Saraf Din was fifty-five at the time of Partition and looked just like a Sikh, wearing a pagri and beard matching that of his father and brothers. To me this sounds almost surreal; a Muslim boy with a Sikh father and Sikh brothers and sisters. However, I am told that contrary to what most Pakistanis and Indians like myself believe today, such hazy divisions were common in the pre-Partition days, when communities intermingled with each other, their identities getting diluted in the process. Ashiq, unlike myself, has grown up hearing such stories from his father. His understanding of the ‘other’ is not rigid like mine, nor is the division between India and Pakistan and Indians and Pakistanis as stark. Living at the border, where he can see Indians across from him, further reiterates the arbitrariness of the lines of division. Despite the armed forces and border controls, he has probably come into contact with far more Indians than the ordinary Pakistani. They are not strange and imaginary figures for him but instead, are a part of his daily existence.
- Excerpt from Anam Zakaria's "The prisoners of Partition: The blurred borders of 1947"