Lahore

My paternal grandparents and family

Author: 
Indira Pasricha and Neera Burra

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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 https://ruchiramsahni.wordpress.com/.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh: His Martyr’s Notebook

Author: 
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.

My parents’ wedding - 1931

Author: 
Reginald Massey

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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.

Wedding of John and Mary Massey.  Catholic Church on Empress Road, Lahore.  1931.

My father, John Massey, was from a landowning Sikh family which had accepted Christ. They were Protestants. Read more about them here. http://www.indiaofthepast.org/contribute-memories/read-contributions/life-back-then/378-my-paternal-sikh-christian-muslim-family-

His best friend was one Sunny Massie, who had an unmarried woman cousin, aged 19. My father was then about 25 years old.

Face of Partition 1947

Author: 
Sarab Kaur Zavaleta

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Sarab Kaur Zavaleta is an American photographer, writer, filmmaker, and journalist. She co-produced the film Altered Minds (2013), starring Judd Hirsch. She is on the Executive Board of the Foreign Press Association in New York City. Born in India, she is a world traveler, speaks six languages, and has three grown children. Her experience includes working as a film editor at the United Nations, involvement in Sikh cultural events in America, chairing UNICEF charity events, serving as a newscaster and interviewer for the cable TV network Bombay Productions, acting in indie productions. More information at:  https://www.seamlyfilms.com/

Editor's note: Sarab is looking for funding and a producer/filmmaker/director to make a film based on this story. Please contact her at seamlyfilms@gmail.com or szavaleta2@gmail.com.


Sardar Khazan Singh, author's paternal grandfather. Lahore. 1880s.

I was a little girl in 1947 during the Partition, and although I remember a couple of isolated events, I did not understand what was going on. Why all the grownups seemed so agitated and careful about where they went and who they talked to. Normal talk within the house often turned to whispers.

My Lahore

Author: 
Chandra Sayal

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Chandra Sayal is a retired doctor, now living in Derby, England. She worked for over 30 years in the NHS in UK. She was a specialist in Community Medicine and Public Health.

 

Lahore, a place of fun, grace, culture and education had suddenly changed in 1947. The place where we roamed happily and fearlessly at all hours was suddenly different. Each day, it had become like a ghost town. We dared not go out alone. We dared not stay out till dark. We dared not go to unfamiliar and faraway places. The picnics, the late night cinemas, biking and roaming around in the parks were now full of danger.

So I started going to college not via Muzang Road, but via Temple Road and Mall, which was a longer route, but safer. Vachhowali Clinic in the walled city was out of bounds because that part of the city was full of danger. We took extra precautions and looked over our shoulders all the time so much.

By summer, we did not dare to enter our college across the road from the hospital, where we were now staying for our clinical training. For safety reasons, the female students were given lodgings in the only children's hospital in the country, yet to be opened. We were now prisoners confined within the hospital premises. At night, we huddled together and locked our rooms. When we went to the washrooms, we went in pairs guarding each other, in case an undesirable person was lurking around and made entry from the stairs below. Any unfamiliar sound scared us. We were like frightened little children.

The River Ravi - Then and Now

Author: 
Joginder Anand

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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.

I read today (December 2018) that the river Ravi has run dry in Lahore.

Reminded me of the times past. The 1940s.

Then, the Raavi (or Ravi) was a majestic River. We used to cross it by the road bridge when travelling by "Lorry." Yes. You read it right. In those days, in the Punjab, the term lorry was not exclusively used for motorised Goods Vehicles. What one calls a Bus now was a "lorry "then. We, the passengers, sat inside on seats, mostly. Some passengers sat on the roof top - in the company of boxes, trunks, bales of fodder, baskets (covered by a string netting) containing squawking chickens.

Inside the lorry, you sat in the front seat, next to the driver. That is, if you were an important passenger - a policeman (Pulsia, in Panjabi colloquially). Or, if you paid extra.

Bhupendra Hooja – An Obituary

Author: 
Rakesh Hooja

Editor's note: This obituary was written by Hooja sahib's son, Rakesh, and edited at that time byt Rakesh's brother-in-law Subodh Mathur.


Bhupendra Hooja. London. Late 1940s.

Bhupendra Hooja (1922-2006) came to Rajasthan in the beginning of 1959, which, as he wrote in a 2002 article "Life at Eighty", became his "Karmbhumi" as he became "a small petty agent" in the sustained efforts for the development of the State. By the end, Jaipur and Rajasthan had adopted him as its own.

As regards the influences of his youth, he once wrote "having been born in an active and committed Arya Samaj family (I was) baptized by the mantras of social change, freedom and revolution as preached by Gandhi and Nehru and Subhash on the one side, and the revolutionary youth like Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his brave and young Comrades on the other". His older brother G.B.K. Hooja, who preceded him into the IAS via the undivided Punjab Civil Service, was a major source of inspiration to him, as was Marxist Socialism until the Soviets crushed the Hungarian uprising in 1956. Both in his youth and later as an adult, he could never appreciate the growing consumerism and commercialization in society. As a student he is known to have more than once given away his woollen clothing to poorer friends, and helped many others with their studies.

Lahore in August 1947, as etched on my mind

Author: 
Satish Chopra

Satish Chopra was born 1942 in Lahore, and his family moved to Delhi in 1947. After his M.A. from Delhi University, he became a banker, and retired from the Central Bank of India in 2001. He has a passion for learning, history, literature, and nostalgic film and light classical music. His book Forgotten Masters of Hindi Cinema was well-received in India and Pakistan.  In 2016, he got a National Film Award from the President of India. He is now working on his autobiography. His email is satishchopra@rediffmail.com.

The rooftop of our house situated at the right side entrance of Rasala Bazaar, Purani Anarkali, Lahore, was from where I saw fire all around the city in August 1947. The fire, which started from Shah Almi Gate, is one of my earliest memories. The Anarkali police station was situated at about two hundred metres from our house, and from our rooftop we could see its entire courtyard. At times, wailings of the detainees could be heard clearly in our home.

My family home in Lahore. at the right side entrance of Rasala Bazar, Purani Anarkali, Lahore. Picture was obtained in 1989 through a common acquaintance. Its authenticity was confirmed by my father, who expired in 1996.

My memories of Britain’s long and tortured exit 1931-47

Author: 
R C Mody
R C Mody

R. C. Mody has an M.A. in Economics and is 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, retiring as the head of an all-India department. He was also Principal of the RBI's Staff College. Now (in 2019), in his 93rd year, he is engaged in social work, reading, and writing. He lives in New Delhi with his wife. His email address is rameshcmody@gmail.com.

I was born in 1926. My memories of national and international events go back to 1931, when I first became aware that we, Indians, were a subject nation, ruled by a small island country named England. I learned that England lay across seven seas (saat samunder paar), and its inhabitants were called the British and they, unlike us, were white, gore. Skin colour was very important\; because they had fair skin, we felt that they were superior to us.

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