The Unforgettable

My Father and my Uncles: Revolutionary Freedom Fighters

Surajit Sanyal
Surajit Sanyal

Surajit Sanyal was born in Calcutta in 1950, and moved within three months to Allahabad, UP. His early years were spent in Allahabad and Gorakhpur, although ancestral roots were in Benaras. He spent most of his adolescence in Jaipur, Rajasthan. A product of St. Xavier’s Jaipur, Maharaja’s College, Jaipur, and St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta, he went on to complete his management studies in XLRI, Jamshedpur. He started his career in advertising in Calcutta in 1975 and subsequently moved to the largest public utility company in the same city. He now leads a retired life in Salt Lake, Kolkata, with his wife Supriti and his son Sudipto.

In July 1995, the Nehru Memorial Library sent me a letter. It said, in part:

"We are publishing the selected works of Acharya Narendra Dev. In a statement Acharyaji has referred to the treatment meted out to your father, Shri Bhupendra Nath Sanyal, by the Agra jail authorities, when he was there in 1941, We want to give his bio-data in the book. Despite our best efforts we could not get his date and place of death, I enclose copy of the bio-data we have prepared, but I am not satisfied with it. His role in our freedom movement was significant."

Letter from Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi. 1995

I wrote a lengthy reply. The rest of this article is based on my letter.

Defying Sanjay Gandhi: A Civil Servant Remembers the Emergency

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.

When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared an Internal Emergency - which came to be known as just ‘the Emergency' - on June 26, 1975, I was a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

I was Secretary of the Transport, Public Works, Tourism and Estate Departments. Many people, including me, did not believe that there were legitimate grounds to declare an Emergency. Instead, I believed then - as I do now - that the real reason was that the Emergency declaration gave Mrs. Indira Gandhi a way to avoid being forced to step down after her 1975 election to Parliament had been declared invalid by Justice Jag Mohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court on the ground that she had used corrupt practices during her election campaign.

A Morning with Indira Gandhi

T.S. Nagarajan

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's not-for-sale book of his memories, A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.

As a photojournalist, I have tried to keep myself away from politicians though I have a perfunctory interest in politics. I like some politicians, especially of the comical kind for their entertainment value - only from a distance.

I know the world of politicians interests journalists and photographers. But it is a world from which I have managed to keep my camera away.

A meeting with Prime Minister Nehru

Reginald Masssey
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 INDIA: Definitions and Clarifications (Hansib, London). A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Editor's note: This story is an expanded version of an excerpt from the author's book Azaadi!: stories and histories of the Indian subcontinent after Independence, Abhinav, Delhi 2005. It is reproduced here with the author's permission.

At the time of India’s Independence, my father, J. M. Massey, was in the Royal Indian Air Force, stationed at Lahore.

He opted to join India and the Indian Air Force, and we moved to Delhi. In 1948, he did some highly sensitive intelligence work, whose nature I cannot reveal.

Flying Officer J. M. Massey on his Harley Davidson motorcycle with his orderly, Nazir. 1947

Some time after Independence, my father had to call on the Prime Minister in New Delhi to discuss a sensitive intelligence matter. The appointment was fixed for the evening at the PM's residence.

My Memories of Dr. V. Kurien

A H Somjee

A.H. Somjee received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the London School of Economics. He is a charter member of the Simon Fraser University, Canada, where he is also an Emeritus Professor of Political Science. He has taught at the University of Baroda, the London School of Economics, University of Durham, and the National University of Singapore. He was also appointed as an Associate Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, and was invited to Harvard University, several times, as a Visiting Scholar.

When I was a faculty member of the M.S. University of Baroda (now Vadodara), from 1956 to 1964, I had heard the name of Dr. V. Kurien from various colleagues and people in surrounding villages.

The man in charge of AMUL did seem to me to be worth meeting in Anand, which was then a small town, less than 30 miles from Baroda. I worked with my students in surrounding villages, one of which is Boriavi, hardly a few kilometres from Anand, but still I could not meet him, despite my great desire to do so.

In 1964, I left India to teach in Durham University in Britain, and in 1965, I joined Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. In Vancouver, I was very keen to find out how the villages of free India were shaping up. In 1968-69, I got an official opportunity to travel to India. I selected Anand for my study and landed there.

Indira Gandhi Interview 1971


Indira Gandhi Interview
No date or description available, but
the discussion is about tensions between
India and Pakistan over what was East Pakistan
and became Bangladesh.

Pakistan Army Surrender to India in 1971: Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report

Hamoodur Rahman Commission

Editor’s note: This article consists of selected extracts from the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report, which was finalised in 1974. The Commission was appointed 26 December, 1971  by the then President of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,  to enquire into the circumstances in which Pakistan’s Commander, Eastern Command, Lt. Gen. Niazi,  surrendered and the members of the armed forces of Pakistan under his command laid down their arms, and a ceasefire was ordered along the borders of West Pakistan and India and along the ceasefire line in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Commission was headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Hamoodur Rahman. The other two members of the Commission were Mr. Justice S. Anwarul Haq, Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan and Mr. Justice Tufaif Ali Abdur Rahman, Chief Justice of Sind and Baluchistan High Court. Lt. Gen (Rtd) Altaf Qadir and Mr. M.A Latif, Assistant Registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan were Military Adviser and Secretary of the Commission, respectively.

The full report is available in the attached pdf file. Gaps in this article are shown by -----

Please contact the editor at if you can provide a copy of the Commission's 1972 report.

Chapter 4


INS Valsura in the 1965 War

B C Chatterjee

B C Chatterjee was born in 1920, joined the Indian Navy, received the Ati Vishist Seva Medal, and retired from the Navy in 1972. After this, he joined M/s Standard Batteries Ltd., where he was responsible for the first indigenous production of Submarine Batteries in collaboration with a Swedish firm. He retired from Standard Batteries in 1995.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from a larger autobiography under preparation. The preparation of this article has been greatly facilitated by a person close to the author.

Over 1962-1965, I was the Commanding Officer, INS Valsura, Jamnagar. (Editor's note: INS means Indian Naval Ship. INS Valsura is a shore based training establishment of the Indian navy for electrical engineering.)

This job is akin to that of a Dean/ Principal of a large technical institution. A large number of naval technical and non-technical personnel as well as civilians are part of this establishment. The courses conducted here vary from simple technical training to advanced Post Graduate technical training for Officers and Sailors of the Indian Navy as well as foreign navies.

Can the basic structure of India’s Constitution be amended?

S M SIkri and A N Ray


Sarv Mittra Sikri was born in 1908, and started his law practice in the Lahore High Court in 1930. He became a Supreme Court Judge in 1964, and the Chief Justice of India in 1971. He retired on 25 April 1973.



Ajit Nath Ray was born in 1912, and was called to the Bar by the Society of Gray's Inn in 1939. He became a Supreme Court Judge in 1969, and the Chief Justice of India on 26 April 1973. He retired on 28 January 1977.


Editor’s note: On April 24, 1973, the Supreme Court of India ruled by a majority of 7-6, that Article 368 of the Constitution means that Parliament cannot alter the basic structure or framework of the Indian Constitution. The counsel for the petitioner was Mr. Nani Palkhivala. The article below provides excerpts from the judgements written by Chief Justice Sikri and Justice A N Ray. The full judgement is attached as a pdf file.

Chief Justice Sikri: No, the basic structure cannot be amended


Part I-Introduction


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