Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Partition

I had a recent copy of The New Yorker lying around and I flipped through a few of the articles; one about a new country singer not exactly doing the Nashville thing, and another about how the solar panels system works in respect to hooking into utility companies.  They were okay stories; whatever.

But there was one article that was very interesting to me, whose information I was simply unaware of.  It is called, "The Great Divide," and it referred to The Partition, and how in 1947, with the British government intervening in India's way of life (which I realize is a little subjective), that India, which was somewhat of a homogenized society of Hindu and Muslims, suddenly became much more aware of their religious differences, and began to massacre each other, until eventually, they physically divided (mostly) with Hindu people staying in India and Muslims forming Pakistan.  Apparently it was very complicated because the two peoples shared the same languages and artistic endeavors; something that to this day has been nearly impossible to unravel.  But during the Partition, they were literally killing and raping each other by the thousands. And to be clear, both sides were responsible for these atrocities. 

The article described the ongoing pains that the two countries have always had with each other since the Partition and also how, eventually it has come about, that Pakistan has ended up harboring so many people of unsavory character, fostered the beginnings of the Taliban, and has used what have been essentially terrorists to fight their own battles (I guess you could see the terrorists as mercenaries in that way) and finally, how these terrorist fighters are now out of Pakistan's control.

It was just interesting because I had never heard of this huge rift at all in my North American naiveté. 

This topic reminded me of the only Pakistani person that I ever knew of a long period of time. There was a young woman of about twenty-four years of age that worked on "Pocahontas" as a production assistant who was from Pakistan.  She was very pretty, always ultra-sweet (to me at least), had a cute Pakistani accent, and she dressed in an American way, though, with slight hints of her culture, especially with regard to color schemes.  She reminded me a little of the character, Jasmine, from "Aladdin."  She had a special beauty and radiance about her. 

She went on to work with me on "Fantasia 2000," and then literally one week, she came to the production meeting and told us all that this would be her last couple of weeks with us; that her parents were marrying her off to some man who was prearranged for her by them and another family.  I remember acutely her telling us this with the most matter of fact delivery, which seemed based on complete acceptance and compliance. 

The two weeks went by, and after working with her constantly for four years, we never saw or heard from her again. It was the strangest thing for us, the American bred people of complete autonomously chosen life directions.  The lesson for all of us was that when push came to shove, as Americanized as she seemed, she abided by her traditional Pakistani customs and she seemed to easily accept the matrimonial fate that was handed to her by her elders.  It was just a little jarring for the rest of us making an animated movie.  I hope she is well.