The opening paragraph in the Delhi High Court’s 207-page verdict has a reference to the Partition — and a poem.
“In the summer of 1947, during Partition, this country witnessed horrific mass crimes where several lakhs of civilians, including Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus were massacred. A young poet, Amrita Pritam, who fled to this country with her two little children from Lahore, was witness to the manifold tragedies during that perilous journey,” the bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel noted.
“She was moved to pen an ‘Ode to Waris Shah’ in which she spoke of the fertile land of Punjab having ‘sprouted poisonous weeds far and near’ and where ‘seeds of hatred have grown high, bloodshed is everywhere/poisoned breeze in forest turned bamboo flutes into snakes/their venom has turned the bright and rosy Punjab all blue’. The killings would continue in the streets of Delhi,” it added, referring to the 1984 riots.