Lajwanti – A Short Story by Rajinder singh Bedi

On 8th January, 2022, Gyaan Adab started off the year by revisiting a heart wrenching story by noted short story writer- Rajinder Singh Bedi. He was an Indian writer of the Progressive Writers Movement, who later directed films and wrote screenplays and dialogues for Hindi cinema. Considered one of the foremost Urdu fiction writers of the 20th Century, he is famous for poignant and effective short stories.

Lajwanti is a tale that reflects the stark reality of many women who were abducted during the Partition.

The story is about Sundar Lal and his reunion with his abducted wife, Lajwanti. Set amidst brutal violence, the story explores the plight of hapless women who were abducted on both sides of the newly-etched border – and their subsequent rehabilitation.

In his dramatic story, Bedi points out the stark and shameful reality of the rehabilitation process. He reveals the many emotions at play: between a husband and his repatriated wife; of the many women who came back only to be rejected by their families; of women confronted with society’s misplaced sense of honour; of being told to commit suicide because they were ‘tarnished’ and no longer acceptable in the community.

Gyaan Adab’s trustees, Farook and Nasima Merchant gave our audiences an in-depth understanding of the historic incident where women were trafficked. They further read and discussed the story Lajwanti. Towards the end of the programme, we had some very valuable insights from our members Sanjay Saksena, Sanjay Bharadwaj and Ruksana Jamadar.

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