Let’s dial down the anger, says UK writer of latest guide on Partition

Author: PTI | London |

November 21, 2020 2:10:02 pm


Marina Wheeler has come out with a new book on The Partition. (Source: Facebook)

UK author Marina Wheeler, whose new book and Partition section in 1947 laid the shelves in India on Friday, wants to encourage people to understand the different perspectives on a difficult topic in British and Indian history.

In the Lost House: My Mother, Part and Punjab, Wheeler, the wife of former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, tells the grim story of Partition as a reminder of her Sikh mother’s journey from Sargodha, now Pakistan, to India and finally in the UK.

After his annual research on both sides of the border and in intimate conversations with his mother, Dip Singh, who passed away earlier this year, Wheeler says he hopes the book will reopen new discussions.

“But in one culture, I mean people just need to reduce their anger a little bit,” Wheeler said in an interview with Zoom and PTI.

“What I want people to get rid of is to make an effort to understand different perspectives. The conflicts between India and Pakistan seem to be declining, instead they seem to be continuing,” he said, adding that he wanted his book to be seen as a “plea for better understanding.”

“Now is the time to be angry, perhaps in the face of Twitter. It would be better to move in a slightly slower, calmer way of discussing the world and about each other,” he said.

He acknowledged that he had made great efforts to avoid becoming involved in the politics of India and Pakistan, instead hoping to provide an opinion of all sorts of people from the British half and half Indian, with roots in Pakistan.

His father is a well-known journalist Sir Charles Wheeler, who met his mother Dip while writing as a BBC Journalist for South East Asia in Delhi.

Drawing on her mother’s history and stories from her Indian family in Delhi and Mumbai, Wheeler endeavored to address a variety of interconnected threads, which contain lessons from our history.

“What I have tried to do is try to understand the different perspectives. Therefore, I hope that Indian readers will find the enlightenment and enjoyment,” he said, not only in the UK but in India as young people who are not always aware of what has led to Independence in India. .

“I am very pleased with this whole debate and I think it is time for us to discuss without thinking about the Kingdom that people start without knowing it,” he said, referring to the need for the British Empire to be included in UK education.

“It is important to have this, especially since the people living abroad from the Indian subcontinent are older and from all over the Kingdom. This is something, as I can see, to celebrate, ”he added.
While his research in the book included two trips to Pakistan, trips to India were several as he tried to insist on working other than weddings and family events.
The book’s worm was planted in 2017, when the 70th anniversary of India’s independence was celebrated by many, and with the weak thoughts of her elderly mother, Wheeler decided to embark on a journey that would undoubtedly be her roots.

The writing came at a time of turmoil for the 56-year-old law and human rights lawyer, including the fight against cancer and the dissolution of her marriage to Boris Johnson, former Secretary of State for the UK.
“I was a little rude when my publisher called it ‘my trip’ but in the end I found that to be what it was. Doing this book and being able to go back in time with my family was easy. It was healing,” he says.
And, by asking her mother to find out what she had done in the past, along with the tragic memories of her relocation since childhood, Wheeler finds that in the end her mother found great happiness in having fond memories from her childhood.

“He was very good at drawing lines along the way. Sometimes they light a cigarette if they want me to leave the room, put it on the radio or whatever. It was 85 when I started and I thought, I respect it; he had a right to know how much he wanted in his life, ”he recalls.

With the closure disrupting all routes to India, Wheeler is now looking forward to the festival at the Jaipur Literary Festival in the new year, as it hopes to connect with other readers in India.
In the meantime, it is hoped that ‘The Lost Homestead’, published by Hodder & Stoughton, will explain how social media is more intertwined on both sides of the India-Pakistan border.

“Politics is kind of confusing business but under this we are all the same people who feel these invisible things in the same way,” he says.

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