American Turban

The “burly, tough and slightly grim” Sikhs

"1947: A Sikh man carrying his wife on his shoulders, migrating to Punjab after the partition of India. Photo by Margaret Bourke-White" (from: happyindianfamilies.tumblr.com)

"1947: A Sikh man carrying his wife on his shoulders, migrating to Punjab after the partition of India. Photo by Margaret Bourke-White" (from: happyindianfamilies.tumblr.com)

They are the burliest men on the face of the planet – tough and capable and slightly grim. If human life survives the present chapter of Man’s history, the Sikhs, for sure, will still be on the map.

— An excerpt from a post on SikhChic of an interesting essay from 1958 by British historian Arnold J. Toynbee in which he wrote about the partition of the Sikh homeland in 1947.  

The partition of Punjab was carried out by the departing British rulers of India to create the countries of India and Pakistan.  The carve-out of each of these nations resulted in one of the largest mass migrations of people, in which 15 million people were displaced from their homes and became refugees. It is estimated that up to one million people were killed in resulting communal riots. 

Sikhs were separated from key religious/historical sites, and more importantly from their families. Even today, stories emerge of families that have reunited after more than 60 years since this tragic event.

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