Memories of my Ferozepur and my mother

Chandra Sayal



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.

This story was facilitated by Rakshat Hooja, great-grandson of Mata Hooja.

In 1944, my mother, Lajjawati (Mata Hooja), was in Jabbalpore. She was staying with my brother, who was seconded for the army duties during the war. Here, she got the terrible news that Karuna, her 23 year old daughter, had passed away suddenly at Lahore. At the untimely death of her daughter, she was shattered to pieces and could not pull herself together. Karuna was a bright girl, and an extrovert. She had a great future ahead. At such a young age, she had already gained MA, BT and MOL. She was soon to start a new job as a School Inspector in Dera Ghazi Khan District, her ancestral home and was looking forward to this post.

When the war ended, my brother came back to his Civil Service duties as a magistrate and was posted at Ferozepur, 60 miles away from Lahore. My mother was still grieving the loss of her daughter.

Just at that time, All Indian Women's Conference was being held at Lahore with Sucheta Kriplani as its President. My brother suggested that my mother should also attend as a way of her coming out of her grief. At the conference, she met young and intelligent women including Prem Bhatia and Perrin Barucha, the daughter of Col. Barucha, a famous surgeon of Lahore. These women took to my mother straightaway and made her an official delegate for the future conferences.

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