Pre-Partition Punjab Vignettes

Joginder Anand


Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB from Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.
Widower. Two children and their families keep an eye on him. He lives alone in a small house with a small garden. Very fat pigeons, occasional sparrows, finches green and gold drop in to the garden, pick a seed or two and fly away.


Ed. Note: The text has been extracted from an extended informal email discussion with Jatinder Sethi. Some of what Mr. Sethi wrote is available in Pre-Partition family memories.

Shahukaar. This spelling reflects more accurately, the pronunciation of the local Punjabi word for moneylender. I am sure it was also called Sahukar.

The Shahukaar would generally speaking, sit or rather lie, on the rich Persian carpet, propped up on big, fat, round, pillows. Possibly smoking a hooka. The clients came, requested help, addressing him as "Shah Jee" or "Lalla Jee."

Shah Jee also very often did Aarhat (acted as a middleman). 

Shah Jee had the most impressive house in the town. With a two-horse carriage. Forget what it was called. A few cows, and perhaps a buffalo or two in the courtyard at the back. Generous with lassi and even milk for anyone.

My paternal grandparents and family

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

Subscribe to RSS - Bhera