Life Back Then

Youthful days in Mysore city 1940s-1950s

Author: 
Bapu Satyanarayana

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Bapu Satyanarayana, born 1932 in Bangalore, retired as Chief Engineer, Ministry of Surface Transport. At present, he is the presiding arbitrator of the Dispute Adjudication Board appointed by the National Highway Authority of India. He lives in Mysore, and enjoys writing for various newspapers and magazines on a variety of subjects, including political and civic issues.

 

Grandstand view

It seems so long ago, nearly 70 years ago (in the 1940s and the 1950s) when life in Mysore city was so simple and uncomplicated.

It was the time when children like me spent more time playing various games in the field, and were not burdened, like children now, with homework and tuition classes. We had a healthy respect for our teachers, mixed with fear, that shaped our values to succeed in life.

I was living in house No. 1498/2 on the road called Weavers Lane, presently known as Ram Iyer's street, running behind Sharada Vilas High School in Krishna Murthy Puram. On the eastern side, there was a wide expanse of open field in front of our row of houses, which, during the evenings, it was teeming with children playing cricket, football, basketball, Kho-Kho and Chinni Dandu.

There was a road going round it, where one could see long distance runners practicing.

Railway Travel in the Raj

Author: 
Ken Staynor

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Kenneth Hugh Staynor was  born at Madhupur on 16 September 1927. In 1929, his family went to the United Kingdom, and returned to India in 1931 to Kurseong, where his father was a teacher, and later Headmaster, at  Victoria School.  Kenneth was educated at St. Josephs College, Darjeeling, and St Mary's High School, Mount Abu. He left India in August 1951 for permanent residence in the UK to get into research and development in engineering, which was not available in India, and because his ancestral roots were in the UK. He lives in South Wales after retirement. His wife passed away in January 2010\; he has three sons, five grandsons, five granddaughters and one great granddaughter.

A journey by train has always been one of the great joys in my life, but the train journeys I made in India on the great railways of the Raj are the most enjoyable and memorable.

The memories of those journeys date back to August 1931, when as a young lad, arriving at Bombay from the UK, I made a journey of some one thousand two hundred miles from Victoria Terminus of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway  to  Dhanbad on the East Indian Railway, where my grandfather was the Yardmaster. Till then I was familiar only with the trains of the Southern Railway in England with their corridor trains and similar trains in Europe.

Mhow to Mt. Abu by Train (1943)

Author: 
Ken Staynor

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Kenneth Hugh Staynor was  born at Madhupur on 16 September 1927. In 1929, his family went to the United Kingdom, and returned to India in 1931 to Kurseong, where his father was a teacher, and later Headmaster, at  Victoria School.  Kenneth was educated at St. Josephs College, Darjeeling, and St Mary's High School, Mount Abu. He left India in August 1951 for permanent residence in the UK to get into research and development in engineering, which was not available in India, and because his ancestral roots were in the UK. He lives in South Wales after retirement. His wife passed away in January 2010\; he has three sons, five grandsons, five granddaughters and one great granddaughter.

Editor's note: This is part of a chapter from Mr. Staynor's forthcoming book. A shorter version this article first appeared at http://irfca.org/apps/trip_reports/show/410.

1943 saw a significant change in my life.

Before that I had got used to life in relative civilisation in places like Calcutta, Darjeeling, Delhi and Simla and several towns on the East Indian Railway where there was mains electricity, running water on tap and proper up to date sanitary arrangements such as flush toilets, et cetera!

No railway bridge over the Brahmaputra

Author: 
Ken Staynor

Category:


Kenneth Hugh Staynor was  born at Madhupur on 16 September 1927. In 1929, his family went to the United Kingdom, and returned to India in 1931 to Kurseong, where his father was a teacher, and later Headmaster, at  Victoria School.  Kenneth was educated at St. Josephs College, Darjeeling, and St Mary's High School, Mount Abu. He left India in August 1951 for permanent residence in the UK to get into research and development in engineering, which was not available in India, and because his ancestral roots were in the UK. He lives in South Wales after retirement. His wife passed away in January 2010\; he has three sons, five grandsons, five granddaughters and one great granddaughter.

 

Editor's note: This is part of a chapter from Mr. Staynor's forthcoming book.

In 1947, one afternoon, I met a man in the lounge of the Calcutta Great Eastern Hotel.
He was drowning his sorrows with ‘Scotch on the rocks' after a journey from Bombay, en route to an appointment at some British mining or oil establishment in a place called Digboi in the extreme Northeast of Assam. He hailed from Aberdeen and had arrived at Bombay aboard the P&amp\;O ship Strathmore, but unfortunately he was not booked in the Air-Conditioned Coach on The Calcutta Mail.

Integrity in the Railway Board: Past and Now

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 the Principal of the RBI Staff College. Now (2013) 86 years old, he is engaged in social work, reading, writing, and travelling. He lives in New Delhi with his wife. His email address is rameshcmody@gmail.com.

 

Past (1950s)

In the past, Indian Railways was one of the most revered institutions of the country with highest traditions of efficiency and public service. My uncle told me this story of an event that took place in 1954. He was a close friend and classmate at Roorkee University of the two persons in his story.

At this time, the Railway Board was being reconstituted, and its Chairman and Members were to be selected. Two persons were being considered for the Chairman's job. They were G Pande and K P Mushran.

Breakup of the North Western Railway and the Anglo-Indian community

Author: 
Ken Staynor

Category:


Kenneth Hugh Staynor was  born at Madhupur on 16 September 1927. In 1929, his family went to the United Kingdom, and returned to India in 1931 to Kurseong, where his father was a teacher, and later Headmaster, at  Victoria School.  Kenneth was educated at St. Josephs College, Darjeeling, and St Mary's High School, Mount Abu. He left India in August 1951 for permanent residence in the UK to get into research and development in engineering, which was not available in India, and because his ancestral roots were in the UK. He lives in South Wales after retirement. His wife passed away in January 2010\; he has three sons, five grandsons, five granddaughters and one great granddaughter.

Editor's note: This is part of a chapter from Mr. Staynor's forthcoming book on the Indian Raiwalys.

Before India’s partition in 1947, the North Western Railway (NWR) had several prestigious trains running on its lines.

These included the world famous Frontier Mail, a through train with the BB&amp\;CIR from Bombay Central to Peshawar, (although this train lost a lot of its glamour after Rawalpindi), the Punjab Mails, through trains from both Calcutta and Bombay Victoria Terminus to Lahore, and the Karachi Mail between Lahore and Karachi. And, not to forget, the Sind Express from Peshawar to Karachi via Campbellpore, where it left the main line and followed the River Indus, keeping to its left bank through Mianwali and Darya Khan, and joining the Lahore-Karachi Main Line at Muzaffagarh, just south of Multan.

Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in pre-1947 Lahore

Author: 
Abdul Hameed

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Abdul Hameed was born in 1928 in Amritsar. He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India. After working at Radio Pakistan for several years, he joined the Voice of America. He wrote novels, short stories, columns for national newspapers, and programmes for radio and television. He passed away in Lahore in 2011.

Editor's note: This story originally appeared at http://www.apnaorg.com/columns/ahameed/column-40.html

There were 300,000 Hindus and Sikhs living in Lahore as Independence approached.

By August 19, 1947, that number had sunk to 10,000, and by the end of the month to just 1,000. The majority moved to India. Many were killed, though there is no knowing their number. Some neighbourhoods of the city were entirely Hindu and Sikh, others were mixed, while some were solely Muslim. Gumti Bazaar was a purely Hindu neighbourhood, with the exception of one resident: Maulana Salahuddin Ahmed, editor of Adabi Duniya, the leading Urdu literary journal of its time.

Early Memories of pre-1947 Lahore

Author: 
Abdul Hameed

Category:

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Abdul Hameed was born in 1928 in Amritsar. He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India. After working at Radio Pakistan for several years, he joined the Voice of America. He wrote novels, short stories, columns for national newspapers, and programmes for radio and television. He passed away in Lahore in 2011.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared at http://www.apnaorg.com/columns/ahameed/column-1.html

Lahore — the very name is magic to me. There is something inscrutable about this name.

It is like a spell that casts itself even on those who do not believe in spells. I do not see Lahore as just a city: it is more like a feeling. As you walk through its dimly lit streets and its ancient gardens, this mysterious feeling that is Lahore grips your heart. You feel that your relationship with this city and its spirit has been there forever, and nothing will ever break it.

Memories of pre-1947 Kohat and a visit in 2004

Author: 
Jai Gopal Sethi and Anand Seth

Category:

I was born in Kohat, now in Pakistan. After partition, my family migrated to Delhi. After my B.E. (Civil) Engineering degree in 1962 from University Of Roorkee, I worked as an engineer in UP’s Irrigation department, and retired as a Superintending Engineer. Now I live in Saket, New Delhi and am the President of M-Block (NE) Saket Cultural and Niwasi Welfare Association, New Delhi. I also served as honorary secretary of the Association for 4 years. It is my endeavour to serve humanity at grass root level.

Editor's note: If you have photos of pre-1947 Kohat, please send them to us at indiaofthepast@gmail.com. We would like to include them after the story.

The city

Let us start with conditions prevailing before India's Partition - starting from the year 1945 or so.

Hindu yogis and sadhus in pre-1947 Lahore

Author: 
Abdul Hameed

Category:


Abdul Hameed was born in 1928 in Amritsar. He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India. After working at Radio Pakistan for several years, he joined the Voice of America. He wrote novels, short stories, columns for national newspapers, and programmes for radio and television. He passed away in Lahore in 2011.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared at http://www.apnaorg.com/columns/ahameed/column-1.html

The present generation has not seen Lahore’s Hindu yogis and sadhus because when the non-Muslim population of the city departed in 1947, so did they.

They used to come gather in large numbers at the time of the Dussehra festival that used to be held over a large area, stretching from Badami Bagh to Minto Park. Two days before the festival, yogis and sadhus from different parts of India would pitch their makeshift tents over these green open spaces. They would light fires in front of their dwellings, which they would not allow to go out as long as the festival lasted. They would cover their bodies with ash from these fires, acquiring a ghostlike look.

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