Continuing after I reached Sialkot (Pakistan)
On arrival at Sialkot, our aunts took us to Chiti Havelli (White Palace) at Imam Sahib Chowk, Sialkot city. Chiti Haveli was the best known building in Sialkot belonging to first cousin of my parents. My grandparents distributed sweets. Next day, a relative took me to a school just across the road where I was admitted after a written test. It was winter and I had no winter clothes because we left every thing at Jammu. Due to paucity of funds, a cut-price coat was purchased. When my aunt gave me that coat, I saw a flood of tears running down her eyes. She grasped me for several minutes then kissed me and controlling herself said, “Dearest son, I never thought that you will ever wear such clothes.” I was sad but satisfied that I was going to school after a break of about nine months. Some days later, my parents arrived.
Information given by my father
My parents lived in Tulkaram, Palestine. Once father had mentioned that he had planned to shift to area now known as Malaysia because he had received an invitation from some senior officer of British Army who, some years earlier, was contact officer of father in Palestine as Colonel. That officer had invited him on the basis that British Army was to withdraw from Palestine after decision on Israel and that new venues were to open in the far eastern region. But the massacre in India distracted my father’s attention.
In first week of November, 1947, having learnt of mass killings of Muslims in Jammu, my father had sent a telegram to his cousin in Sialkot enquiring welfare of family. By that time, my grand parents and paternal aunt had reached Sialkot, so, he telegraphed, “Elders arrived children missing”. That took away my parents’ senses. In mid-November, 1947, my father left his business and belongings (worth millions of rupees) in Palestine and started journey to Yemen in his car, accompanied by my mother and two younger brothers (one aged 7 years & other 7 months) . My parents being British India Nationals and my father dealing with civil supplies to British Army, my father had an Identity Card allowing him to enter any British Military area. On way they had to pass through Jew majority area where, in those days, imported Jews were killing Muslims. So, my father had to play “hide & seek” and it took him 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.
My Parents Reach Pakistan
In those days not many ships used to embark at Karachi. Regular service was to Bombay. My father abandoned his car at Yemen seaport and reached Karachi by ship via Bombay. India not having transferred share of railways to Pakistan, only one train in a week used to run from Karachi to Wazirabad which was due after 3 days. The then owner of Central Hotel Karachi, Mr Abdul Karim, was a close friend of my father. My parents were received at Kimarri by him and they stayed with him. Mr Abdul Karim gave my parents the news that the children (we) had reached Sialkot safely.
After traveling by train to Wazirabad, my parents reached Sialkot (44 km journey) by Tonga (horse driven carriage) in the end of December, 1947. While seeing off my parents, Owner of Mr Abdul Karim advised my father that Karachi was a place for high class business so my father should return quickly to Karachi with the entire family, but my father didn’t like climate of Karachi and didn’t benefit from a good advice.
Shifting to independent house
After arrival of my parents at Sialkot, we shifted to a house in Boonga (now Islampura) which had been gifted by my father to his sister who had died before 1947. During 1948, I suffered from bad throat. My third sister was born on September 06, 1948 in Sialkot.
Shifting to Rawalpindi
Late in 1948, we shifted to Rawalpindi in a rented house in Jhangi Mohallah, off Circular Road that connected Murree Road with Chowk Banni. The house was newly built but had no electricity and water supply connections. Corporation’s water tap was in the street about 50 meters from the house. I and my brother used to fetch water in small buckets. Further, we used a kerosene lantern for the first time. (Jammu city and all other places where our family lived had electric power supply). When I was carrying the lantern, bhup bhup sound started and the flame started jumping. After some time, the flame flared up and, fearing hazard, it was extinguished. I took the lantern to the land lady who lived upstairs. She lit that after correcting the fault. Again, when I was carrying, the same thing happened but that time the flame got extinguished. I got it corrected again. It happened third time, but being late in night, we forgot about the lantern and tried to sleep. Next day, we took proper lesson and training from the land lady and were able to handle the lantern, though with extreme care.
Our Education Starts
My eldest sister was admitted in first year at Gordon College, next sister to 8th class in Government Girls School, I in 6th class and my younger brother in class 1 at near by Islamia Middle School, Circular Road.
My Father Started Business
My father had done some study courses about manufacture of fire clay bricks and porcelain pottery. He conducted raw material and market research and, also, held discussions with the concerned authorities and planned a fire clay bricks factory keeping in mind to develop that in to a porcelain pottery factory. Being a refugee from Jammu, he could not buy land (Refugees from Jammu were not at par with other refugees. It was said that they would go back to Jammu). A former employee of father introduced him to a resident of Rawalpindi who agreed to provide his land in Westridge, Rawalpindi with the condition that he would have 25% share in the business though land formed only 10% of the factory cost.
In those days, our paternal cousin wrote to father from Kuala Lumpur, “I had approached such and such British General for a supply order and tried to convince him giving your reference. He told me that he had sent a letter to you long ago on Palestine address and had not received a reply. He has asked me to tell you to reach Kuala Lumpur immediately.” However, father had been disheartened due to all his live hard work / saving having gone waste and also being busy in the fire clay bricks project, he had decided to stay in Pakistan.
We get our own house
A refugee had two evacuee houses in his possession and wanted to vacate one for money. That was an old house but had electricity and water supply connections. So, my father paid him the demanded money and we shifted in that house in Jhangi Mohallah, off Circular Road. The floors of two rooms and kitchen were of cement concrete, three rooms had brick-laid floor, one store and roof was made of mud.
The First Setback to My Father
A man had been tenant of my father in Jammu for some years before 1947. After arriving in Pakistan, he was out of job. He visited us and requested my father for job in the factory. My father, placing confidence in him, made him custodian of all records. Father put in lot of hard work in establishing manufacture of fire clay bricks. Samples from the first lot of production were sent to testing laboratory as well as to the prospective customers. The sample was passed and many orders were received. On this the owner of land became very greedy and, in total disregard of the agreement, he demanded 50% share against his land. Not getting that, he bribed the custodian of records and, one night, the custodian vanished after handing over all documents and possession of the factory to the owner of land who then filed a law suit against my father. In 1949, the Company Judge, against all evidence and principles, decided the case in favour of the owner of land and also declared price of factory around Rs 36,000, that is, 35% of the amount spent by my father. The owner of land paid Rs 26,000 to my father in bits spread over 10 years. Decades after death of that man, his son Shaukat Ali paid the remaining Rs 10,000 in year 1992, that is, one year after the death of my father. Rs 10,000 in year 1949 could buy a house which in the year 1992 would have been worth Rs 1,500,000.
Maternal Grand-father back from Egypt
My maternal grand-father had settled in Cairo (Egypt). He decided to come to Pakistan and settle here. In April, 1949, I accompanied my father to
Karachi by train to receive my maternal grand-father, a maternal uncle and two maternal aunts. That was my first journey to Karachi. I took a small diary with me and kept on writing whatever I saw on way, viz., towns, railway stations, rivers, bridges, tunnels, etc. Early morning on April 23, our host took me to seaport because father had fallen ill. I recognized my maternal grand-father while he was sitting on a chair on deck of the ship. After customs / immigration clearance we came to our host’s residence. We left for Rawalpindi by train the same day. After staying with us in awalpindi for some days, they all left for Sialkot.
Death of My Paternal Grand Mother
My paternal grand mother was sister of my maternal grand-father. She died on Sunday, August 28, 1949. She was the only daughter of her parents and had 4 brothers including of my maternal grand-father.
Second Setback to my Father
My father had his money in the Punjab National Bank,Jammu City. Sardar Shaukat Hayat of Wah, who later became a politician, was chief of the head office at Lahore. He had allowed transfer of Hindu’s accounts to India. Father approached him and requested for exchange of his account in Jammu with some Hindu’s account in Pakistan. Sardar Shaukat Hayat, in stead, informed Indian government and my father’s account was frozen. Later, it came to be known that Sardar Shaukat Hayat had transferred accounts of Hindus taking commission from them which he could not demand from my father. Thus, my father lost his money (a few hundred thousand rupees) held in Punjab National Bank, Jammu.
Father Become Yarn Dealer
Having lost about Rs 100,000 in the fire clay bricks factory in 1949, my father started whole sale business of Ghee in Narankari Bazar in partnership with occupant of the shop. After one year, having suffered loss, father paid to the occupant for getting possession of shop and started import and whole sale of different types of yarn (silk yarn from China, rayon yarn from Italy, cotton yarn from Egypt), and earned his living.
My High School and College
After Islamia Middle School, I was admitted to Muslim High School (1 km from our house) in eighth class. It was a very good school in all respects including competent teachers, laboratory, physical training and games but did not have a proper teacher for Islamiat. Only in class 9, we were taught Islamic Studies by a qualified teacher.
When we were in 9th class, a class-mate proposed that we should form a Prayers Committee which should comprise of class-mates who do not tell lie and like to offer prayers. Starting with 3 members, the committee expanded to 6 in a month. Each member had to report every morning how many prayers he missed. For each missed prayer, he had to pay one Anna (one-sixteenth of Rupee). With this money, we used to buy some edibles for all the members. This money diminished with time but some students started offering prayers regularly. After Matriculation, I joined Gordon College Where I studied F. Sc. non-medical (pre-engineering).
Death of My Paternal Grand Father
In 1954, there were no rains which brought very hot summer. There was scarcity of water. It was announced that, if there is no rain within next few days, water will be supplied in canisters at the rate of 4 gallon per person per day and not though pipe lines. Thirteen persons died of sun stroke. My grand father also had sun stroke but he survived. Next year, on Thursday, June 02, 1955, he died suddenly. Only about 10 minutes earlier, I was with him and he was talking to me. He called my father and when he reached him after two minutes, he was dead.
Third Setback to My Father
In later half of year 1955, father started having severe pain in the back. That was first diagnosed as pain in kidney but treatment had no effect. My eldest sister, having passed MBBS in 1955, was working as house surgeon in Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore. She advised taking father to Lahore. So, I took father to Lahore and he was admitted in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. There the disease was diagnosed as chronic Amoebiosis for which he was treated and started recovering. During illness of father (over 6 months), business was looked after by an employee of father. He was employed in 1950 on recommendation of some friend of father that he was an honest man. A number of times, father had helped him financially and even bore expenses of his son’s marriage. During my father’s illness, he converted the business to general provision. After father was able to move around, he pulled himself out on the pretext that he could no more spare time due to family business. The employee left rendering a loss of about Rs 100,000.
I Joined Engineering College
After passing F. Sc., I joined Engineering College, Lahore. In those days, that was the only engineering college for Punjab. 150 students were admitted every year, 120 on merit and 30 on nomination from other provinces and backward areas. I applied through government of Azad Jammu Kashmir against 5 seats. AJK merit wise, I was second. AJK government officials added a resident of Sialkot and three with lower marks (an orphan and residents of Gilgit and Kashmir). My name was excluded. By chance father came to know of that before the last date of applications. So, I applied direct on merit basis and was granted admission.
My Health Problem
In June 1957, a few days before the first annual examination, I suffered from high fever with sour throat and severe headache. I was taken by my roommates to a physician. Treatment cured my headache and fever in a fortnight but created other complications. I became so weak that I could not sit for even 30 minutes. So, I could not appear in the First Annual Examination. After the examination, I was sent home accompanied by another student. In those days, my sister was posted as Medical Officer at a hill station, Palandri, (AJK). I went to Pallundri. My mother and three youngest siblings were already there with my sister. I remained under treatment for over two months and then, went to Lahore. Till that time I could not sit for more than a few hours at a stretch.
I was allowed to sit in the supplementary examination and, with the blessing of God, I was successful in the exam. Choice of engineering discipline used to be based on result of the first annual examination. I chose Mechanical Engineering because of my liking for it. Classes started just after the examination so I stayed in Lahore.
My disease had not been diagnosed. Doctor at Lahore had opined that I would not be able to continue my studies and had advised rest, but I couldn’t afford to discontinue my studies. I kept on falling sick for over two years which had an adverse effect on my education. Problem was number of lectures which had to be 80% within each year which I could not achieve during each of next two years but achieved 3rd year and was allowed to appear in the Second year examination which I passed. Then, after completing lectures of 3rd year, I came home in 1961 but my name could not be sent for examination due to late completion of 80% lectures. I stayed with eldest sister who had by then shifted to Wah Cantonment. My health improved and, also, I studied in peace. In June, 1962, I appeared in the final examination of B. Sc. Engineering and with the blessing of God I passed.
Death of my second paternal aunt
My sister was posted at a Hospital at Mirpur (AJK). My paternal aunt was living with her. On Friday afternoon, January 23, 1959, my sister and aunt were invited to a get together where president of AJK was to come. After offering Jumma prayer, my aunt was getting ready for the function when suddenly she felt breathing problem. Hospital was across the road where professional meeting of specialist doctors of Pakistan was in progress. Learning about severe sickness of my aunt, concerned specialist doctor arrived with necessary equipment. My aunt said to my sister, “Daughter you will face lot of inconvenience”. There-after, she kept reciting some thing without sound. Then her lips stopped moving and she died. I was informed by a cousin living in Lahore on January 24 (early morning). I immediately left for Rawalpindi.
A Trip to Remember
My sister was alone in Mirpur so I planned to spend my summer vacation in Mirpur. A friend proposed to first accompany him to Bhimber and after a few days stay there, I could go to Mirpur direct from Bhimber. We left Rawalpindi on early morning of July 3, 1960 by bus. It started raining on way and by the time we reached Gujrat, it was raining heavily. We were to take bus for Bhimber from Gujrat. After waiting for over 2 hours a bus started off to Bhimber. At several places on way water was passing over the road and the bus drove through that. Then came a deeper water and we were asked to dismount. We passed through knee-deep water and mounted a bus which had arrived there from the opposite direction. Then we remained only 5 passengers. After a little travel this bus also stopped. Ahead we saw a stream, rather a wild torrent, over 20 meter wide. Bhimber town was across the torrent. By chance, two military men arrived with 5 horses who were going to Bhimber. We requested them to take us across the stream. I and my friend mounted two horses. Horses swam because their feet were not touching the bottom of stream and were being drifted with the flow and resultant forward speed was very little. With the blessing of God, the horses took us across. Later, we learned that 3 soldiers had drowned while crossing the stream half an hour before we crossed.
Remaining stranded for one week, I started for Mirpur. We had gone about 15 km that all passengers were asked to get down so that bus could go over the broken road. This was repeated many times. Sometimes passengers had to push the bus for half a kilometer or so. I reached Mirpur in the late afternoon tired and dying with thirst. My sister served me with soft drink and I drank about 2 liters.
The Fourth Setback to my Father
Each refugee family from Jammu Kashmir, on arrival in Pakistan, was issued a card on which wheat, rice and sugar could be drawn from special shops free of cost. My father returned that card saying that he should earn his living and not be a burden on public exchequer. Later, refugees from Jammu Kashmir were asked to deposit these cards in lieu of which each family was given 10 to 25 acre of land free of cost based on family background.
My First Employment
Having passed B. Sc. Engineering, I started looking for employment. I had appeared for test / interviews in a number of organizations and was waiting for call. On 7th December, 1962, I visited Government Polytechnic Institute,
Rawalpindi to see a friend who was Senior Instructor there. He introduced me to the Principal of the institute. Knowing that I was good in engineering drawing & design, the Principal forced me to start working as teacher till I got any other job.
First Case of Hypocrisy with me
Every day on reaching the Polytechnic Institute, I used to walk by the block that housed Principal’s office. Principal’s office was on the first floor. One day, when I had passed by that block, a colleague, Mr “M”, met me and asked, “Are you coming from Principal’s office ?” I said no and proceeded to my department. After about 25 minutes a friend came to my office and said, “Oh, you are here! I thought that you had not come today.” On knowing that I came early morning, he informed me that, about 20 minutes back, when he was with the principal, Mr “M” entered Principal’s office and said, “I have been looking for Mr Bhopal but he is not traceable. Is he on leave today ?”
Employment in a Factory
I had appeared in tests and Interviews conducted by large-size manufacturing organization in Wah after Final Year B. Sc. Engineering examination but before declaration of the result. In April, 1963, I received appointment letter from for the post of Technical Assistant (Class-1 post) and I joined on May 1, 1963 alongwith 8 other engineers. My eldest sister had shifted to Wah by then. On her insistence I started living with them. An elaborate training and study, spreading over 6 months, was chalked out for the 9 of us. After training I was posted in Production Drawing and Design office for 2 months after which I was posted in a large-size factory and made member of a team responsible for development of new items. On November 11, 1964, I was appointed as Assistant Works Manage.
Second Case of Hypocrisy
During first month of training (May, 1963), a colleague trainee, Mr “K”, telephoned and invited me on a cup of tea in his office. I said that we should do such things after and not during working hours. He insisted and said that he had already talked to my boss on telephone and taken permission and that he had also ordered snacks for me, and that my not going to him would be too bad. I looked for my boss and not finding him told his P.A and went. Mr K made me sit in his office and went out saying that he would be back in a minute but he came back after 10 minutes. Expressing my displeasure, I returned. On reaching my factory, my boss called me and asked where I was for over half an hour. I said, “Only 20 minutes back I had gone to Mr “K” as he mentioned that he had already talked to you.” My boss asked me to take a seat and advised me to be careful about my friends, then said, “Mr ‘K’ talked to me about 15 minutes back and said that he had been searching for you for over half an hour because he had to give you an urgent message but had failed to find you. Then he asked me whether you were on leave. He didn’t talk to me about inviting you.”
Injured in a Road Accident
Wedding of my sister was fixed for August 6, 1964. All arrangements were done amicably. Only one item, soft drink, made me spin. Having been racing my Vespa scooter for the last 4 days from early morning to late evening, I was dead tired. At bout 2 pm, I was returning to my home on a wide one-way road. A little ahead, a road joined it at acute angle. Two taxi cabs turned round in front of me the wrong way one after the other. Trying to save head on collision, I got off the road where the scooter jumped over protruding stones and I lost balance. I don’t know what happened later and for how long I remained unconscious. I felt brisk shivering and heard high pitch buzzing noise. When shivering and buzzing noise reduced, I opened my eyes to see that I was lying on a bare bed surrounded by dozens of stunned people. After some time I gave my home address. My father arrived after about an hour and took me home. I had a broken right knee disc and lost a lump of muscle from near my right forearm in addition to many other injuries.
Had my Fourth Life
In 3rd week of December, 1964, I suffered with fever and was administered anti-Malarial medicine. With passing of days, my condition deteriorated and I became very weak. Then Inoticed that I was passing blood in urine. Some how I reached hospital. I remember to have entered the laboratory but when I opened my eyes, I was in hospital room being given blood transfusion. The person on duty told me that I was there for the last 3 days. I tried to lift my head but fell unconscious. When I opened my eyes second time, I saw a doctor attending me. I remained in hospital for two weeks and then had to rest at home. The anti-Malarial medicine (American) had caused internal hemorrhage in kidneys. Some months later that drug was withdrawn.
Shifting to Rawalpindi
During 1964, my parents had shifted to their newly built house in Satellite
Town, Rawalpindi. In 1965, I shifted from my sister’s house in Wah to our house in Satellite Town. There-after, I used to travel daily from Rawalpindi to Wah and back by bus. Leaving my house at 5:20 am, after brisk walk of about 2 km, I used to catch the bus at Asghar Mall Crossing. After reaching Wah, I had to walk again for 1 km and the same on return reaching back home at about 6:30 pm. May there be freezing cold or hot day or raining heavily, I had to follow the routine.
Visit to Germany & UK
I visited Düsseldorf, West Germany for one month in November, 1966, and for four and a half months in May, 1967 for some special tasks of my organization. At the end I went to Briton for two weeks on holiday.
Continued on page 7c