, and now, more than ever, there is real urgency to listen and to honour these memories.
We must continue to talk about one of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century so that we can ensure that such horrors don’t happen again. For anyone looking to learn or read more on Partition, this page holds a series of resources, for all ages, created by people knowledgeable and knowing about such matters. It is by no means definitive – we have simply found them to be useful, inspiring and accessible.
The phone keeps ringing shrilly through the flat. Nauzer holds his head in his hands, palms clamped over his ears. “Beta, the phone!” He forgot his mother would still be here. He can’t have her answering in case it is Devia. He runs into the corridor to pick it up. It stops just before he can reach it. Breathless, he looks up and sees his mother in the kitchen.
Tucked away in a lovely corner of Wood Wharf, Dishoom Canary Wharf is now officially open and ready to welcome you all. The marble-top bar is ready to hold your drink, the textured, patterned (and extremely comforting) chairs are waiting to be kept warm and the hand-painted mural and carefully curated art – from Bombay and beyond – are waiting to be part of your conversations.
This chicken biryani is our homage to Britannia’s chicken berry pulao, using cranberries in place of the more authentic Persian barberries, which are tricky to find. (Despite much cajoling, Mr Kohinoor has never shared his wife’s famous recipe.) It is prepared in the kacchi style, originating from Hyderabad, in which marinated raw meat goes into the pot, to be cooked at the same time as the rice.
No party is complete without some delectable pours to toast the host with the most. For the crafty amongst us, bring out the shakers and strainers and the channel knife and pour your energy into building our festive concoction – The Taj Ballroom Toddy. A warming tipple inspired by The Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where Bombay’s jazz age was born.