Life Back Then

Face of Partition 1947

Sarab Kaur Zavaleta is an American photographer, writer, filmmaker, and journalist. She co-produced the film Altered Minds (2013), starring Judd Hirsch. She is on the Executive Board of the Foreign Press Association in New York City. Born in India, she is a world traveler, speaks six languages, and has three grown children. Her experience includes working as a film editor at the United Nations, involvement in Sikh cultural events in America, chairing UNICEF charity events, serving as a newscaster and interviewer for the cable TV network Bombay Productions, acting in indie productions. More information at:  https://www.seamlyfilms.com/

Editor's note: Sarab is looking for funding and a producer/filmmaker/director to make a film based on this story. Please contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Family photo album – B K Chatterji

Pulok Chatterji was born in 1951. He completed his schooling in Bombay (now Mumbai), and then studied Economics at St. Stephen's College and the Delhi School of Economics. After this, he taught Economics at St. Stephen's before being selected for the Indian Administrative Service in 1974. He retired from government service in 2011, and served as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh till 2014.

Pulok met his future wife Jaya Chatterji née Srinivasan in 1970 when both of them were M.A. (Economics) students at the Delhi School of Economics.

Born on November 2, 1949, Jaya did her schooling in Cairo and Kampala. She graduated with Economics Honours from Miranda House, Delhi and completed her Masters in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. After teaching Economics for a few years in the College of Vocational Studies, Delhi, Jaya got her PhD from the Banaras Hindu University.

Jaya's professional life was subsequently devoted to the environment and social development sectors. She worked in the Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development, The Indo-Canadian Environment Facility, and the Asian Development Bank. Jaya loved her work. She started and steered many innovative projects in various parts of India.

In the last seven years of her life she developed an immense interest in heritage conservation, art and art history. She taught herself by reading, visiting museums and joining courses. After retirement, she did voluntary work in the National Museum, New Delhi, where she helped set up a ‘Docent' system for the first time. She also did pro-bono work in Rashtrapati Bhavan, and in the area of heritage conservation in Delhi.

Jaya passed away on 22 April, 2016.

My father, Birendra Kumar Chatterji, was born on 10 December, 1923 to Professor Khetra Pada Chatterjee and Janhabi Chatterjee. The family lived in Allahabad where Khetra Pada Chatterjee was a Professor of Chemistry, and later Head of Department in Allahabad University. The Chatterjee family was one of the leading probasi Bengali families of Allahabad.

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The Interview

Rajendra Shekhar studied at Mayo College, Ajmer and St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1957, and rose to become Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, and Director-General Police, Rajasthan. He has written Not a Licence to Kill , Defining Moments', Memories Are Made Of This and पल-कल आज और कल . At present, he occupies himself with Posts on Facebook, and articles in Rashtradoot, a Rajasthan Hindi newspaper. He is also compiling material for his next bilingual book (in English and Hindi). He is happily settled at Jaipur along with his wife Mrs Sheila Shekhar.

I joined St Stephen's College, Delhi, in 1952. Then, it was still an all boys' institution.

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Our Beloved RJZ 2 Hillman Car

Subhash Mathur is a resident of Jaipur after superannuation from Indian Revenue Service in 2007. Presently, Subhash is engaged in social and charitable work in rural areas. Subhash is also Editor of http://www.inourdays.org/, an online portal for preserving work related memories.

In 1969, I had the privilege of driving Morarji Desai, who later became India's Prime Minister, in our beloved family car: the Hillman. In a manner of speaking it was an iconic moment in my life. I have written a detailed account of driving Morarji Desai in the Hillman in My meetings with the Prime Minister when he was out of power

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A Wedding Remembered

Mira Kathuria Purohit had her early education in Presentation Convent, Delhi, MGD, Jaipur and Hindu College, Delhi. She is a Pediatrician, having pursued her medical studies in SMS Medical College, Jaipur. She served in Rajasthan Government devoting her working career to treating children and teaching budding doctors to treat kids. She retired as a Professor, and now leads a retired life in Jaipur.

It was early 1950. We were living in Daryaganj, Old Delhi. There was a knock at the door (there was no doorbell). I ran to see who it was. A saree clad elderly lady stood there. She was carrying a packet. I didn't recognize her, but folded my hands and said ‘Namaste', anyway.

Read more: A Wedding Remembered