Life Back Then

My family in Bannu and India

Author: 
Pradeep Kumar Banga

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Pradeep Kumar Banga

Pradeep Kumar Banga was born in Narsinghpur, Madhya Pradesh, where his father worked in the Government’s Public Works Department after leaving Bannu for India.

Pradeep did his Mechanical Engineering from Maulana Azad College of Technology (now NIT), Bhopal in 1977, and joined Steel Authority of India Limited in May 1978. He retired from the Bhilai Steel Plant in Dec 2015.

Author’s note: I was born in India after Independence. Hence, all the information I have about Bannu, which went to Pakistan, is through what I have heard from my elders.

My grandparents’ generation

My grandfather, Dr. Partool Chand Banga, practiced medicine in Bannu. He got his LMP (Licensed Medical Practitioner) degree from Agra in 1922.

Remembering (?) the Day India Became Free

Author: 
T.S. Nagarajan

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T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.



Chikkanayakanahalli is a small town about 130 km from Bangalore. I still remember vividly that a group of people – volunteers for the Independence movement – stopped my friends and me as we were walking to our school. They snatched the felt hat I was wearing and threw it on a bonfire of clothes. As the rising flames swallowed my hat, I felt a sense of shock at losing my precious possession and walked back home, crying all the way. It was the Quit India year, 1942.

On the day India became independent, I was a schoolboy in a small town called Doddaballapur in Karnataka. My father was the doctor in charge of the government hospital there. We lived in a small ‘out house’, a two-room block, behind a local jeweller’s mansion. My mother and the rest of the family were in Mysore, about 180 km away.

From Balloki to Shimla – August 1947

Author: 
Veena Sharma

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Veena Sharma

Veena is a scholar in African studies, in which she has a PhD from JNU, Delhi, and Vedanta, in which she is self-taught. She retired as the Head of All-India Radio's Swahili Service, broadcasting every day in Swahili for 22 years. For over 15 years, she has taught the philosophy of leisure at the International Centre of Excellence, Wageningen, Netherlands. She is the author of Kailash Manasarovar: A Saced Journey (Roli Books 2004). In recent years she has given talks on the Upanishads in many countries. At present, she is the Chairperson of Prajna Foundation, an NGO dedicated to educational and cultural activities, and the development of economically non-privileged youth and children

In 1947, I was six, getting on to seven. My parents, elder brother, a younger sister and I were living in Balloki, a small township in western part of undivided Punjab, located on the site of a headworks from where the Bari Doab canal emerged from the Ravi River. My father, the Executive Engineer in charge of the headworks, had been posted there three years earlier.

Apart from my parents and siblings, there were a lot of people around in our household, all of whom seemed to be like members of our extended family. Called by different names or designations like chowkidars, malis, beldars, orderlies, mates and so on, they were in and out of the house at all times of day and night.

Life around Kukkarhalli tank Mysore in the 1940s

Author: 
M. P. V. Shenoi

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Shenoi, a civil engineer and MBA, rose to the rank of Deputy Director-General of Works in the Indian Defence Service of Engineers. He has also been a member of HUDCO’s advisory board and of the planning team for Navi Mumbai. After retirement he has been helping NGOs in employment-oriented training, writing articles related to all aspects of housing, urban settlements, infrastructure, project and facility management and advising several companies on these issues.His email id is mpvshanoi@gmail.com.

In the early part of the 20th century, the former Princely State of Mysore, covering the southern part of the Deccan plateau, had an excellent network of water tanks (lake), with water overflow from one tank draining into a downstream tank, and so conserving water to the extent possible without any modern technology (see Annex for more details.

However, since these tanks, with their stagnant water, were also associated with malaria, over time many of the tanks within and near the major towns were drained out.

By the time I was ten years old, in the 1940s, in Mysore city we had only the Kukkarhalli tank at the western end and the Karanji tank at the eastern end near the zoo. Both were in disrepair, yet they were the source of pleasure and adventure for boys like me who loved the outdoors. These were the places where boys from the poorer families could learn how to swim, perform crude aquatics, and catch fish. Though there were a few swimming pools in Mysore, they were in palaces or hotels, and few people had access to them. So, the tanks did attract a sizable number of people.

Growing up in Lucknow in 1940-1950s

Author: 
Dinesh Chandra Sanghi

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Dinesh, born 1936, studied commerce and won gold medals for his academic excellence. A certificated associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers, he held many key positions during his 36 years with the State Bank of India (SBI), including co-founder and Vice-Principal, SBI Staff College, and CEO SBI California, USA. He retired as Deputy Managing Director SBI, on deputation to State Bank of Indore as its Managing Director. He loves music, reading, writing, travelling He lives with his wife in New Delhi, while his children and grandchildren reside in USA.

My father, late Shri Harish Chandra Sanghi, was one of the ten children (seven brothers and three sisters) of a family living in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. He went for his education to Banaras Hindu University and Allahabad University. In the late 1930s, my parents settled down in Lucknow – the capital city of what was United Provinces in those days, renamed Uttar Pradesh after Independence. Prior to British rule, the area was called Awadh, though the British usually spelled it as Oudh.

Roses Red and Papers Brown: Five Years at Delhi University

Author: 
Surjit Mansingh

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Surjit was brought up in many different places in India, went from Delhi University into the Indian Foreign Service, and subsequently joined her husband in academics, shuttling between India and the United States. Now a semi-retired professor with two grown-up sons, she lives with her Himalayan cat, music, books, and walks in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



Editor’s Note: This piece was originally written for “Down Memory Lane: The Platinum Year 1922-1997”, Delhi: University of Delhi” 2000 when the author was a Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The author was a Delhi University student over 1953-58 in Miranda House.

Roses. Roses. It was not roses all the way, not by a long stretch, and there was no myrtle strewn on the muddy paths. But it is roses I remember best, in serried ranks of yellow and white, pink and flame and hectic red, encircling the fountain. Where on its steps I was accustomed to pass winter afternoons, book in lap, heady with the scented air\; until a sudden chill, a change of light, or a dry throat, reminded me that it was time for tea.

Growing Up in Small-town Rajasthan

Author: 
Kailash Mathur

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Kailash, called Chanda by his parents, is an electrical engineer, who was born in Tijara, which is even now a very small city in Rajasthan. He lived in East Germany from 1965 to 1971, where he married Annemarie, a German, in 1969. Since 1971, he has lived in Vienna, Austria. He became a widower when Annemarie died of cancer in 2004.

It’s transfer time! 1946-57

My father was a civil servant in Rajasthan, who was transferred frequently in the early part of his career. So, as children (six brothers and two sisters) we never stayed in one city for more than four years and in some not even for two years. Between 1946, from where my memory starts, until 1958, when I started to go college, we lived, in succession, in Alwar, Bharatpur, Alwar, Udaipur, Jhalawar, Bikaner, and Ajmer, all in Rajasthan. It is often said that children suffer from transfers because each time they move to a new city they face a new school, a different way of teaching, new classmates, new books, etc.

Fortunately, I do not remember suffering in my school performance from these transfers\; instead, I can clearly remember having enjoyed the transfer upheavals.

The transfer news was always a big shock/event and it changed the family life like an earthquake. Mummy always had to do the biggest share of the work for transfers. We children were of no help to her and did not take part in any serious activity. A lot of food and snacks were cooked in preparation of the journey and packed in various boxes, so that we hardly ever bought anything at the train stops.

Memories of Village Bihar

Author: 
F. Tomasson Jannuzi

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I arrived in Bihar in 1956 as a student from USA. I was excited at the prospect of getting to know “village India” – I was on a mission to understand the dynamic features of India’s rural economy. I had got to know a little of India as a Senior Fellow at Dartmouth College in the United States, and as a post-graduate student at the School of Oriental and African Studies and at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London.

As it turned out, I had no idea how incomplete and fragmented was my knowledge of India, and especially “village India.” My sense of rural India did not differentiate between the descriptions of villages in the Punjab articulated by distinguished representatives of the British Raj like Sir Malcolm Darling (author of Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt) and the writings of Harold Mann (who described agrarian conditions in Maharashtra).

What is more, my perceptions of village India were wrapped, in a sense, in the Khadi of Indian nationalism and the modernizing ideals enshrined in the Constitution of India, the writings of Mahatma Gandhi, and the polemics of some of the politicians and urban intellectuals who led India to freedom from the British. I was assuming, naively, that “village India” was infused with commonalities: twin bullocks pulling a plow, Persian wheels lifting water from wells, mud huts of uniform design, thatched with straw.

The Thrill of the 1937 Election

Author: 
R C Mody

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R C Mody

R C Mody is a postgraduate in Economics and a Certificated Associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers. He studied at Raj Rishi College (Alwar), Agra College (Agra), and Forman Christian College (Lahore). For over 35 years, he worked for the Reserve Bank of India, where he headed several all-India departments, and was also Principal of the Staff College. Now (2009) 82 years old, he is busy in social work, reading, writing, and travelling. He lives in New Delhi with his wife. His email address is rmody@airtelmail.in.

 

The year 1937 was, in a way, a turning point in my life. I was 11 years old and not expected to know much about or be interested in politics. Yet the happenings of that year created in me an interest that normally would have arisen when I was many years older.

Early that year, India held its first general election to its eleven provincial Assemblies: Bombay, Madras, Bengal, United Provinces, Punjab, Central Provinces, Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Sind and North West Frontier Province. This was under the Government of India Act of 1935, which granted ‘Autonomy' to the provinces. This Act created two new provinces, Sind and Orissa, and made Burma, an Indian province until then, a separate country.

Satara’s Hanging Banyan Tree फांशीचा वड

Author: 
Arvind Kolhatkar

Category:

arvind kolhatkar

Arvind Kolhatkar spent his childhood in Satara, and later studied at Fergusson College, Pune and the University of Pune. After getting his MA in Mathematics, he joined the Indian Revenue Service, served in the Income Tax Department for about 30 years, rose to the rank of Commissioner, and retired voluntarily. He was an Executive Director of the Bombay Stock Exchange for 3 years. He and his wife Aruna currently live in Toronto. His email address is kolhatkar@hotmail.com.

Until the 1960s, our home at 77 Shukrawar Peth was at the northern end of Satara, Maharashtra. Beyond it, there was a large barren grassy wilderness called Genda Mal, so named after the rhinoceros kept there in Chhatrapati Shahu’s menagerie. 

Our family members would occasionally go there for a morning run or evening walk. A lonely one-branch old Banyan tree standing there had a story behind it.

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