Deputy Commissioner

Pre-Partition Punjab Vignettes

Joginder Anand


Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB from Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.
Widower. Two children and their families keep an eye on him. He lives alone in a small house with a small garden. Very fat pigeons, occasional sparrows, finches green and gold drop in to the garden, pick a seed or two and fly away.


Ed. Note: The text has been extracted from an extended informal email discussion with Jatinder Sethi. Some of what Mr. Sethi wrote is available in Pre-Partition family memories.

Shahukaar. This spelling reflects more accurately, the pronunciation of the local Punjabi word for moneylender. I am sure it was also called Sahukar.

The Shahukaar would generally speaking, sit or rather lie, on the rich Persian carpet, propped up on big, fat, round, pillows. Possibly smoking a hooka. The clients came, requested help, addressing him as "Shah Jee" or "Lalla Jee."

Shah Jee also very often did Aarhat (acted as a middleman). 

Shah Jee had the most impressive house in the town. With a two-horse carriage. Forget what it was called. A few cows, and perhaps a buffalo or two in the courtyard at the back. Generous with lassi and even milk for anyone.

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