These are excerpt from my life experiences.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Before Partition 1

Let us start with conditions prevailing before partition (starting from the year 1945 or so). I used to take bath in Katha (a waterfall) at the foothill of a mountain range (don't remeber the name) near Kohat (distt Peshawar, NWFP now in Pakistan). It was a place where water comes flowing down the hills .The water used to be crystal clear that you could find out a dhela (a coin smaller than a paisa) at the river bed. There were two portions to these Kathas one for gents and other for ladies. There used to be a Partion or sheet of cloth hung in beetween the two portions. As it was a hilly area there was no means of commnications or transport.People used to carry there luggage on the back of donkeys or Khachars (a horse like animal but very sturdy in carrying heavy loads) Pathans used to have khachars and donkeys for their daily routines. Here the Pathans were very sturdy and used to wear long Kamiz (shirt )and Salwars and Pagris and Kullas (just like a cap).They use to cut trees or do hard work for their living. They use to wear Kheries ( Peshawari chappel).
We were living in a house in a ahahata belonging to Ramjwai (our landlady) it was opposite to Arya Samaj Wali Gali. All hindus used live in groups in Hindu Mohallas as it used to be safe. Most of the business was being done by hindus. The native Pathans use to invade such mohallas whenever they are short of rations or other needs. Some of these Pathans would set our houses on fire and/or loot the families. I remember one meeting was organised by the hindus and sikhs families to safegaurd the Mohallas and one morcha was built at the top of the building and the volunteers used to sit the whole night with guns to scare away the pathans. The schools were very far off we used to go the school either on donkey or on foot. I saw a bicycle for the first time in year 1947. I believe it was Hercules or BSA made. The pathans were dreadful as i was told in those days as they would kidnap boys. They used to live in tribes usually outside towns. They use to keep goats, sheeps and dumbas (male sheep). Pathans used to live in tribes under one Sardar (head). The sardar used to have several Nadas (Young boys who were personal servants of the sadars). Here I tell you that in their local language the mail child is called nada and similarly the female child is called nadi. These pathans use to manufacture knifes gupties ,belchas, churies and nezas etc One thing is to be positive in them was that they respected their ladies. They also respect their words. A story goes that one pathan saw pandit having his moustaches up and asked why he was doing so in country like kohat. The panditf said to him that these mouctaches go down if he goes to his house and kill his son .The pathan went and did the same and came back .Then the pandit has downed the mostaces. Saying is that he dont apply their brains. Had he applied the brain he would not had lost his son. The Kohat city is surronded by only berris trees. The dry fruits were there in abundance. We used to eat nejas, kajus akhrots, peanuts and badams. Bhutas were also very common. There used to kurkhas (red beans) sold in the market after boiling as chholas on the the streets. They used to prepare tikkies and pouring salt chillies and nimboos and it used to be tasty one to relish. I remember a shop on the corner of our street where Katlamas were made during Dasheras and these are eaten with mango pickel. A gajjar ka halwa were of good taste. There was only one bazar and had big gates at the two ends of the bazar. This gate was called the Sher Darwaza. There used to be police station on the one gate. I used go to the hardware shop of my father in this bazar. The shops have their doors in shape of wooden pieces stacked horizontily on the door opening when closing the shop and vice versa. There was no electricty and people used to burn kerosine oil lamps and lanterns. The food was cooked in chulas fired by wooden planksand rootis are prepard in Tandoors fired by wooden planks usually in one common tandoor (sanja tandoor) as community and saving of wood. There used to be one well deep enough in the mohallas and katras for water which was pure and potable. This well used to be cleaned once in a month by pouring potassium permanganate (KMNO4)The bazars contain shops of meat with hanging goat meat which I did'nt like. More over it gave bad smell and big flies along howering around. You will find other shops of cloth vegetables hardwares and paint and halwais ,shops of hot seekh kabab and restaurants serving all types non vegetarian stuff and tandoori roties,The sher Darwazas at the both end of the market used to be closed after 10 ,o clock at night with police man on duty for safety. You can also find horse tangas in the bazar. In the years 1945 to 1947 there was great enthusiasm of freedom and there slogans Todi Bacha Hai Hai, and Agrezo hamare watan ko chhor jao. There I remember a party of Sarhadi Gandhi and was called the Khaksar Party and its yoluteer were called Khudai Khidburgar.They used to prade inthe market with Belchas on their shoulders,The janoon of azadi was much hyped ,In those days some of freedom fighters include the names like Tee Ta Tut Tha Ba Se ,Even the brishes cold not control the tribes ,Once for certain demonds these pathans took hotage the mem sahib of collecter but reurned her quite safe and sound as their demonds nwere met.As I quoted that they were very much respect their words and ladies ,The houses were mostly of mud and at nightwe were advsed to be away from walls so that the scorpians may not bite.If any scorpian bites the people used to rub the metal or the record player disc of gramophone,


Prem Anand said...

I really envy your memory. Very Good. Go ahead with your story. Best of Luck.

Unknown said...

Hi Uncle:

This is truly a wonderful set of memoirs that you are posting. I have always been curious about our family history, and thanks to you and your efforts with this blog, I'm learning a lot about what our family has been through. It is also giving me a greater appreciation for you as an individual, not just my uncle. Thank you...I look forward to reading more. Lots of love, Happy.

Subodh said...

These are lovely memories. I am the Editor of, where we are collecting a variety of Indian memories. I would love to get contributions from you, friends, family, and readers.

Thanks and regards.

Subodh Mathur