Life Back Then

Memories of India’s Partition

Author: 
Jai Gopal Sethi

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: Mr. Sethi's life before Partition is described in Memories of pre-1947 Kohat.

Along with my mother and sisters, I moved to Toba Tek Singh in 1947. My youngest sister was born on 10th August 1947.

Lahore’s pre-1947 Hindu newspapers

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/

Before independence, Lahore was home to a number of Hindu newspapers, all of whose offices I can claim to have visited.

The five leading papers were Pratap, Milap, Bande Matram, Paras and Bharat Mata. For some reason, all of them were based in the Gowalmandi and Nisbet Road area. A movie journal called Aabshar was also run from Nisbet Road. Paras was a popular publication and those who wrote for it included members of that select group of writers and intellectuals who called their group Niazmandan-i-Lahore. The leading lights of this group were Dr Muhammad Din Taseer, Prof Ahmed Shah Bokhari ‘Patras', Hafiz Jullandhari and Pandit Hari Chand Akhtar. Lala Karam Chand was editor and owner of Paras.

Old Lahore

Author: 
Abdul Hameed

Category:

Tags:


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/

I have always been fascinated by cities, the way they once were and the people who lived in them.

Lahore's magic for me lies in many things, but above all, it lies in the Walled City. My earliest memories of Lahore are intertwined with inner city streets and bazaars and how they throbbed and pulsated with life and colour. 

One old Lahori whom I used to run into at the Radio Pakistan station off and on was Tahir Lahori, whose family had lived inside Bhaati Gate for many generations. He epitomised the old city's culture, its traditional gentleness and its spirit of generosity. He spoke the purest Lahori Punjabi with that lilting unmistakable accent.

My Early Memories of Indian Railways

Author: 
Anoop Krishna Jhingron

Category:


Born in 1948, I (Anoop Krishna Jhingron) did my M.A. in from University of Allahabad in 1968, and joined Indian Railways Traffic Service in 1971. I retired from the Railways in 2008 as General Manager of Western Railway. After retirement, I have settled around Delhi, where I pursue my hobbies of philately, photography, and reading. Two of my books, one on philately and the other on railway heritage, have been published. A third book on philately is likely to come out by October 2013. At present, I am working on my next book"Life in Railway Colonies."

My association with the railways has been very long, in fact, since I was a young child.

In those days (in the 1950s), all children, particularly boys, normally used to have a fascination for railways, and I was no exception. The place where we were living in Allahabad was located in an area very close to Howrah-Delhi trunk route. There was a level crossing near our area and I, as a small child, often used to stand near the gate and watch passing trains.

Old Allahabad Railway Station (Courtesy Indian Railways magazine) early 1950s or earlier

Irwin Hospital, New Delhi 1965

Author: 
Vinod K. Puri

Category:

Born in 1941, Vinod was brought up and educated in Amritsar. He attended Government Medical College, and subsequently trained as a surgeon at PGI, Chandigarh. He left for USA in 1969, and retired in 2003 as Director of Critical Care Services at a teaching hospital in Michigan. Married with two grown sons, he continues to visit India at least once a year.

We reached the famous Irwin hospital in Delhi one Sunday evening in 1965. There were few people around in the low-slung one storey buildingAll three of us carried our unwieldy trunks and hold-alls to the building. For a long time, none of our friends had believed that we would ever make the trip to Delhi. But here we were, with six months of training out of medical school already under our belt!

My memories of Lahore

Author: 
Reginald Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

I was born in Lahore in 1932 in a Christian family. In the 1930s-1940s, Lahore was really a garden city, and a centre of education and culture.

There was, on the whole, harmony in Lahore. Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and the few Christians and Parsis had a good working relationship. On Eid, we went to Muslim families to offer our Greetings. Likewise, we visited Hindu families for Diwali. And we were visited by Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs on Christmas Day. I can never forget the way we all celebrated Basant together.

Kite flying was an obsession with all Lahoris. The kite contests (known as पेचे बाज़ी pechae-baazi) were followed with passion. There were professional kite-flyers known as ustads उस्ताद who had their disciples cheering them on. It was all heady stuff.

My paternal Sikh-Christian-Muslim family

Author: 
Reginald Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

This family saga has been set down after considerable research. The oldest member I have consulted is Joe Massey, my late mother’s youngest cousin. He is now over ninety years old, and lives in Missisuaga, near Toronto. Thankfully, his memory is still very good.

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Great grandfather and his times

My father hailed from a family of Jats of the Mall clan from Gurdaspur. In the 19th century, about half of the people in Gurdaspur were Muslims\; the rest were Sikhs and Hindus. The Sikh Jats were faithful to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was a fellow Jat of the Sukerchakia misl (military group) of Gujranwala, which is now in Pakistan.

My maternal Sikh-Muslim-Christian family

Author: 
Reginald Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Ed. Note: Mr. Massey's recorded memoirs of 1947 are available here in the UK National Archives. Another recording is available here.

This family saga has been set down after considerable research. The oldest member I have consulted is Joe Massey, my late mother’s youngest cousin. He is now over ninety years old, and lives in Missisuaga, near Toronto. Thankfully, his memory is still very good.

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Escaping from Amritsar’s post-Partition fears

Author: 
Vinod K. Puri

Category:

Born in 1941, Vinod was brought up and educated in Amritsar. He attended Government Medical College, and subsequently trained as a surgeon at PGI, Chandigarh. He left for USA in 1969, and retired in 2003 as Director of Critical Care Services at a teaching hospital in Michigan. Married with two grown sons, he continues to visit India at least once a year.

Why we ended up in Delhi in January 1948 is not entirely clear to me - I was only six years old then. But I do recall being in old Delhi in an area called Mori Gate.

This was located near the Delhi Railway Station, which is now known as Old Delhi Railway Station. We were living with my aunt Sheila Tai and her husband Taya Diwan Chand. Their son Ramesh, my cousin, also lived there. The house in Mori Gate was owned by an old Muslim gentleman known to us as Maulvi sahib. The narrow street had mostly Muslim inhabitants.

My mother and Sheila Tai were real sisters. Their husbands were half-brothers (sharing a common father, my grandfather), who lived in the paternal joint family home in Amritsar. So, the two sisters had lived together in Amritsar for many years after they got married.

Zohra Segal, My Amazing Apa-Jaan

Author: 
Jamila Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Jamila Massey (nee Chohan) was born in Simla where, before Independence, she went to the famous Auckland House School, established for the daughters of high-ranking British officers. Later, she graduated from King's College, London. She then worked in radio, television, films and in the theatre. She had a role in the well-known BBC radio soap opera The Archers, an Independent TV comedy series Mind Your Language, and the BBC TV soap opera EastEnders.(Her photo shows her as Neelam Kapoor in the EastEnders.) She is now the senior most Asian actress in the United Kingdom. She has collaborated with her writer husband Reginald on three books: The Music of India, The Dances of India, and The Immigrants, a novel.

In life, it is a privilege and honour to meet and work with great artists who are also human beings par excellence.

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