Skip to main content

There Is No “Migrant Crisis”

By Harsha Walia in Boston Review

The problem isn’t new; it’s the bordered logic of global apartheid itself.

I grew up on the short story “Toba Tek Singh,” an Urdu satire on the Partition. While the story’s protagonist is a Sikh man, for whom the story is named, the character that stuck with me most was an unnamed man in a mental health facility in Lahore. Refusing to take part in the partitioning of patients between India and Pakistan, he climbed onto a tree and proclaimed, “I do not want to live in either India or Pakistan. I am going to make my home here in this tree.”

The Partition—the scars of which reverberate today in brahiminical Hindutva fascism, the genocidal Indian occupation of Kashmir, mass protests of debt-ridden farmers, and counterinsurgency in Panjab—displaced at least 15 million people and killed at least one million across the newly drawn borders. My grandfather’s own family was displaced from their village, after which he started working the passenger and cargo trains that transported up to 5,000 refugees a day. He later recounted stories of torture, kidnappings, burnings, rapes, and massacres. In the afterlife of this carnage, I found the seemingly mad man on the tree marvelously rebellious and utterly lucid.  FOR MORE

This article is in Amy Worthen’s post Warm Up Bones from 12/12/22


CULTURE, family history, racism, social justice, women leaders, womens history

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *