Bhagat Singh

Forced to leave Okara, Pakistan (Part 1)

Anand Sarup
Anand Sarup

Born in Lahore on 5th January, 1930, to Savitri Devi and Shanti Sarup and brought up in an open environment, without any mental conditioning by a denominational commitment. He imbibed a deep commitment to democracy and freedom because his family participated actively in the freedom struggle. In 1947, together with his family, he went through the trauma of losing all, and then participating in rebuilding a new status and identity. He Joined the IAS in 1954 and retired in 1988 as Education Secretary, Government of India. Later, he became Chairman, National Book Trust. Also co-authored, with Sulabha Brahme, Planning for the Millions.

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a three-part story. Part 2 describes the the family’s move to India, while Part 3 is the story of their rehabilitation in Ludhiana.

I do not know the date. One evening in early 1947, when our family went up to the roof, we found the sky lighted with a huge fire in the direction of the walled city of Lahore.

Next morning, the news that one of the oldest settlement of Hindus (inside the Shah Aalami Gate) had been set on fire was circulating in the city.

Memories of youthful days in pre-Independence Punjab

Indira Pasricha and Neera Burra

Indira Pasricha was born on 17 January 1917 in Sidhpur in Multan district. She studied in Kinnaird College, Lahore. She married Prem Pasricha on 28 April 1940 in Lahore. She was a social worker and played an active role in saving Sikhs during the riots in 1984 in New Delhi. She was an active member of the women’s wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party. She and her husband Prem Pasricha helped the tribals in Orissa in setting up the Ekal Vidyalaya and eye camps.

Neera Burra, a sociologist, has a Ph.D. from the Delhi School of Economics. As Assistant Resident Representative at the U.N. Development Programme, India for several years, her focus was issues related to gender, poverty and environment. She has published extensively on the issue of child labour in India, including Born to Work: Child Labour in India Oxford University Press in 1997. Her most recent book is A Memoir of pre-Partition Punjab. Ruchi Ram Sahni 1863-1948 Oxford University Press 2017. A great granddaughter of Ruchi Ram Sahni, she maintains a blog about him

Editor's note: Indira Pasricha dictated this story just five days before her death in May 2017 to her niece, Neera Burra. Indira was 100 years old when she passed away.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh: His Martyr’s Notebook

Bhupendra Hooja
Bhupendra Hooja

Bhupendra Hooja, born in Lahore in 1920, was a revolution focused student leader, an aspiring actor, a moderately successful scriptwriter and author. In the 1940s, he was a broadcaster for All India Radio and BBC in London. In the 1950s, he  was civil servant in Delhi and later an Indian Administrative Service officer in Rajasthan. After his retirement in 1978, be became the editor of the Indian Book Chronicle. He passed away in 2006.

B Hooja BBC
Bhupendra Hooja. London. Late 1940s.

Rakshat Hooja writes:

Inqilab Zindabad! Let the revolution live forever. Bhagat Singh made this phrase popular in the 1920. He was a revolutionary and a martyr, who was one of the central figures in India's freedom struggle.

The British hung Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru on the evening of 23 March 1931 in Lahore.

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