Garam Hawa (Scorching Winds)


On an everyday basis, our generation is inching away from the past and the glories associated with our ancestors. There are numerous reasons to dwell on regarding this observation, and many would even disagree. They should. Although not digging deep into the observatory discussion, for now, we must realize that history is beautiful. Even the undulating slopes through which it has traveled have left behind some beautiful experiences to share and tell tales about. Whether it be the tales of Ibn Batuta, the famous traveler, or your uncle or grandfather marinating the air of today with the essence of the past, history never seizes to amaze.

One such monumental event in the very recent history of the Hind (the Indian subcontinent) would be the Indo-Pak partition. The iotas of bitterness of which can still be felt. The event has been well documented and has been fictionalized as well. There are literary masterpieces which tell tales of the experience of many.

There is one masterpiece (although not literary) which has been one of my personal favorites for a long while now, which is the movie Garam Hawa (Scorching Winds) 1974 directed by M.S. Sathyu. The movie focuses on a post-partition India where a Muslim family has to struggle for their rights in a country which was once theirs. There are haunting references and beautiful prose of Urdu in the movie. One very powerful musical piece from the movie “Maula Salim Chishti” has been an all time favorite of many.

The movie reminds me of my childhood days and the bittersweet stories my grandmother used to tell my sister and me about the partition. The movie ends with a spine-chilling poetic verse of Kaifi Azmi:

“Jo door se karte hain toofan ka nazara
Unke liye toofan yahan bhi hai, wahan bhi
Mil jaoge dhaara mein to ban jaoge dhaara
Ye waqt ka ailaan yahan bhi hai, wahan bhi.”