Mashkoor Hussain Yaad


Mashkoor Hussain Yaad was born in 1925 at Dabwali, Hissar District of East Punjab (now part of Haryana). Yaad is his pen name and was added to his name when he became a poet. Mr. Hussain recalls the name of the mohalla (street) where he was born as ‘Jyoti Pura’. His family moved to Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh when their relative Mir Ulfat Hussain became the D.S.P at the police department. In Muzaffarnagar, Mr. Hussain’s father joined the police department and started serving there. He shares that his village had people from different religious communities and they were tolerant of each other’s beliefs.

Mr. Hussain’s mother was strict in her religious beliefs and he was not allowed to celebrate festivals of other communities. According to the rules of education system before Partition, children could not be admitted to school until they turned five years old. When Mr. Hussain was studying to matriculate, a newspaper Pukar was published by the government in order to bring the news about World War II to the people of India. Mr. Hussain was selected as the editor of the paper. His position as the editor gave him opportunity to observe the process of the movement for Pakistan and Partition closely. It also gave him a chance to meet the leaders of the Independence movement, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Mr. Hussain also recalls meeting Jawaharlal Nehru.

Mr. Hussain was married in 1943. His wedding ceremony was very simple. Since the wedding took place away from his home, only a few members of his family went as baraat (a groom’s wedding procession). Two weeks after Partition, Mr. Hussain’s house was attacked and thirty-five of his family members were killed including his wife and three year old daughter; his relatives were also killed in this attack. Mr. Hussain was also injured badly but survived as the attackers considered him dead and left him. He reached the camp in great pain. Upon reaching Pakistan, Mr. Hussain had to start his life all over again. He served as professor of Urdu in GC University, Lahore, and became a renowned poet and author of Azadi ke Chiragh, which is a memoir of his story of Partition.

Mr. Hussain remarried after moving to Pakistan. Every year, Independence Day brings him both sorrow and happiness and he misses his family which he lost after Partition.

This interview was conducted by Oral History Apprentice Arham Abtahi and filmed by Waqas Shahbaz. The summary above provides a brief glimpse into the full interview. The complete video interview is expected to be public in 2017. Browse more stories on the STORY MAP:

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