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Naseem Mirza Changezi partition story - 104 years

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Naseem Mirza Changezi argues that Partition was the result of various political forces, and stresses that a great love was shared amongst the religious communities.

Mr. Changezi was born in 1910 in his ancestral home at Pahari Imli, near Churi Walan in Jama Masjid, Old Delhi. He was a freedom fighter, and fought alongside the likes of Bhagat Singh and Rajguru against colonial powers. He has been profiled and documented numerous times by leading scholars and academics due to his impressive knowledge on the Mughal history of northern India. He says, “The study of my genealogy tells me that successively 23 generations of mine hail from the family of Genghis Khan, the founder of the great Mongolian empire. My ancestors traveled from Mongolia to Iran, and then to Afghanistan. By that time Babur, who lay the stone of Mughal empire in India, asked his ancestors to leave Afghanistan within two or three months. The two clans were both Mughals but Babur’s side was Timuri Mughals and we were Changezi Mughals, so Babur did not want a fight and loss of soldiers, hence, he asked my ancestors to peacefully leave."

“My family fought for this country and has been doing so for the last 150 years,” he says. Mr. Changezi’s great grandfather was a deputy collector under the British crown, yet he still participated in the revolt of 1857. He was later imprisoned for life. “There had been various wars prior to 1857, within the kingdoms, but the reason it is known as the First War is because this was the first time that the masses at large took part in it.” Mr. Changezi’s mother passed away when he was just two years old and his father decided to never remarry. He says that keeping parrots as domestic pets was widespread in his village, and the Hindu women would teach Urdu poetry and couplets to the their parrots, whereas the Muslim women would teach poetry and couplets from Hindu literary texts to their parrots.“My father along with Rash Behari Bose were on the forefront of [revolutionary] activities, and I grew up amongst all their idealism and members,” he says.

Mr. Changezi has lived in his ancestral home for 106 years, and was in the same house when Partition took place. He was 37 years old when Partition began, and he had an unofficial identification card under the name “Ram Kishan.” This pass allowed him to travel around the city and not be affected by the curfew placed on the Muslim population in Delhi. “Many killings took place during that time. My work would be to make a daily trip to Nizamuddin station where the trains would be leaving for Pakistan, and people would travel from Delhi, and they would get injured during those travels so I would escort them till the camp at Jama Masjid so that they could be quickly treated. The trains would leave from Old Delhi railway station, and people were treated very badly. The wagons that were [used] to transport cattle were used by refugees to load their own belongings and they would pull it themselves and go to camps at Purana Qila,” he recalls. He argues that Partition was the result of various political forces, and stresses that a great love was shared amongst the religious communities.

In Old Delhi the new wave of refugees would set up their own businesses on the street in front of the shops and began to sell the same products for less. This practice caused a lot of friction in the city. He says, “The decision to stay on in India, and not migrate to Pakistan was very simple for me and my family because my ancestors had through the generations fought on this land. My father fought for this country, so there was no question of leaving our own home. Although, my father did receive many persuasive letters from authorities in Pakistan to come there. However, his father sat him down and asked him to write a reply, in which he clearly recalls that he wrote, ‘Do rivers like the Ganges or Yamuna flow in Karachi? Does Lal Quila stand on that land? Is there my beloved Jama Masjid there? If yes, then I will come in a jiffy. If no, then don’t ever write to me again.’”

He went on to complete his matriculation from Punjab University. Mr. Changezi was an ace hockey player and was selected by Delhi Hockey Association in 1942. He played with renowned athlete Dhyan Chand and participated in various tournaments. He says that all his friends and contemporaries have all since passed away and that he is the only left. Today he lives with his son and his wife.

This interview was conducted by Development Assistant Ritika Popli. 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: http://www.1947partitionarchive.org/browse

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