My Life in Kashmir VII

Another brother of our Colonel neighbor was an Additional District Magistrate (ADM). He visited us in mid-November and informed us that Sheikh Abdullah had been freed from prison and made Prime Minister of the state on 7th or 8th November 1947….

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

Previous entry here.

Another brother of our Colonel neighbor was an Additional District Magistrate (ADM). He visited us in mid-November and informed us that Sheikh Abdullah had been freed from prison and made Prime Minister of the state on 7th or 8th November 1947. He also saved us from starvation by sending some food grain. He told us that Sheikh Abdullah wished to see us. A few days later, Sheikh Abdullah came accompanied by the ADM. My cousin and I were advised by the house lady to insist on going to Pakistan. On seeing us, Sheikh Abdullah asked about me. When I went near him, he said, “These 3 telegrams are from your father. If you want to join your parents, we will send you to Palestine but it is better that we bring them here and you live in your own home.” In the mean time, my cousin started weeping and said, “All our relations have gone to Pakistan, we want to go to Pakistan.” I copied him. Sheikh Abdullah said, “OK, we will send you to Pakistan. Do not weep. You are good boys.” Then he asked the ADM, “Why don’t they shift to Jammu?” He replied that there was danger to our lives. (Father had sent 3 telegrams, one each to Lord Mountbatten, Governor General of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India and Sheikh Abdullah, to locate and send us to Palestine.)

Some days later, we were shifted under security cover to Usdad da mohallah in Jammu and placed in the house of Colonel (retired) Peer Muhammad. My cousin went to the bank and brought some money. Thus, we were able to purchase edibles and ate properly cooked food after about two months. We lived in Ustad da mohallah for about 2 weeks. During this period, accompanied by a Muslim Inspector Police and a few policemen, we visited our home. Everything in the house had been looted. Suitcases and even G I sheet boxes had been taken away. What we found there was large empty large G I sheet boxes and the large brass-made double bed. On the floor were scattered papers of our property and family pictures. My sister and I collected all these papers and photographs but we could not bring those because of weight. We saw blood at two places, on the roof of a relative’s house and on our roof near the place where Pakistan flag was hoisted. (After reaching Pakistan we came to know that the blood on the relative’s roof was of my father’s young cousin and on our roof top was of a 16 year old son of a neighbour. Both received bullets from machine guns of the army. The young boy died instantly and the cousin had died after 3 days without getting any medical aid.)

A plan was made to send to Pakistan minor children and injured women, parents or guardians of whom were supposed to have gone to Pakistan. Thus, on December 18, six small buses with children (including us) and women started off to Sialkot. Total drive was about 38 Km (about 24 miles). Sheikh Abdullah was leading this caravan in a military jeep and it was moving under protection of the Indian army. Sheikh Abdullah and the army stopped at the border. The buses finally reached and stopped at Sialkot Cantonment. In our bus, my sister was sitting near the window next to me. On seeing our aunts, we were very happy. However, their state of mind, that had been under persistent tension for about 2 months, can be judged from the fact that one of our aunts (whose children were with us) came near our bus and asked my sister Y, “Have you seen X, Y or Z?” She replied, “Auntie, it is me, Y.” It took our aunt some time to realize that she was indeed speaking to Y. Then we got down and hugged our aunts. They started kissing us while tears rained from their eyes.

Meanwhile in Palestine
In November 1947, having learnt of killings of Muslims in Jammu, my father sent a telegram to his cousin in Sialkot enquiring about the welfare of the family. By that time, my grandparents and aunt had reached Sialkot, so he sent a reply, “Elders arrived, children missing.” That took away my parents’ senses. My father left his business and belongings in Palestine and started the journey to Yemen in his car, accompanied by my mother and two younger brothers (the elder 7 years old was born in Jammu and the younger 9 months old was born in Palestine). The civil war was just starting there at the time. It took them several days to enter Saudi Arabia where the journey was safe but monotonous (no trees and rare inhabitance). After a long tiring drive, he reached Yemen, abandoned his car at Yemen seaport and reached Karachi, Pakistan by ship. In those days, only one train in a week used to run from Karachi to Wazirabad [a town near Sialkot] which was due after 3 days. A friend of my father’s in Karachi told him that the children have reached Sialkot. After traveling by train to Wazirabad, my parents reached Sialkot by Tonga [horse-drawn carriage] (a jouney of 44 km) in the end of December 1947.

My Life in Kashmir VI

A few days later, three women came to the house we were staying in. They were the mother, sister-in-law and elder sister of my sister’s friend. The sister-in-law had a deep one inch wide wound in her neck which had become septic…

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

Previous entry here.

A few days later, three women came to the house we were staying in. They were the mother, sister-in-law and elder sister of my sister’s friend. The sister-in-law had a deep one inch wide wound in her neck which had become septic. They were also in the caravan of 6th November, in which people were killed near the canal. My sister’s friend, who was not with them, was a very beautiful girl. The rioters were abducting beautiful young girls. Her mother directed her to jump in the canal and not take her head out. So, she drowned herself in spite of being a good swimmer. Her brother who was my classmate was also killed. They informed us that the sister-in-law, after being pierced with Balum, had fallen unconscious. They had lied down on the ground to escape being hit by bullets. Some people got killed and fell on them. They did not move and waited till the rioters were gone. They had reached us after wandering for several days. They ate tree leaves and grass and drank stagnant water to survive.

The brief of what the ladies and the young man narrated is: “The scattered Muslims in Hindu areas of Jammu city had been mostly killed. Only very few lucky ones shifted to Muslim areas. The 3 Muslim areas became under siege of Sevak Sang, Mahasabha, Akali Dal and the army. The army had taken positions on top of high buildings around Khalka mohallah. They fired on any Muslim coming in sight and kept on firing bursts towards the Muslim area with pauses. Muslims in Jammu city had no weapons after the search but they decided to stay in their houses, their past experience being that such quarrels used to be over in a week or two. They made holes in common walls of their houses, so that they could move to each other without going out to road or street. At some points, however, they had to cross a road or street but surrounding was all Muslim population. The holes were also a precaution in case a quick exit was needed because of an attack.

Only a few Muslims got killed during over 3 weeks’ period. In spite of the army cover, the rioters did not dare to come near the Muslim areas. Then one morning, it was announced, on a loudspeaker fitted on a Tonga [horse carriage], “This is a message from Colonel Peer Muhammad. Pakistan has sent buses to evacuate Muslims to Sialkot. All people desirous of going to Pakistan should gather in the Police Lines.” The Police Lines was on south edge of Jammu city near river Tawi, about 2 kilometers from the farthest end of Khalka mohallah. Though Col (Retd) Peer Muhammad was a leader of National Conference [a political party] yet people believed in the message because of his name, but that was a trap. Any person, who went to see the arrangements, did not return. If somebody carried a suitcase, that was snatched on way by the army. A lot of Muslims reached Police Lines where they saw buses lined up with Pakistan flags on top. On 5th November 1947, people were asked to board the buses and the first caravan started. There was another caravan on 6th November, 1947. The second caravan traveled bypassing Jammu Cantonment. When it reached a forest near a canal, the buses stopped. The passengers of the buses noticed Indian army personnel at a distance on both sides. They thought it was for their protection. Soon they heard slogans of Jai Hind and Sat Siri Akal. Then appeared hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs carrying swords, Balums and daggers. The rioters passed though the Indian army line and headed towards buses. Seeing this, Muslims started jumping out of the buses. At that moment rifle fire was opened by India army on both sides of buses. Men, women and children started running for their life. Many of them jumped in the canal but Balums, swords and bullets pierced them.”

After reaching Pakistan, we came to know that the only living brother of my grandfather had joined the caravan on 6th November and was never seen again. Further, a few persons who had gone with the caravan on 6th November, somehow reached Police Lines early morning on the 7th and informed Captain (Retired) Naseer (a leader of Muslim Conference) about what had happened. By the time a strategy could be decided, people had mounted the buses present there. Capt Naseer passed by all the buses saying loudly, “Hurry up get into the buses.” But, at low tone, he kept on saying, “If you want to stay alive, come out of the buses.” Within an hour all the people came out of the buses. Then Capt Naseer addressed the officers of Indian army present there, “Fire the machine guns fixed on top of the Police Lines and kill all of us. Why are you taking trouble of carrying the people to kill? Thus wasting petrol and time. Start the fire, I promise that not a single person will try to run.” That created a stir. Then Sheikh Abdullah was freed from prison and appointed prime minister of the state. He delivered an emotional speech. The gist was “Muslims and Hindus of the state are brothers. Henceforth, there will be no killing. I will go round and see myself that peace and tranquility prevails.” It is said that Sheikh Abdullah, before accepting premiership, had demanded that Indian army from Nabha and Patiala must be replaced by army from Madras who were known to be neutral. Two days later, caravans from Police Lines started reaching Sialkot without being attacked. My grandparents and some other relatives reached Pakistan on 9th November 1947.

Next in this series here

My Life in Kashmir V

Our neighbour and his brother were Colonels in Maharaja’s army. They were on the border but their families were at home. Same day it came to be known that their families had planned to shift to some safer place. Our guardians requested them …

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

Our neighbour and his brother were Colonels in Maharaja’s army. They were on the border but their families were at home. Same day it came to be known that their families had planned to shift to some safer place. Our guardians requested them to take six minor children of our family with them: 3 cousins, my 2 older sisters and me.

During the next night, we were asked to quietly move to a military truck parked on the road keeping our heads low. We took with us some rice, flour, lentils, one liter tin of olive oil, one single-sized quilt and some money. We reached Jammu Cantonment, Satowari, and stayed in a military residence protected by 4 military men who did not stand around the house but lived in a room about 20 meters away from the house. Only one of them had a gun while armed rioters used to come in fifties. We lived there under fear of being murdered. Sometimes, after the sunset, we used to hear “Jai Hind” and “Sat Siri Akal”. Those nights particularly we used to pass under great fear, praying to Allah for help and security. Six of us used to sleep on a Namda (felt) 6 ft x 4 ft and one single size quilt over us not covering my head and feet, others were taller than me. Nights in those days were cold. Allah protected us otherwise we should have died of Pneumonia.

I and a cousin used to go for collecting fire wood. Till we returned our sisters used to stand behind the outer door and prayed for our safe return. I used to break and collect wood and he used to pull the bundle. Normally, we got dried cactus. My palms were full of thorn pricks.

The edibles and water being available in small quantity, each one of us used to eat one small piece of bread or a little rice with lentils. When olive oil was finished, we used to eat boiled rice with boiled lentils (no salt or pepper). When lentils were finished, we ate only boiled rice. Rice was about to finish and we were worried but Allah was kind. When I and my cousin went out looking for firewood, a burqa clad lady came near me and whispered, “Where are you living ?” She knew us. She followed us keeping a distance and entered some minutes after us. Having come to know of the food problem, she promised to arrange something. Her residence was half a mile away and an easy route. Two days later, I went to her residence with money and she gave me some lentils and rice.

In the end of October, the houselady informed us that Muslims in Poonchh, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad had started fighting on 24th October, 1947 for freeing the state and that fierce battle was going on between them and the state army.

During those days, the tap water was hardly sufficient for drinking in Jammu city as well as in the cantonment. So, we could not take bath for about one month. On 6th November 1947 (about noon), five of us boys went to take bath in the nearby Canal. We saw many clots of blood floating in the canal water. We got scared and rushed back. When we informed the people in the house about that, we were advised not to go out and not to open the outer door.

That afternoon, somebody knocked at the outer door hysterically. I was standing in the courtyard near the outer door. The lady of the house asked all the female members to go to the rear room, send the boys out and lock the room door from inside. She directed the boys to give me cover and signaled me to open the door. As I opened the door, a tall young man in his early 20s, wearing a sleeping suit rushed in, shouted, “Sab mur gayay” [everyone died], fell on his face and fainted. I closed the outer door immediately. The other boys rushed to the young man, turned him over and two of them screamed, “what happened?” Somebody sprinkled water on his face. He got up, shouted and fainted again. Then he was lifted and taken to the room and all children were ordered to leave the room. Only wives of the two colonels and the oldest boy remained inside. In the evening, we came to know that he was son of our neighbor’s elder brother who lived in Pthanan da mohallah. They had started for Pakistan in a caravan 6th November. All family except him was killed. He knew the way to our residence and had come hiding and running. He informed that a caravan had also gone on the previous day. This made us think that all our relations in Jammu were dead. So, we all started weeping and there was no one to console. We kept crying and did not eat anything. On evening of the next day, the two ladies, still sobbing, consoled us and gave us rice to eat.

Next in this series here

My Life in Kashmir IV

Initially, Muslim majority provinces were to form Pakistan and the rest India. States were to decide their future according to wishes of their people. Baluchistan, Sind, NWFP, Punjab and Bengal were Muslim majority provinces. It was decided to divide Punjab and Bengal …

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

Initially, Muslim majority provinces were to form Pakistan and the rest India. States were to decide their future according to wishes of their people. Baluchistan, Sind, NWFP, Punjab and Bengal were Muslim majority provinces. It was decided to divide Punjab and Bengal on district basis. The state of Kashmir was overwhelmingly Muslim. See this post for the population figures according to religion. In Jammu town, Muslims were a minority. Muslim population areas in Jammu town were (1) Khalka mohallah (Khalka means at comparatively lower altitude) (2) Ustad da mohallah (3) Pthanan da mohallah. (Air Marshal (Retd) Asghar Khan [Chief of Pakistan Air Force and politician in later years] lived in Pthanan da mohallah). Khalka mohallah was much larger than the other two combined. We lived at an edge of this mohallah at a T-junction of roads. The diagonally opposite houses were of Brahmins. I had heard them some of cursing Muslims. I did not go to that area during 1947.

Rawalpindi, Jehlum, Sialkot and Gurdaspur touched the state and were Muslim majority districts, and the state being overwhelmingly Muslim, the Muslims of the state were sure to be a part of Pakistan. Muslims of Jammu used to take out processions. Once small children were included in the procession including me. The slogans used to be “Lay kay rahain gay Pakistan” [We will get Pakistan], “Bun kay rahay ga Pakistan” [Pakistan will be founded], “What do you want ? Pakistan”, “Pakistan ka matlab kia ? La ilaha il-Allah” [The meaning of Pakistan? There’s no god except God]. During July 1947, Muslims of the state passed “Accession to Pakistan Resolution” and 14th August, 1947 [the date of the founding of Pakistan] was celebrated with immense joy. On my wish, my grandfather hoisted a large Pakistan flag on top of our two-storey house using steel pipe 32 ft tall.

Boundary line of Pakistan and India in Punjab was not announced till 14th August, 1947. In the final boundary commission award, district Gurdaspur was divided which provided India with a clear land passage to Jammu.

After announcement of division of Gurdaspur, Nehru, Patel and another Congress leader reached Jammu and started pressing Maharaja Hari Singh to declare accession to India. They went back after 3 or 4 days without any formal announcement. Soon after, Indian army started forced landing in Jammu. Also, militant wings of political parties of India (Sevak Sang, Maha Sabha and Akali Dal) started entering Jammu in large numbers with Balums, daggers, swords, rifles, etc. under the protection of intruding Indian army.

It was announced in Jammu that all people must deposit everything that could be used as a weapon. After a few days, a search of houses of Muslims was conducted and even domestic knives of over 4 inch blade were confiscated while Hindus and Sikhs wandered around carrying all types of weapons.

With the start of October 1947, killing of Muslims in the villages had started. We saw villages on fire from top of our house. The number of villages on fire increased as the days passed. On sighting the moon of Zil-Hajj [the Islamic month in which Haj is performed and animals sacrificed on Eid in commemoration of Abraham’s offer of sacrifice of his son], rumors spread, “Pehlay Muslay qurbani kartay thay, iss Eid per hum Muslon ki qurbani karain gay” [In previous years, Muslims used to sacrifice animals; this year, we’ll sacrifice Muslims]. A few days later, curfew was imposed on the city and attacks on scattered houses of Muslims within the Hindu areas of city started. News of Muslims being killed or injured started pouring in but nobody could go out to assist anybody due to curfew which was being supervised by the army.

One night, roar of machine gun fire was heard coming from two sides of our house. Target was our house because my grand father used to finance Muslim Conference [a political party of Kashmir] and that the large and high flag of Pakistan was still fluttering on our housetop. There were shouts of Muslims raising slogans “Nara-i-Takbeer – Allah-o-Akbar” [God is great] and “Pakistan zindabad” [Long live Pakistan]. Next morning, one of our tenants for over a decade (a Brahmin Hindu) came to our house with a bucket of milk and gave it to our aunt saying, “I thought that milk from your lands may have not arrived. So, I have brought it of my own cow for the children.” None of us was in a mood to drink milk or even eat anything. Next morning, my aunt threw the milk in the drain outside the house. A cat came and drank some milk. After few minutes we heard some strange voice. We rushed to the door and saw the cat dying.

Next in the series here.

My Life in Kashmir III

In the 1940s, every year there used to be a quarrel between Hindus and Muslims on Janam Ashtami [Hindu festival] and Miladun Nabi [Muslim festival] but the matter used to be clear within a week or so. The mischief was often started by the Sevak Sang …

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

In the 1940s, every year there used to be a quarrel between Hindus and Muslims on Janam Ashtami [Hindu festival] and Miladun Nabi [Muslim festival] but the matter used to be clear within a week or so. The mischief was often started by the Sevak Sang (a Hindu militant political party) trained youth. Activities of Sevak Sang became more hectic with onset of 1947.

I was studying in an English medium school named Model Academy where duration of study for Junior Cambridge was 9 years (including 2 years of nursery) and another 2 years for the Senior Cambridge. In March 1947, I was in 2nd year after nursery when the school closed.

When the creation of Pakistan became sure, hatred could be noted on faces of some Brahmin Hindus. We had one Brahmin, Rambeer, in our class who was a member of Sevak Sang. I had seen him practicing Gatka (wooden replica of sword) and fight with Balum. (Balum is a long wooden rod fitted on one end with a twin-edged large dagger shaped steel piece). Final decision about independence was announced in March 1947. Next day Rambeer passing by me accompanied by a classmate, Keerti Kumar, abused Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah [founder of Pakistan]. On asking him not to do that, he took out a knife. I stood there and he tore my coat from behind with knife and went away after threatening me. He was taller, stronger and 3 years older than me. Two days later, our teacher had not come and we were waiting for a substitute teacher, when Keerti Kumar abused Muslims. On asking him to shut up, he jumped on me saying, “We will kill you Muslims and there will be no Pakistan.” I retaliated and gave him a bloody nose. Other students kept shouting “stop it” but no one intervened. After seeing blood on my shirt, a Muslim and a Sikh student separated us. Our class comprised 6 girls (one Muslim, 4 Hindu, one Christian) and 14 boys (6 Muslim, one Sikh, 7 Hindus). Later, the girls reported the matter to the Principal, who was a non-Brahmin Hindu, who held inquiry personally. All the girls, and 5 Muslim, one Sikh and one Hindu boy favoured me while Rambeer and another Hindu boy favoured Keerti Kumar. When pressed by the Principal, Keerti Kumar divulged that Rambeer had instigated him and that two days back Rambeer had cut Ajmal’s coat with knife and had threatened him. Consequently, both were suspended. My academic record at school was good and I had never quarreled before. A few days later, a quarrel took place outside the school between Hindu and Muslim students of higher class and a boy was injured. Consequently, the school was closed.

Next in this series here.

My Life in Kashmir II

Jammu Tawi was a beautiful and clean town on slant of mountain. Rains were usual and after rain roads and streets used to glitter. Town of Jammu had a specialty. It had flowing waters on its three and a half sides…

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

Jammu Tawi was a beautiful and clean town on slant of mountain. Rains were usual and after rain roads and streets used to glitter. Town of Jammu had a specialty. It had flowing waters on its three and a half sides. On two and a half sides was river Tawi and on one side was a canal fed by river Chenab. This canal had icy cold water. After passing through electric power station, the canal passed under the river Tawi where Tawi crossed over the canal through a man-made channel bridge.

Inhabitants of Jammu were fond of picnics on the waterside or over the hills. They were also good swimmers. We used to have picnics on the banks of canal in summer. We did not go to the canal on holidays because large number of people used come from Punjab on holidays. In winter, we used to go to Tawi or on mountains across the river Tawi which had some flat areas on the top. There used to be monkeys on these mountains. Once during picnic on the mountain, while we were playing, monkeys took some of our rotis (bread). In summer 1946, we went to the mountain passing through Tawi at the up side. On return, we noticed that water level in Tawi had risen and speed of flow had increased many fold. We started passing through river Tawi. While crossing, we lost our belongings and my elder sister and a female cousin were carried away by water (they didn’t drown). They were rescued about 10 meters down stream. During picnics at canal, we used to place basket of mangos, melons, water melons or milk bottles in the canal and tie them to a tree with a rope. They used to be refrigerated.

We used to spend our summer vacation in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, which was a valley of river Jehlum. There we used to live in a house-boat which had two bedrooms with attached bathrooms and a large drawing-cum-dinning room. A cook-boat was attached to it which housed the kitchen and residence of servants. Vendors used to sell fish and vegetables on boats. Fish they used to catch with net after getting the order. So it used to be jumping fresh. Sometimes, I used to put fish in water tub and enjoy seeing them swim.

We could sail in river Jehlum in our house-boat but generally we used to go on a nicely decorated small boat called Shikara, particularly, during moonlit nights. While in Srinagar, we used to visit natural springs on mountains, beautiful gardens of the Mughal times and high mountain towns like Kulgam, Gulmerg, Tanmerg, Pehalgam, etc. The large mosque, known as Hazrat Bal, was a very sacred place for all the Muslims. In one room, Moo-i-mubarak (a hair of Prophet Muhammad, SAS) had been kept.

The state comprised 6 distinct areas:

  1. Ladakh
  2. Baltistan
  3. Gilgit
  4. Kashmir
  5. Poonchh
  6. Jammu.

All of these have distinct culture and language but they formed a well-knit state. Nobody ever spoke like G. M. Syed [Sindhi nationalist leader] or Abdul Wali Khan [Pashtun nationalist leader]. Gilgitis resembled Baltis, and people of Poonchh could speak Kashmiri like people of Abbotabad can speak Pashto but their culture was different to Kashmiris. People of Poonchh, in my opinion, were more aggressive and clever than even Dogras. All other Muslims were soft-spoken and simple people. Baltis were most simple and honest people in whole of the state, perhaps, due to remaining cut off from the outer world for most part of the year. Some people in Ladakh were Buddhist. In whole of the state, Brahmins, though very soft spoken, were very clever. People in Jammu were generally prosperous, next Kashmir, next Poonch, next Gilgit, next Baltistan, next Ladakh. Literacy in Jammu was more than even Punjab and many other parts of India. Qudratullah Shahab [famous bureaucrat and writer — ZA] and Khushi Muhammad Naazar [poet and governor (?) of Jammu — ZA] of Jammu gained world fame.

Next in this series here.

My Life in Kashmir I

My great-grandfather, after getting fed up with high handedness of the British rulers of India, took refuge in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (here-after called state) from Qila Sobha Singh, District Sialkot [in the Punjab province of Pakistan and very close to Jammu …

See Zack’s note about this series. It also has an index of this series.

My great-grandfather, after getting fed up with high handedness of the British rulers of India, took refuge in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (here-after called state) from Qila Sobha Singh, District Sialkot [in the Punjab province of Pakistan and very close to Jammu — ZA]. His father and grand father were Zamindars (land owner/cultivators). The Maharaja, based on background of the family, granted him provisional citizenship of the state. He purchased a house in Jammu Tawi (the winter capital of the state) and settled there. All land in Punjab having been forcibly acquired by the British and Sikh rulers without any compensation, he had to start from the beginning. So, he had hard time in getting established again.

My grandfather shifted to south India and started business in Madras, Bombay and Hyderabad state. Luck favoured him and he became an international merchant. He used to visit countries in southern Europe, northern Africa and Far East. He had not attended any conventional school due to bad days of his father but learned to speak seven languages including three major languages, Arabic, English and Chinese. He purchased and built property in Jammu and came to be known as the richest Muslim of Jammu. He was granted First Class Citizenship of the state which was a rare favour to an outsider.

My grandfather first had two daughters, then one son (Abdul Ghafur), my father, born on Thursday, September 17, 1908 at Breli, India. One daughter had no children. Her husband died in Egypt in 1946 when she was in Jammu to visit her parents. Thereafter, she lived with us. My father married daughter (Noor Fatima)1 of his maternal uncle Haji Allah Ditt on Saturday, March 29, 1930. In early 1930’s, again clashing with the British rulers of India, my father shifted to Egypt where his father-in-law was already living. Soon he shifted to Palestine and established his business there.

My eldest sister was born at Cairo, Egypt and the next at Jabalpur, South India. Then, I was born on Friday, the 6th August, 1937 at Jammu Tawi. My grandfather was so happy that he celebrated my birth with great fervor and gifted gold necklaces to his two daughters and all the nieces.

I was still an infant when I started having fever and losing weight. After couple of months an abscess was diagnosed at junction of right leg with body. That was operated upon to remove puss etc then the cut was not getting jointed. All efforts failed and there remained no hope of my survival except by prayers. As a last effort, the surgeon applied hot steel rod. Allah, Soobhanohoo Ta’ala, granted me second life.

Next in this series here.

Continue reading “My Life in Kashmir I”