Jasdip Singh Chandok (47), an Indian, and Sajid Tarar (50), a Pakistani, who run a help centre for the mentally challenged in Maryland area of Washington, have decided to bring their native countries closer by seeking a memorial to the victims of Partition of India in 1947, which involved thousands of people dying and a large number being displaced.
"We are approaching the International Court of Justice in The Hague, seeking directions for the Indian, Pakistani and British governments. The dark chapter of the history that occurred in South Asia 68 years ago has not been closed yet," Sajad and Jasdip told the Hindustan Times. They demanded a joint forum at the level of the three governments so that the issue is dealt with compassion.
"There is no end to the pain, and the last generation of Partition victims has crossed the age of 70. Do we want all those who suffered during Partition to die without healing their wounds?" said Jasdip Singh, known as Jesse Singh, who migrated from Indore in Madhya Pradesh in 1986. His parents migrated from Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan, during Partition.
Tarar hails from Gujarat district in Pakistan.
"It was a bloody chapter in the history of India and Pakistan and also England; we must raise a memorial," demanded Sajad, suggesting that the location for the memorial should be on the India-Pakistan border where people from both sides could visit it and share the grief.
"Approaching the international court may be a lengthy and costly affair but we have decided to take it up at any cost," said Sajad, himself a lawyer.
The two feel India and Pakistan continue to share strained relations since Partition and the two governments never thought about the plight of the victims of Partition.
Sajad and Jesse, who run a centre supporting over 250 mentally challenged people through the NGO, Centre for social change, have decided to support the Pingalwara in Amritsar. "We met Inderjeet Kaur, head of the Pingalwara, during our recent visit to Amritsar. We want to support the organisation that is serving the poor and needy in my native country," Jasdip said.