The chaos and violence of Partition affected so many, but it’s impact on women was arguably greater. This sculpture by camp commander S.L. Parasher, was made from the earth of Ambala’s Baldev Nagar refugee camp, and speaks to the unspeakable violence inflicted on so many women during the time.
Born in Gujranwala, west Punjab (now Pakistan) in 1904, Parasher took his masters degree in English literature from the Forman Christian College, Lahore. In 1936, he joined the Mayo School of Art as a lecturer and vice principal. Towards 1947, Parasher’s first hope was of staying in the re-invented Pakistan. This was not to be – he had to move to Shimla, further to Bombay, and Parasher finally settled in Delhi. Through these tumultuous times, emblazoned on several paintings, sketches, even sculptures is Parasher’s experience of agony, trauma, belongingness, alienation, and hope vis-à-vis the Partition. A fiercely private man, Parasher did not let anyone see this work, and it was discovered only after his death.
This has been made available to the Partition Museum, courtesy Parasher’s family.