A Journey to Lahore from 1965 | By Hafsa Irfan

A Journey to Lahore from 1965 | By Hafsa Irfan

In the evening, both were having tea on the couch in the courtyard and relishing the promising junctures of life. The kids were pleased with their pedagogy and the atmosphere was very gracious. The community around was also very peaceful and friendly. Today, Walayat Begum and Noor are very glad and recalling the days of their juvenility; how quickly time flown. Today kids are studying and progressing with their vigor’s. The eldest daughter is old enough to be married. Walayat Begum tells her husband that my brother’s son, who lives in Lahore, is also young; a sole son of his parents. I would talk to my brother about my daughter’s marriage with his son.  Noor confides his wife that he would be glad and contended that his daughter would have married in our family. Both of them were engaged in discussing that all of a sudden there was a rush around. Outcry and siren creak everywhere. Both of them hurried outside of the house, to glance if everything is ok. Abruptly, they became afraid and anxious about where are all these people leaving and why army troops taking positions.  The corps warned everyone to emigrate from their houses because of the Indian army attack in the city. Indian troops have stricken out the Gandha Singh border near the city. You all have to move to the open areas.  There would be a risk in the homes. Noor and Walayat Begum impatiently clench the hands of their kids and heed everyone. People stayed up all night in open areas. The noises of bombing echoed from all sides. Everyone was scared and terrified. The circumstance did not appear to be getting better from anywhere and tensions were surging between the two states. Everyone was homeless. Unexpectedly in the morning the corps arrived at the community and notified that all of you should vacate for Lahore. Staying in Kasur is not out of the risk. People got very upset that how can one depart from his home and to move to a strange town. Noor and Walayat Begum too, took their kids and head to Lahore with some essentials. Uncertainty and tension subsisted around. Many were concerned about their house, some for their kids. Life was in danger. The community of the village speculated that the population of the city is not good-natured but good-hearted.

 Everyone was striding on the lengthy path to Ferozepur Road and there was no way to infer whether if they would perpetually move back or not. Some were hurrying on a tanga, some were strolling. The road was too extended and the expedition from the village to the city would take nearly three hours. Walayat Begum was believing in lagging with her brother in Lahore for exceptional days.  Noor was very incompetent at the time and had no possibility but to go somewhere other than his father-in-law’s house. According to him, living in his in-laws’ house is a disrespect to a man, but he was bound to do so for the sake of his kids.They arrived in Lahore in three hours and Noor and Walayat Begum attained Walayat Begum’s brother’s house with their kids which was located at Pakistani Chowk Lahore. Walayat Begum Brother gladly met and welcomes everyone. And also said, that “This is your house, you can abide here as long as you yearn, I was very worried when I read in the newspaper about the Indian raid in Kasur”.  Noor said, “I may require to go. I am a volunteer and I have the right to apprentice”. Walayat Begum pleaded Noor “Not to go to the place where the raid ensued. You still have very young children”.Noor was very patriotic and admired his motherland extensively and he was ready to bestow his life for the sake of his nation and homeland. He said to Walayat, “Don’t worry, God willing, we will meet again.” Many people were though abandoned and many had been wounded along the way. Noor said, “I have to go for the aid, Walayat you stay with your brother. And if the condition augments, I will come and we will go back to our house. Take care of the kids and yourself”. Noor departs for Ferozepur Road again. As he strode a little far, he was attacked by a pellet.And Noor had died on the spot.

 Walayat Begum got the news of Noor almost ten days delayed when things had got better in Kasur city.  After Noor’s funeral, Walayat Begum’s brother said, “Now you don’t have to go to Kasur alone. You stay in Lahore. You still have small kids. Bringing up them is not only an entity of a solitary woman.” Walayat Begum was very persistent and denied to abide in Lahore, and said that “I have to go to my husband’s house. My house is the same no matter if Noor is not alive but he is still with me. I want to go back to my place where Noor and I had spent beautiful memories”.  But her brother said, “Walayat Begum face the reality, this is all the dramatic things. Reality is something relatively different. We cannot live with anyone’s memories. Noor is dead”. Walayat Begum corrects her brother, ” No he is not dead he had received martyrdom. Martyr never dies!”

In the end, she was forced to live with her brother, because our society does not allow women to live alone. But Walayat Begum was a woman who did not want to be a burden to her brother. She wanted her children to get a good education and wanted to raise them as both mother and father. Just a few days had passed when Walayat Begum’s brother’s wife started lecturing and said that “She had come and straddled down, her husband had died and now, the entire life, she would be here and on my head”. Walayat Begum got very sad to hear this and she asked her brother to give her a rented house. She would run the house by doing some work and even if she would sell the Kasur house, some cash would come and she would make a residence.

 Walayat Begum’s brother was very embarrassed and vacated his sister to be evicted for the sake of his wife. Walayat Begum bought a room on rent because the whole house was not affordable for her. She went to the house in Kasur, where she saw that his brother-in-law had occupied her house. When she asked to vacate the house saying that it belonged to her husband, her brother-in-law pushed her out of the house and said that “You have eaten our brother and now you have come to get this house. Go, we have nothing to do with you or your children”.  Walayat Begum knocked on the door saying, “Listen to me once, keep the house, but help me so that I can pay the rent of my house.” But they did not open the door and limit their unconcern. Walayat came back home with her eyes ample of tears. She was left alone by her real brother, so what could she anticipate from anyone? At that time she saw only God who could help her.She went to some of the women in her neighborhood and said that “I can do sewing and embroidery and I am needy too, give me the job of sewing clothes.” Firstly women said, “They don’t know if she sews or not. Maybe you are doing forgery, and women like you who live independently without any men, not reliable”. Walayat Begum said, “Let me sew a cloth one time. If you like, you will pay. Otherwise, I will not ask for money.” Half of the women agreed and asked her to sew clothes. Within one day, Walayat Begum prepared the clothes and taken them to the women. Women got amazed and said that “She had sewed clothes so fast and they had never seen such stitched clothes. It seemed like it’s designer’s clothes”.  Everyone appreciated it very much and deliberately all the people started coming for sewing clothes to Walayat.

In a single year, Walayat became very self-subsistent and she moved her house first and sent her kids to school and college. Walayat work was gradually progressing momentum in the city. Even shopkeepers started coming for pillows, embroideries on bed sheets. Ichra, Model Town, Township, and many more areas were covered by Walayat Begum. Walayat used to leave home in the morning for work and delivery of the clothes and comes back home in the evening to do her house chores and educate her children. Walayat Begum listened to so many people about her character but she always ignored the people. As time flies, Walayat Begumwork thrived. Walayat Begum even purchased a new house in the city.  And the children grow up and started their jobs. The journey of life was not susceptible to Walayat Begum. And that decent old woman said that “God is Almighty. He never leaves his servant alone. No matter how bad time and circumstances are, a person must resist and believe in the essence that God is sitting and watching. And He is the Helper of His slaves. The world and the people of the earth are temporary, they leave us, but God does not leave us. “God has given men and women equal rights and if he takes away something he also give in return”.

Hafsa Irfan is a young talented upcoming writer and a student of BS English (Language and Literature). She is currently pursuing her career in writing. About her academic career, she is a proud Cathedralite and Punjabian. She also wrote down some poems on love and existence. Her dedication to creative art is incredible.

You can reach her at artsomphalos@gmail.com