Life Back Then
My Nanaji, I think his name Mulakh Raj Ahuja, was a Surgeon and headed the administration in Sargodha (now in Pakistan) in around 1910. In those days, Civil Surgeons were also the Head of all District medical administration-it was a very powerful job. He married his older daughters in Bhera and Khushab to men from big Zamindar (landlord) families.
It was the 29th of January, 1960. My parents had insisted that I spend the day with them and my maternal grandparents in Karnal, before departing from "India". Yes, India as it then was. Not the India I had been born in. "My India" was really Trans-Ravi. One could stretch it to Trans-Sirhind Canal. Sometimes, we Punjabees regarded Sirhind Canal as the boundary between the Punjabi speakers and Hindi Bhasha speakers. It was often just fun, but sometimes ended in anger and in quarrels.
It was at some stage during his 30 years’ reign (1903-33) that Maharaja Jey Singh, a great builder, found that his capital city Alwar had great potential of extension, modernisation and beautification. The city was encircled by am old wall which was surrounded by a moat. The moat was expected to remain filled with water, thus giving the city protection against an invader. But the moat was for long without water and with the advent of 20th century, there remained no possibility of any military invasion. Thus, both the wall and moat became anachronistic, and, in fact, an obstruction in growth of the city.
Ed. Note. Mr. Sethi’s article on Delhi in the 1950s is a complement to this article.