Book Review: Gulzar – Footprints on Zero Line

Book: Footprints on Zero Line

Author: Gulzar, translated by Rakhshanda Jalil

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Pages: 206 pages

Price: Rs. 399/-

Through this book Gulzar, the poet, story teller, writer, lyricist has presented the pain and agony he himself has passed through or one can say still passing through, which the people had who had faced as the consequences of Partition. He is one among those lakhs of refugees, who left everything on the either side, to carry only the memories all through the life. Gulzar Sahab has dedicated this book to Dina, his birthplace now in Pakistan.

The book “Footprints on Zero Line” which is a first person account which Gulzar Sahab had experience during the Partition is a collection of 19 Poems and 13 Short stories by him on Partition which is translated by Writer and Literary Historian Rakhshanda Jalil, who beautifully presented the thoughts and memories of Gulzar Sahab keeping its essence intact.

In the book Zero line Gulzar writes in the first poem by the same name ‘Zero Line’ he writes, “When I came to stand at the Zero line, My Shadow fell in Pakistan. The sun was behind me and my Abbu was standing in front. He saw me, resting his stick on the ground. He smiled and said, when I left my body there. I come back home”. The word speaks the mind and pain full of emotions of loosing one’s root.

Gulzar Sahab who is a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Award and the Padma Bhushan. Who, was awarded an Oscar for his song ‘Jai ho’ in “Slumdog Millionaire” in the year 2008. Receiptant of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2014 says, as we celebrate our 70th Independence. I have witnessed the Partition. I have experienced the Partition. Standing on Zero Line I am still watching the trail of Partition. Seventy years have passed. Time has not been able to blow off the footprints. I don’t know how long it will take for them to sink into history and be the past. Is a pertinent question indeed?