Escaping from Amritsar’s post-Partition fears

Vinod K. Puri


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.

From Khyber to Kanya Kumari

Kanwarjit Singh Malik

Kanwarjit Singh Malik was born in Rawalpindi in 1930. His family moved to India at the time of Partition in 1947. He joined the Flying Club in Jalandhar, and was later selected by the Indian Air Force. After the retirement from the Air Force, he served as a senior captain in Air India and Air Lanka. He got married in 1961, and now lives in Mumbai with his wife.

Pre-Partition life

My family had lived in Rawalpindi since the time of my great-grandfather, Malik Khazan Singh, who passed away in 1899 after amassing a large amount of property.

My father, Malik Mukhbain Singh, was a barrister, who had studied Law in the UK. He suffered from polio when he was 2 or 3 years old. He was treated in the UK while he was studying Law, but his condition did not improve. He was fitted with a brace, which he used to wear while going outside, and always walked with a stick.

My father and his younger brother Sardar Jaswant Singh Malik were the sons of my grandfather's first wife. My grandfather had two sons who were 17 and 12 years old when my grandmother passed away. Then, my grandfather remarried, and had three sons from my step grandmother, who passed away after Partition.

A Picture Postcard –Mussoorie 1930s

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.

This image is from a black and white picture postcard - I came across it in my old papers, a few weeks ago.

The postcard is of a "hill station", as it was known in British India. My father, Shri Amar Nath Anand, a lawyer, was in the habit of going to the hills every summer. This post card, I thought, was of Simla or Mussoorie. Vintage:1930s.

A niece living in India has searched (or researched?) through the internet, and concluded that it was Mussoorie of long ago.

My father was of course a Punjabi, a plainsman.

But he was fond of walking in the hills of the Punjab - Murree - (known in the vernacular as Koh Murree, though there was no Murree in the plains), Dalhousie, Solan, Simla, Kasauli, Dagshai. Then there was Srinagar, in Kashmir. And Dehra Dun (Shivalik Hills or the Lesser Himalayas) and Mussoorie (the Middle Himalayas). I and the rest of our family also enjoyed the Himalayan outings.

Subscribe to RSS - Mussoorie