PARTITION- The division of British India into two separate states- India & Pakistan; the consequences were horrific for both sides and for both Hindus and Muslims, not all Indians wanted partition still millions of them moved to what they hoped would be a safer territory with Muslims going to Pakistan & Hindus and Sikhs moving to India.
But not everyone left, the Muslim population in India post-partition was still 9.8% and it was the largest minority in a country of many religions, faiths, & identities. GARAM HAWA(1974) is a film that showcases the plight of Muslims in post-partition India, not in any dramatic way- through violent conflicts between Hindus and Muslims or through melodramatic ways like in PINJAR(2003), BUT Through a story of a common earnest man, who is a Muslim, offer Namaz daily, into his 70s but still fasts for the whole month of Ramzan, but still whenever he in greets his Hindu friends his heart pours out jut two words- RAM! RAM!
Salim mirza played fantastically by Balraj sahni, faced all the reluctance to stay in India, whether it was his business or family’s security, he had every reason to leave India, so does his brother and eldest son and yet the man’s persistent desire to die at the place of his birth remained unshaken. Muslims though largest but were a minority in India and were always under surveillance as a suspect if hidden loyalties for Pakistan an this was shown perfectly in garam hawa when Salim Mirza is denied if credit by Hindu moneylender denied of loan by the bank because he is Muslim, his son though worthy but not getting job anywhere because again he is a Muslim.
GARAM HAWA emphasis on the relationship of a human being with his or her habitat is captured beautifully through the sequence of Dadi’s death, where after getting displaced from her original home she took her last breath only when she returned to her original native home, her Pushtaini haveli. this sequence was done through a DOLI & this scene was masterfully captured with the background score of shadi-music remarking the time when the woman first visited this haveli when she was married here.
In addition to this the image of Doli also make us reimagine the migration effects of partition as it resembles a very similar image of a woman being carried in a doli by two men see the image below:
A Man’s ideals if concrete can not be overturned by even the darkest of events and this was well portrayed through the life of the protagonist Salim Mirza and his challenges while sustaining in his motherland, he was denied credit, loans, home to stay after his real home took over by the government, business failure, son not getting a job, daughter not getting married, daughter’s suicide all of this was enough to discourage him but his persistence lasts longest…Why??? this has a reason in the film’s last voice-over which says – जो दूर से करते है तूफ़ान का नज़ारा उनके लिए तूफ़ान यहाँ भी है, वहां भी;
धारा में जो मिल जाओगे , बन जाओगे धारा,
ये वक्त का एलान है ,वहां भी, यहाँ भी।
You have to watch the film to get the meaning of these beautiful lines. you can watch the GARAM HAWA(1974) on YOUTUBE