I did not celebrate the Independence Day on August 15 in 1947 because I was a refugee at that time. With my parents and two brothers I had taken shelter in the safer cantonment of my hometown, Sialkot. Nor did I celebrate the Independence Day of Pakistan on August 14, a day earlier, because the shadow of partition had already cast gloom all over. News of killings and migration of people from their homes had spread to Sialkot itself. We too were leaving the house. And many outsiders, who were living in India, were pouring into the city, polluting its atmosphere. Yet I felt a strange feeling of elation and depression. Elation was because we had freed ourselves from the clutches of the British after the 150-year-long rule of authoritarianism and untold atrocities. Depression was due to the uncertain future that confronted me as a refugee. I did not know what to do next. I had just passed out from the Law College, Lahore. Indeed, I heard Jawaharlal Nehru's midnight speech on the All India Radio - one could still catch it in Pakistan - "Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially..." I had earlier listened to Pakistan Radio broadcast of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's speech. He said: "You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan...you may belong to any religion or caste or creed...that has nothing to do with the business of the state..." Both speeches evoked hope but sounded like distant beats of drums, heralding a new era at a time when Hindus and Sikhs from the Pakistan Punjab and Muslims from India's Punjab were in the midst of proceeding from the places they had lived for generations to the other side of the border. Loud cries of their suffering at the hand of assailants had muffled the drumbeats. In fact, they rubbed salt on the wounds of the refugees. One million of them died and 20 million left their homes and hearths, friends and neighbours to reconstruct a new life in new environments. Was the "tryst with destiny" or "freedom to go to temples" meant a fresh start or destruction of our identity? Were the promises made by the leaders on both sides false? A new dawn was supposed to herald. People, particularly women and children, were victims of the fury of those who saw people of other religion as their enemy. It would have been ideal if the people had stayed back at their homes. But could they have? Still when we left, we thought we would return after things had settled down. They never did. Even after 62 years they have not. People were earlier pitted as Hindus and Sikhs against Muslims. Today, they confront each other as Indians and Pakistanis. The same enmity is there. Was independence the real independence? This is what Urdu revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz said. I translate it in English: This stained light, this night-bitten dawn, This is not the dawn we yearned for, This is not the dawn, For which we set out so eagerly. Tragedies can never be treasured. Nor should they be. They scratch wound every time it begins to get crust, to heal. Peace and friendship are important, but they do not have to blot out the memories. Can we consider what happened during partition as a lesson for the next generations that religious bigotry can blind people to the basic values of respecting a human life and make them barbarians? The writer is a former member of the Indian Parliament and senior journalist.