Category Archives: 02 – Topsy Turvy World

The world around me from 1940 to 1949

Crossing the Border

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It was perhaps 26th of February 1948. I am really not sure of the date, but it was certainly a few days short of 1st March. Within the family, the decision to migrate from Pakistan to India had been taken. A tentative date for the move had been fixed at 28 March. Read the rest of this entry

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Parting of the Way

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It is not easy to uproot oneself from one’s environment of a lifetime and step forward to an unknown future, carrying forward all of one’s liabilities and none of one’s immobile assets.   In 1947, we had just lived through a series of mini civil wars laced with genocides starting from the infamous ‘Direct Action Day’ of the Muslim League on 16 August 1946 and its consequences in Noakhali in October 46 and in interior Bihar early in 1947.   I was in my very aware adolescent thirteenth year.   I was in the final year of secondary schooling, preparing for my Matriculation under theUniversityofCalcutta, and through my eyes the environment looked surreal.   Read the rest of this entry

The First Hurdle

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Getting selected for the ISW / AFA was my first concern.   The syllabus for the examination by the UPSC for entry into the Inter Services Wing of the Armed Forces Academy was rather sketchy;   a total of three papers, one each on English, Mathematics and General Knowledge / Current Affairs.   In those days, there were no coaching classes available for such tests in Kolkata.  The examinee was left entirely on his own.   Read the rest of this entry

A Lesson in Bird Watching

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It was an ordinary sort of morning.   For a student of first year Intermediate Science at Ashutosh College Calcutta in early 1949, life was seldom very exciting. The timetable indicated a period of Bengali Literature followed by a period of English after which there was a double period of Physics practical and then two free periods.   Late in the evening there were two periods of Mathematics to be done before I would be free to go home.  Read the rest of this entry

Schooling At Last

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Some time in the second week of November 1946 Baba told me to get ready to enter school in the New Year.   What did I have to do to get into a school?   Which school was he thinking about?   Why did I have to enter a school at this stage?  Was not I having well enough an education at home while having a whale of a time in general?  I had many questions boiling inside me, but Baba had answers to them all.   Read the rest of this entry

Back to Jessore

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Newspapers were intimately integrated with my childhood.  I learnt my alphabets from it.     I learnt most of my geography and all politics from it.   I even learnt the rudiments of football hockey and cricket from it.    Above all, this constant interaction with newspapers generated in me a thirst for remaining current with ‘current affairs’ that has remained with me for ever.   Read the rest of this entry

Baba Quits His Job

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Baba tried to visit us at Himaitpur from Jessore as often as he could.   He normally came by an over-night train reaching the village early in the morning.   Some times he stayed just for one day or two.   At other times he stretched his visit to three or four days.   We got used to these sudden arrivals and departures of Baba.  However, we always knew in advance when he would arrive.    There used to be a sweet anticipation; getting up early and waiting for his arrival.  Read the rest of this entry

Skirting A Famine

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We had just moved into our new and half finished house at Himaitpur. It was early 1943.   The riversides of Himaitpur were full of Jute growing to its full height.    The flood plains along the river were a very fertile tract.   The land was of course sandy and loamy; not quite fit for the cultivation of fine varieties of rice.   Read the rest of this entry