The Unforgettable

Remembering Ravi Shankar

Author: 
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 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.

Many years ago, in the 1950s, when I was student in Simla, Ravi Shankar visited the town and gave a concert at the local Kali Bari temple.

y friend Ajay Varma and I went to hear him, and we were enchanted. That ignited my interest in Indian classical music.

Over the years, I never missed recitals, whether vocal or instrumental. I read books on Music and Dance, attended seminars and sat with scholars to learn the finer points of these arts. I even took lessons in vocal music and tried to learn the tabla.

In the 1960s, it was Ravi Shankar who brought Indian music to the West in a big way. I was living in London at that time. I persuaded The Times of London to publish reviews of Indian classical music and dance. After that, my reviews were regularly published in that prestigious newspaper. They somehow 'caught on' and helped to promote these art forms in the United Kingdom.

Zohra Segal, My Amazing Apa-Jaan

Author: 
Jamila Masssey
Reginald Massey

Jamila Massey (nee Chohan) was born in Simla where, before Independence, she went to the famous Auckland House School, established for the daughters of high-ranking British officers. Later, she graduated from King's College, London. She then worked in radio, television, films and in the theatre. She had a role in the well-known BBC radio soap opera The Archers, an Independent TV comedy series Mind Your Language, and the BBC TV soap opera EastEnders.(Her photo shows her as Neelam Kapoor in the EastEnders.) She is now the senior most Asian actress in the United Kingdom. She has collaborated with her writer husband Reginald on three books: The Music of India, The Dances of India, and The Immigrants, a novel.

In life, it is a privilege and honour to meet and work with great artists who are also human beings par excellence.

Remembering Mulk Raj Anand

Author: 
Jamila Masssey
Reginald Massey

Jamila Massey (nee Chohan) was born in Simla where, before Independence, she went to the famous Auckland House School, established for the daughters of high-ranking British officers. Later, she graduated from King's College, London. She then worked in radio, television, films and in the theatre. She had a role in the well-known BBC radio soap opera The Archers, an Independent TV comedy series Mind Your Language, and the BBC TV soap opera EastEnders.(Her photo shows her as Neelam Kapoor in the EastEnders.) She is now the senior most Asian actress in the United Kingdom. She has collaborated with her writer husband Reginald on three books: The Music of India, The Dances of India, and The Immigrants, a novel.

The novel as a form of literary expression was introduced to India by the British. Among the small group of Indians who first wrote novels in the English language was Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004), who was born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan).

Morarji Desai’s Visit to INS Shakti

Author: 
Manohar Awati
Manohar Awati

Manohar Pralhad Awati was born in September 1927, had his schooling in King George's School, Mumbai, and The Maharashtra Education Society School, Pune. He was selected for the Royal Indian Navy in November 1945. He was awarded the Vir Chakra for his role as the Commanding Officer of INS Kamorta during the 1971 war with Pakistan. In March 1983, he retired as a Vice Admiral and the Flag officer Commanding- in-Chief of the Western Naval Command. His love for ecology and its conservation emerged after retirement, in association with the legendary Dr Salim Ali. His particular love for the conservation of the Lion and the Tiger was reflected in the books he edited ­Homo Sapiens and Panthera Leo and The Vanishing Indian Tiger.  Another of his post-retirement ventures is the conception and founding of the Maritime History Society of India, a unique institution which sustains all of maritime research in India today.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in Quarterdeck, from where it is reproduced by permission from the author.

Shri Morarji Desai, Prime Minister, boarded INS Shakti by helicopter, off Cochin (now Kochi) one fine morning in February 1979.

Captain S. K. Gupta, MVC, NM (known in the Service as Gigi to his friends and admirers) was in command. I had, earlier, transferred my flag to Shakti.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: A Teacher Who Cared About His Students

Author: 
Subodh Mathur

Subodh was born in Alwar, and educated in St. Xavier Schoo, Jaipur, St.Stepehn's Collge, Delhi, Delhi School of Econmics, and MIT,Cambridge, USA. He taught economics for one year at Rajasthan University, Jaipur, and now teaches economics at the American University, Washington, D.C. He lives with his wife, Anuradha Deolalikar, and two children in a suburb of Washington, D.C. In his spare time, he is an avid gardener, and the editor of this website.

To be honest, after 42 years, I don’t remember much about former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s teaching style.

In 1972, I was an M.A. (final) Economics student at the Delhi School of Economics. Manmohan Singh used to teach International Economics, and I was one of the many students in his class.

One day, in early 1972, we learnt that he had taken a job as an economist in the Government of India. Such a development was not a surprise to the students of Delhi School of Economics at that time. In particular, Professor Sukhamoy Chakravarty had recently become a Member of the Planning Commission.

For the students, the key question was: Who would teach his class after Manmohan Singh left? If a replacement was not found quickly, then it would be difficult to cover the full syllabus. And, that would mean that the students would be in trouble in the examination, which was scheduled for April 1972.

Prof. Manmohan Singh told us that he would come to Delhi School earlier in the morning, and teach his class, before going to his office.

Memories of Panditji

Author: 
Raja Ramanathan
Raja Ramanathan

Raja Ramanathan was born in Independent India, in Calcutta. He has spent the last sixty years or so growing up in different parts of the world, Singapore, England, India, the Middle East, and, in the last twenty years, Canada.

Much before I was born in 1950, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was my father’s political hero. Once when, as a child, I referred to him as Nehru, Dad corrected me, and said that I should refer to him respectfully as Panditji.

That has stayed with me. I think a lot of my father’s reverence for Panditji came from the fact my father had a close association with Dr. Annie Besant, and one of Panditji’s early tutors, Ferdinand Brooks, was a Theosophist.

I do not know if all my family members had the same regard for Panditji. However, my mother has often related this story to me, perhaps more because it shines the light on her eldest child.

Panditji was an extremely good-looking man. Sometime in 1946, when my family lived in Calcutta, Panditji was visiting Calcutta. We had a Bihari cook at home, whose one ambition in life was to see Panditji. So, he took the day off and travelled by tram to wherever Panditji was speaking in Calcutta. It is difficult to capture in words how much of a hero Panditji was in his heyday. The crowds he could gather were uber phenomenal ... and people would wait hours to hear him speak.

Gandhiji’s Impressions of My Uncle

Author: 
Raja Ramanathan
Raja Ramanathan

Raja Ramanathan was born in Independent India, in Calcutta. He has spent the last sixty years or so growing up in different parts of the world, Singapore, England, India, the Middle East, and, in the last twenty years, Canada.

 

Before Independence, Reuters functioned in India as the Associated Press of India (API). Soon after we got freedom, it became Press Trust of India, or PTI, as we now call it.

When Gandhiji was imprisoned in the Aga Khan palace, in Poona, between 1942 and 1944, my uncle, P S Gopalan, was assigned by API as the reporter to attend Gandhiji's daily press conference. My uncle later become PTI's Chief Editor.

Only the Brits would do something so crazy, arrest a person for alleged anti-Empire activities, imprison him in a palace, and allow him a daily press conference where leading news agencies sent their reporters. Can you think of any political power doing that today? The deepest and dirtiest dungeon is where they would throw their critics.

Hectic days in Halwara (Getting ready for war) -1

Author: 
Tapas Kumar Sen

Tapas Sen was born in Kolkata (1934), and brought up in what now constitutes Bangladesh. He migrated to India in 1948, and joined the National Defence Academy in January 1950. He was commissioned as a fighter pilot into the Indian Air Force on 1 April 1953, from where he retired in 1986 in the rank of an Air Commodore. He now leads an active life, travelling widely and writing occasionally.

 

Editor's note: This is an edited version of a set of articles that originally appeared on Air Commodore Sen's blog TKS' Tales. It is reproduced here with the author's permission.

Reaching Halwara Air Force Station: 02 December 1971

In October 1971, I was an Indian Air Force Wing Commander, Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington.

Hectic days in Halwara (The war begins) -2

Author: 
Tapas Kumar Sen

Tapas Sen was born in Kolkata (1934), and brought up in what now constitutes Bangladesh. He migrated to India in 1948, and joined the National Defence Academy in January 1950. He was commissioned as a fighter pilot into the Indian Air Force on 1 April 1953, from where he retired in 1986 in the rank of an Air Commodore. He now leads an active life, travelling widely and writing occasionally.

Editor's note: This is Part 2 of an edited version of a set of articles that originally appeared on Air Commodore Sen's blog TKS' Tales. It is reproduced here with the author's permission. Part 1 is available here.

03-04 December 1971

Unknown to us, at that moment, the balloon had gone up. At 1740 hrs on the evening of Friday 03 December 1971, Pakistan Air Force mounted a raid on Srinagar airfield. Attacks on other airfields followed. The war of 1971 had started.

Vanu Bhuta - the designer of Rajghat

Author: 
M P V Shenoi

Shenoi, a civil engineer and MBA, rose to the rank of Deputy Director-General of Works in the Indian Defence Service of Engineers. He has also been a member of HUDCO’s advisory board and of the planning team for Navi Mumbai. After retirement he has been helping NGOs in employment-oriented training, writing articles related to all aspects of housing, urban settlements, infrastructure, project and facility management and advising several companies on these issues. His email id is mpvshanoi@gmail.com.

The year was 1956. I had graduated in Civil Engineering in 1955 from National Institute of Engineering, Mysore. I wanted to appear in the Combined Engineering Services Exams, which recruited engineers for Central Government departments like Railways, Central Public Works Department, Military Engineer Services, Telecom services, etc. The Exams were conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, India. All young Engineering graduates who were ambitious aimed at appearing in this selection examination, which was considered prestigious. If you got selected, you would have a steady career. Moreover, Government was the largest construction agency in those days.

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