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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
World Stories: Letters from Partition
First broadcast July 2007

The first letter that Harkishan Das Bedi sent to Lahore

BBC World Service journalists come from every corner of the world. Balanced news reporting is their job - covering the news minute-by-minute is what drives them most of them time.

In this special series of programmes, ten BBC journalists tell stories that have a bigger message about life on our planet: emotive, human stories that humble us.

These world stories offer extraordinary insight across cultures. These are the stories our journalists have always wanted to tell.

Programme Ten: Letters from Partition

In the summer of 1947 a letter is received by Chaudri Latif, the Muslim occupant of a house in Lahore, Pakistan.

The letter is from the house's former owner, Harkishan Das Bedi, a Lahori Hindu who has fled east as the partition of the Indian sub-continent turned to tragedy and mass murder.

The contents of that letter would lead to a relationship between the two men that each would rely upon to survive, whilst they remained caught on opposite sides of the conflict generated by the hasty departure of the British colonial power.

What exactly did that letter say and what happened to these two men?

Arif Shamim of the BBC's Urdu Service travels back to the contemporary Punjabs of both India and Pakistan to hear the story of Chaudri and Harkishan.


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