From Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed's article on the great singer Mohammad Rafi's ancestral village Kotla Sultan Singh in Amritsar district.
In 1945 Rafi was married to his cousin Bashira(n) here in the village. We all took part in the wedding ceremony. He told me about his efforts to get a break as a playback singer in the Lahore film industry. Soon his songs began to be played on the radio and we learnt that he had gone to Bombay to try his luck there. In 1947, the Muslims of our village had to go to Pakistan. Miscreants from other villages attacked them and some were killed.
In Delhi, I told the Rafi story to Nirupama Dutt, a leading Indian journalist. She explained why Rafi may have hesitated to visit Kotla Sultan Singh. She said, The women of the Kotla Sultan Singh once told another interviewer that when the Muslims of their village were attacked in 1947, some women from Rafi's biradari were abducted by the raiders. He possibly felt uncomfortable coming again to Kotla Sultan Singh. That made a lot of sense to me.
For us on both sides of the India-Pakistan border, who seek common roots and heroes, building a Rafi Memorial at Kotla Sultan Singh must be an essential item on our agenda for the future.
The author is an associate professor of Political Science at Stockholm University. He is the author of two books. His email address is Ishtiaq.Ahmed@statsvet.su.se