An Afternoon with Tom Alter

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Partition of India, an event that left the country in a state of chaos and shock.

A nation united by the diversity of religion and culture was divided on the very basis in 1947.

To reflect more on this event, Mr. Tom Alter, a great mind, an active thinker and a talented actor, visited School of Liberal Arts (SoLA) on invitation from Dean Dr. Uma Narain.

On 28th September, Mr. Tom Alter came to classroom to give an insight into Partition. He comes from a generation that had first-hand experience of the impact of partition. He shared some stories of his childhood with students which provided them with some information about the life of people during that period.

He played an episode from a show, ‘Ik Fursat-e-gunaah’ that means, we have one opportunity to commit a mistake; our life is short and it is the only time we can use to explore. After watching the episode students analysed it and they were able to realize some aspects that they had missed out on. It was a surprise to know that people who chose either country were sure that they would be able to travel back and forth to visit their near and dear ones. That it was just a partition of the two countries. Alas, it was not to be.

Sharing his experience during partition, Mr. Alter said that today Pakistanis are viewed in a negative light however, it is essential for us to remember that they are humans too. He also raised an important question, ‘Why did Partition happen?’ which left all students wondering for the rest of the day. It was a question which had no definite answer.

Tom Alter-SoLATom also discussed and analysed a poem called ‘Subh-e-aazaadii’ by Faiz Ahmed “Faiz”. Every verse was analysed in depth and the meaning of the words were discussed in detail. The main idea of the poem was that people got the freedom but what they were expecting out of the partition they did not get it. He also read the poem and clearly reflected every emotion behind each word.

The ideas shared by Mr. Alter throughout the session left everyone curious and appalled. He also gifted CDs of his show to students who were excited to see the episodes in the future.