Major Events Pre-1950

My recollections of my city of birth-Rawalpindi

Yashpal Sethi was born on September 7, 1931 in Mohalla Shah Chanchrag, Bazaar Sarafan, Rawalpindi, and moved to India after the Partition of India. He joined the Punjab National Bank in 1953 and retired from the Bank in September 1992. He returned to Pakistan in 2006 to visit Murree, Rawalpindi and Lahore, when he had a memorable time visiting various places, including his ancestral home, which today is a commercial complex. Now he lives in Yamunanagar, Haryana and is quite active on social media such as Facebook.

Editor's note: This article is based on an interview conducted by Gurpreet Singh Anand in 2013, and is presented as a report of this interview. Additional material has been taken from Yashpal Sethi's blog http://yashpalsethi.wordpress.com/

Gurpreet was born in India to parents who fled from Rawalpindi and Murree, where the family had cloth shops, as ‘refugees.' His father, though from a business family, was a full time member of the communist party and a freedom fighter. His father died when Gurpreet was 10 years old, leaving behind a diary of the events in 1947; Gurpreet has always been intrigued by this diary. Gurpreet, now an avid traveller and businessman, keeps searching for people who were traumatised by the partition of India. He interviews them to record their memories, and keeps in touch with people of similar interest in Rawalpindi.

Yashpal’s family

His ancestral home was Bhera in Sargoda District, now in Pakistan, where the family owned agricultural land.

Read more: My recollections of my city of birth-Rawalpindi

1943 Famine in Bengal - 1

Editor's Note: According to Richard Stevenson's book "Bengal Tiger And British Lion, An Account of the Bengal Famine of 1943," on November 9, 1943, the Mayor of Calcutta sent a telegram to the Emperor of India asking him to "appoint a Royal Commission to investigate the causes that led to the famine in Bengal causing death of thousands of men women and children in the Province." In June 1994, the Viceroy set up a Famine Inquiry Commission to "investigate and report to the Central Government upon the causes of the food shortage and subsequent epidemics in India, and in particular in Bengal, in the year 1943." This Commission was headed by a retired ICS officer, Sir John Ackroyd Woodhead, and  included Mr. Afzal Husain, who wrote a minute of dissent (available on this website), and Sir Manilal Nanavati,who secretly saved the detailed papers of the Commission against the Chairman's orders.

The conclusions of the Commission are reproduced below. The complete report is available in the attached pdf files. Photos of the Bengal famine are available at http://www.oldindianphotos.in/2009/12/bengal-famine-of-1943-part-1.html

Read more: 1943 Famine in Bengal - 1

1943 Famine in Bengal - 2

Editor's Note: According to Richard Stevenson's book "Bengal Tiger And British Lion, An Account of the Bengal Famine of 1943," on November 9, 1943, the Mayor of Calcutta sent a telegram to the Emperor of India asking him to "appoint a Royal Commission to investigate the causes that led to the famine in Bengal causing death of thousands of men women and children in the Province." In June 1994, the Viceroy set up a Famine Inquiry Commission to "investigate and report to the Central Government upon the causes of the food shortage and subsequent epidemics in India, and in particular in Bengal, in the year 1943." This Commission was headed by a retired ICS officer, Sir John Ackroyd Woodhead, and  included Mr. Afzal Husain, who wrote a minute of dissent (reproduced below), and Sir Manilal Nanavati, who secretly saved the detailed papers of the Commission against the Chairman's orders.

Mr. Husain's dissent is reproduced below. The complete report is available in the attached pdf files.

Photos of the Bengal famine are available at http://www.oldindianphotos.in/2009/12/bengal-famine-of-1943-part-1.html

Husain page 1

Husain Page 2 Husain Page 3
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Government of India Act, 1833

Source:  A. Berriedale Keith, ed. Speeches and Documents on Indian Policy, 1750-1921. Vol. I. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1922, 266-274.

Editor's note: This Act created the post of Governor-General of India, which continued in India until the adoption of the Indian constitution in 1950. The Act also created a 4-member Council to work with the Governor-General.

Read more: Government of India Act, 1833

Churchill on Jallianwala Bagh Massacre 1919

Editor's note: In  April 1919, under order of General Dyer, troops opened fire on a crowd at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, killing 379 unarmed civilians and wounding over a thousand. The Commander-in-Chief in India recommended that Dyer should be ordered to retire, and the matter came before the Army Council for review. The Council accepted the recommendation, as did the British Cabinet.

Read more: Churchill on Jallianwala Bagh Massacre 1919