“Religion had never played a part in our lives but when Partition happened, it suddenly began to,” Rasheeda Husain recalls. Mrs. Husain was born Rasheeda Akhund to a Sindhi-speaking family in 1928 at Hyderabad, Sindh. Mrs. Husain fondly remembers sharing a close bond with her grandmother, who was a nurse and certified midwife. At the time of Partition, Mrs. Husain was living at the hostel in Kinnaird College in Lahore. “We were told to put the lights out early at night due to the ongoing riots outside. There were thirty or forty of us on the floor. The girl next to me was sleeping with a knife that she had tied in a belt wrapped around her waist. Suddenly I was scared and I was crying in fear thinking, ‘What if she pierces me with that knife in my sleep?’ Remembering this later on, I was so shocked at my natural distrust in that girl,” she says. “Religion had never played a part in our lives but when Partition happened, it suddenly began to. It created the worst kind of fear, bitter hatred, and mistrust.”
Recounting events back at home in Hyderabad during Partition, Mrs. Husain says that, “The same fear we’d experienced led many Hindu families to pack up and leave their homes and entrust their belongings to the Muslim neighbors who helped them to migrate in complete safety, and took exceptionally good care of the incoming refugees. My grandmother galvanized many families to provide succour to the refugees. It was edifying to see her lead them at railway stations carrying stretchers of the sick and ailing,” she remembers. In 2011, Mrs. Husain published a collection of her grandmother's memoirs titled, 'Footprints in Time: Reminiscences of a Sindhi matriarch'. In 1965, Mrs. Husain became part of the Family Planning Association of Pakistan where she worked for several years. She has executed several women’s development projects in rural areas of Sindh and is one of the founding directors of the Women’s Action Forum (WAF).