After Partition, it was hard to cross into Pakistan as an Indian citizen. My sister Rani’s letters connected me to the family I had been separated from.In Fourth Letter, Rani writes about leaving her house, now that her children have moved away from their home in Pakistan. With her daughter married and her son studying in the United States, the house felt too large for her husband and her. She ends her letter with, “my little sister, please don’t cry, but when you come to the house it feels like home and I missed you very much when you didn’t visit this spring.”

When I could visit her house, she would lead me to the garden and say, “Remember this fragrance?” It would be a plant that grew in our family’s garden in Aligarh. She had filled her garden with plants and flowers from our childhood home, and in a way she was creating a home we could share. Many people have asked why I titled this portfolio Letters from Home when I have never lived in Pakistan. For me, home is not a place. It is wherever the people you care about most are waiting for you.


  • Title: Letters from Home-VII
  • Creator: Zarina Hashmi
  • Date Created: 2004
  • Location: New Delhi
  • Physical Dimensions: 65 x 47 cm
  • Type: Print
  • Method or Style: Handmade Kozo paper and mounted on Somerset paper
  • Collaborating Institution: Devi Art Foundation

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