1947 partition pain still in the eyes of the Sikh and Hindu families

20 12 2007

It was an early winter morning in Delhi and I recieved this phone call from Gautam, a friend of mine, asking me to be ‘there’ by 8:30 am. I just freshened up and was waiting at the metro station when I was picked up, we travelled all the way to Model colony and our hosts all in their 70’s if not 80’s were waiting for us trying to keep themselves warm.First it was my turn to talk to the hosts and make them feel at home with the equipment and look at the fact that they do not get too tensed with the camera and other equipment.

While my crew was setting up the camera I was talking to them and most of them seemed they almost were out of the pain and agony they have been through, but one touch and all that is visible on their faces. They need not even speak a word, its all over their faces. I was trying to watch the India partition documentary of the BBC and it felt as if it were a one sided story.

One after the other they spoke or should I say poured their heart out as if waiting to tell the world what they have been through. One has waded through the dead bodies lying among them while the other has killed his own mother, sister and wife as well as his grand ma to”save” their honour from the hands of the “allah oh Akbars”. The saga continues and one of them says they cut the private parts of men, women, while the other says he has even tried burning their homes but see how a hindu / sikh is pathetic at doing things the tin full of petrol couldnot catch fire and God we returned empty handed. The stories are endless. The pain unmeasureable. Is this all Non-violent freedom struggle, is this all the secularism asks one while the others narrate the aftermath of the partition journey into the hearts of INDIANS.

We were treated as chor badmash we had to prove ourselves hard working Indians and Hindus before renting a house.It was a nightmare but we can never forget those days says another elderly sardar. The stories of barbarism from North west frontier province to the sindh to the Rawalpindi to as near as Lahore were tearful and heartbreaking if not nightmares. Will India ever remember the stories or as ever we move ahead and do not learn from the past ?

But here is a story…..


31 10 2007


Miniature Painting by the Sikh School of Art – early 19th century of Guru Nanak with Bhai Mardana

The objective is to show the Sikhs as the defenders of Indian Dharma. Throughout the ages, Sikhs have protected India from numerous onslaughts by foreign invaders – whether the Mughals or the British. This has not been recognized by society today.
We also need to bring the spirit of Kshatriyas back into the people of India, as today it again faces a threat to its culture and traditions from globalization and conversions. This will and courage to defend one’s dharma from threats, both within and without, is still very strong in the Sikh community and this should be brought to the forefront and shared with the rest of the people of this country.


1) A documentary film on the 1947 Holocaust when tens of thousands Sikhs and Hindus were slaughtered. Today many of the survivors or those who have been witnesses to the Holocaust are close to dying, so it’s important we record their testimonies. We will have two versions: a 13 minutes film for TV’s and a 35 minutes one for film festivals abroad.

2) A paintings’ exhibition on Sikhism, on the same lines than the one I just did on Aurangzeb (see below the beheading of Guru Teg Bahadur) and the one I am preparing on Shivaji – that is original paintings signed and dated in Moghol miniature style, depicting impeccably documented historical scenes. I am looking for sponsors who could have a share in the exhibition, either in the sales of the paintings when we have shown it in India and the US, or in their ownership.

3) A Coffee Table Book with some of the photos shot during the film plus the paintings of the exhibition, recounting the birth of Sikhism and its history. We will have to find a publisher who will bear the costs.

A. Budget for the Documentary film

* We begin by shooting a film in Delhi, using our personal contacts, to find out Punjabi and Sikh survivors of 1947 atrocities. Then we can move on to Punjab (hence the added staying and travel expenses).

* It is important that a photographer be present along the cameraman (and a sound person), so that we can have stills for the exhibition and the future Coffee Table book.
The budget has been made for 30 full working days, which can be spread out according to the team’s availability.

Cameraman 30 days (8 hours) by 4000 Rs a day (with video) = 120.000

Soundman 30 days. 1200 RS a day = 36.000

Cameraman. 30 days by 1000 Rs a day = 30.000

* Traveling Expenses to Punjab. 4 trips for 3 people = 40.0000

* Board and Lodging Punjab. 20 days. 3 people. 50.000 rs

* Studio.60 hours editing by 1000 Rs a day = 60.000 Rs

* Printing/ Framing 60 photos for exhibition = 100.000

* Miscellaneous expenses = 25.000 Rs

TOTAL 4.61000 RS (four lakhs sixty one thousand rupees)


I. 40 paintings on an average @ Rs.30,000/- 12 LAKHS RUPEES

10 sketches @ RS10,000/- 1 LAKH

II. 20 Photographs @ 10.000 RS 2 LAKHS

III. Main Researcher to get in 4 instalments 1,20,000.00


1. Framing, mounting of paintings, sketches, documents, map, etc. in all about 79 exhibits

2. Two Committee Members to examine, advise, control quality of paintings etc. 20,000.00

Transportation (pick up van) of framed exhibits 10,000.00

Outside visits 25,000.00
Translations 10,000.00
Xeroxing and Typing 10,000.00
Printing Press charges 20,000.00
Local transport, currier, phones, dak, runner boy 5,000.00
Contingency 10,000.00



Yours truly
François Gautier