Pramila Desai’s family

Pramila Desai is the great-grand-daughter of Shriram Jatar and granddaughter of Balasaheb Jatar, the son of Shriram Jatar who passed away early, from T.B., leaving behind his daughter Kumud Borgankar (nee Jatar) and widow Ramabai Jatar. Pramila is one of Kumud’s four daughters and presently lives in the USA.

The following write-up and photos have been contributed by Ranjan Desai, Pramila Desai’s son.

Pramila Desai nee Borgaonkar is the oldest daughter of Shankar Rao Borgaonkar and Kumudini Borgaonkar (nee Jatar) and the grand-daughter of Bala Saheb Jatar and Ramabai Jatar nee Khandekar (also called fondly as Dudhai).

Pramila married Kishen Rao Desai and has four children – Revathi, Swaroopa (Rupa), Sunita (Ruma), Ranjan, and 7 grandchildren (Arjun, Achyut, Deepali, Amrita, Nisha, Rina and Aditi) and 4 great-grandchildren (Shaila, Naveen, Anishka and Anvitha). Her 90th birthday was recently celebrated in California, USA.

Children
Pramila Desai’s four children. From Left to Right: Revathi, Sunita (Ruma), Pramila (Sitting), Ranjan and Swarupa (Rupa)

 

GrandDaughters+Sister
From L to R Sitting: Deepali Abhayankar, Asha Ghate, Pramila Desai, Aditi Desai, Rina Dhawlikar

 

Pramila Desai’s other siblings are her brother Digamber (Bal) Borgaonkar and sisters Achala Rao (Deceased), Saral Dudhbhate (Deceased) and Asha Ghate.

The erstwhile Hyderabad was ruled by the Nizam which was an independent state. Nizam ruled Hyderabad and served as the client king even under British rule. Her father Shankar Rao after completing his studies as Barrister-At-Law in London choose to return back to India and settle down in Hyderabad.

Pramila was brought up in Hyderabad at the Borgaonkar ancestral home. She was encouraged by her parents to study and served as a role model to all her siblings. She graduated with honours and finished her Bachelors in Arts (B.A.) from the famous Nizam College (which still exists in Hyderabad). In the olden days in Hyderabad when very few girls used to study, all her siblings also graduated in different fields of study.

Pramila often spent time with her Jatar cousins in her childhood days and has very fond memories.

She used to ride her bicycle to go around when she was very young in the erstwhile Hyderabad where very few girls ventured out alone. She grew up to be a bold, strong and independent woman. She was very active in sports, learned swimming in the swimming pond at home and played tennis. She even represented the district level tennis tournament from Sangareddy district. She was interested in acting and took part in a stage show.

Both Pramila who stayed at home to take care of her children, and her husband Kishen Rao Desai, worked hard to make sure that their four children got a good education. They both valued the importance of education and hard work to do well in life and that proved correct for their children. Unfortunately, Kishen Rao Desai passed away while he was in the mid-’50s due to a brief illness caused by Hepatitis B virus which was not diagnosed properly in time to cure it. Moreover, the vaccine for that Hepatitis B virus came a couple of years later. Undaunted, Pramila continued to encourage her younger children to complete and finish their graduation.

After moving to the USA, the India Community Center (ICC) in the Bay Area, California has become “a home away from home” for her. With a handful of enthusiastic volunteers, the ICC was started around the 1990s. Since the last 2-3 decades, Pramila has actively participated and conducted many programs at ICC. She helped start many programs at ICC which still continue to date. One such program was called “Chajju Ka Chaubara” at ICC and she managed that program for a couple of years where all the seniors would talk about their experiences, tell stories or read the poems. She actively participated in a program called FOSWL (Friends Of Same Wave Length) which now has chapters all over the world. Look out for a chapter in your city !! They invite a well-known good speaker to talk on a topic which is attended by many enthusiastic audiences. She helped many members in learning to stitch sweaters and comforters in the arts and crafts program @ ICC.

Pramila’s 90th birthday was celebrated in the United States in 2018. The photo below is of the celebration at home.

group photo
Standing row: Rama Kulkarni (great-granddaughter of Bhausaheb) Rupa Abhayankar, Ranjan Desai, Revathi, Aditi (Ranjan’s daughter), Ruma, Tina (Uday’s daughter), Gautam (Deepali’s husband), Saraswati (Revathi’s schoolmate), Sripad (Ruma’s husband), Deepali, Tirumala (Saraswati’s daughter).
Sitting row: David (HabibKhans student), Habib Khan, Pramila Desai and Asha Ghate (moushi)

Another celebration took place at the ICC.

360DegViewOfICC
360DegViewOfICC.( 90th Birthday Celebration at ICC

 

Presently Pramila actively attends ICC twice a week while keeping herself busy the rest of the days by reading books, doing exercises – yoga, walking and watching TV.

Additional input contributed by Pramila’s daughter, Sunita (Ruma):

What a grand age to achieve! That itself is an achievement in itself. We are hoping to celebrate it every year from now on and reach a century. She has always been very sophisticated and distinguished.
The celebration began with Puja in the house. Mummy recites and does many aartis.
The next was a celebration in her center where she goes 2-3 times a week over the last 20 years. Special music program and lunch was arranged. Many of her friends felicitated her with shawls and gifts.
She and her friends felt very, very young when the evergreen song of “zohrajabeen” was sung. She thanked everyone and joined in singing her favorite song. It was very well arranged by center and Ranjan.
Over the weekend the celebration continued in the clubhouse for friends and family. Overall our mother was very happy, elated and in good spirits and is calling up everyone to thank everyone individually

Related Reading: Visit to Borgao85th and 90th Birthday Party of 5 cousins,

 

Rosella Jatar

papa and rosalieWritten by Padmakar Jatar

Rosella and I were married in 1991 & she passed away in 1998.

A few words about her: She was a well qualified Registered E.R. Nurse, well known in Dallas as she headed several Nursing organizations.

She went to India twice with me, the first time in 1991 & we attended 2 weddings: first, Sanket’s Sikh wedding in Delhi, followed by Jaideep & Seema’s Marathi Brahmin style wedding in Pune, which included lunch on banana leaves on the floor! She handled everything very well.

The poverty in India didn’t bother her, at one point wanted to buy a flat in Pune. What is remarkable is that in 1998, as I was leaving for Pune to attend my Aai’s first death anniversary she wanted to accompany me, in spite of being terminally ill. She wanted to die in India, be cremated Hindu style & her ashes spread over Pune! But I refused to take her, felt she should spend her last days with her family.

She was unlike American women, nonmaterialistic, very giving, helping poor people that came to her hospital for treatment & extremely generous. I have never met anyone like her & probably never will. Being an E.R.Nurse you would have thought she would know about colon cancer but didn’t until it was too late.

Padmakar (Papa) Jatar is the son of Dr Shantaram Jatar (known as Babukaka) and Malti Phadnis and the grand-son of Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest son of Shriram Jatar, (link to the family tree of Shriram.

Padmakar Jatar from Las Vegas

padmakar jatarThe following write-up was contributed by Padmakar Jatar (known as Papa in the Jatar family) who is now living a happy retired life in Las Vegas. Papa Jatar is the son of Dr Shantaram Jatar (known as Babukaka) and Malti Phadnis and the grand-son of Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest son of Shriram Jatar, (link to the family tree of Shriram. )  They had four sons, Bhalachandra (Chandu), Madhukar (Mickey), Padmakar (Papa) and Dinkar (Kumar)

Here is what Papakaka writes:

I am extremely proud of my family heritage and to belong to the Jatar family, a family of achievers. How many families do you know that in a close circle have got so many awards: Knighthood, Ashok Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, and 3 Vayu Sena medals? Bhayya received a Vayu Sena medal and so did Mickey (in addition to a Vir Chakra) & Kumar got a Vayu Sena medal too.

The photograph below is of the four Jatar brothers in their youth, the four sons of Babukaka – Dr Shantaram Jatar. From Left to Right: Dinkar (Kumar), Madhukar (Micky), Padmakar (Papa) and Bhalachandra (Chandu).

jatar brothers

I am very proud of the achievements my father who got 5 degrees including that of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK). My 2 brothers, IAF fighter pilots, were extraordinary – mentally tough like other Jatars: Bhausaheb, Baba, Bhayya, Anna Kaka, Sudhir … the list goes on. And I must mention that my brother Chandu is a very good engineer.

papakaka
Papa in Las Vegas today

As for me, I left India way back in 1964 and headed to London. It was a struggle because architecture is very sensitive to the economy. I did some sports in the United Kingdom: Badminton for instance. The highlight was that I completed the Glider Flying Course and earned A & B certificates. Then I left for Canada but I didn’t like it there too much.

After about 1-1/2 years, I moved to the USA. I had to start more or less at the bottom of the ladder because they don’t recognize Indian qualifications. After a few years, I passed my licensing exam, which is considered as tough as P.E. and finally I could call myself an Architect.

My work experience has been in Medical projects (35-40 yrs.): Medical planning & preparing construction documents for contractors to build from. I have had all-round experience. I started with manual drafting & later switched to computer drafting/ design. My ambition was to be an all-rounder in work & sports & I succeeded to some extent.

I was married to Rosella from 1991 to 1998, until her death.

papa and rosalie
Papa and Rosella

Memories of the 1965 Indo-Pak War

Photo provided by MK Mangalmurti

This article is a fascinating account of the 1965 Indo-Pak war by Madhav (MK) Mangalmurti. He was in Pakistan at that time and his experiences give us an insight into the real Pakistan. This write-up was penned for a book by Maj.Gen. Gokhale (yet to be published). 

Background
1965 was an eventful year in Indo-Pak history. The Pakistani military ruler General Ayub Khan emerged victorious in the Presidential elections held in January 1965 amidst allegations of rigging. This factor created a desire in Ayub to improve his political image by achieving some success in the realm of foreign relations. He got an opportunity to do so in April 1965 over a minor border dispute with India in the Rann of Kutch area. The Pakistan Army dominated the skirmishes in the Rann area as a result of which a climate of overconfidence was created in the Pakistani military and political establishment.

As a result, In May 1965, President Ayub decided to launch the proposed “Operation Gibraltar. The plan was to launch guerrillas into Indian held Kashmir with the objective of creating a popular uprising, finally forcing India to, abandon Kashmir. Ayub went to Murree on 13 May 1965 to attend a briefing on the conduct of Operation Gibraltar. It was during this briefing that Ayub decided that the 12 Division should also capture Akhnur. This attack was codenamed “Operation Grand Slam”. The rationale was that If Operation Gibraltar did not achieve the expected result of creating an uprising in J&K, a military thrust cutting off our army in Kashmir from the rest of India would achieve the same result.

The miscalculation here was that they never anticipated that India would extend the fighting beyond the disputed state of J&K. When our army retaliated across the international border it came as a rude shock to Ayub Khan. He knew that his whole plan was in shambles.
The Pak thesis was that Kashmir being a disputed territory, it was legitimate to use force in ‘Indian occupied Kashmir’, but not across the international border.

Indian leaders believed that India should have an image of a peace-loving, non-violent country and therefore we never threatened retaliation against any provocation. Our policy was reactive and not proactive. Only under the present Prime Minister, we have adopted a stronger posture to provocation. This is welcome and in fact, will deter the enemy from embarking on any misadventures in the future.

I have a hypothesis that if India had firmly and convincingly told them that an attack on Kashmir would be considered an attack on India and that we would respond with an all-out war, they would have backed off. Our innocuous image and weak posture instead of preventing war, encourage it. When will our policymakers understand this?

Memories of the 1965 Indo-Pak Conflict

I was posted in Santiago, Chile, as Second Secretary till June 1965. Chile was like a mini paradise with a wonderful climate, beautiful nature and friendly people.

From there I was thrown into this boiling cauldron when I was posted in July 1965 to the Indian High Commission in Karachi on getting my promotion to senior scale. It was one occasion when I rued my promotion. Karachi was then the Capital of Pakistan. It was a feather in one’s cap to be posted there as it was supposed to be a very important station for us but I could see that this was clearly not the best time to be there as the two countries were heading towards war.

In those days life in the Foreign Service was quite different. Everything moved much more slowly. On overseas postings, we were supposed to travel by ship with our luggage. It took me 50 days for the total journey which was a wonderful cruise paid for by the government. There was no internet and no cell phones. In those days, the landlines in India did not work properly and communication with one’s relatives and friends in India was very difficult. People today used to instant communication with email, WhatsApp and mobile phone will not comprehend what we went through.

I was travelling alone as my wife had to leave earlier by air to look after my father who had suffered an attack of paralysis. On reaching Karachi I was allotted a flat in Hindustan Court which was one of the building complexes where the officers were put up the other being Shivaji Court. As the last arrival and being relatively junior, I found that the only the least desirable furniture had been left in the flat earmarked for me. I do not remember how I survived until my wife finally arrived from Pune after a few days. I vaguely remember that it was through the kindness of my other colleagues living in the same complex that I survived.

phone-1610185_640For my wife to arrange the journey to Karachi was not easy because she had to communicate with the TG Section in MEA for booking her passage. The phones never worked. I could not communicate with her while on the ship, so on landing at Karachi I tried to call her. Tensions were already rising between India and Pakistan since Operation Gibraltar had already begun. The telephone calls between Pakistan and India were discouraged by Pakistan. To get through, I had to make a very expensive lightning call and plead with the operator to connect me to my wife in Pune. After great effort, I could speak with her for about 2 minutes. She was still struggling with her bookings but promised to do everything to come early. The call was so expensive that I paid one-third of my monthly salary for this call.

Letters from our posts abroad also took a long time. They were put in our weekly diplomatic bag, then sorted out and posted by the MEA. Similarly, the letters from India were sent to the MEA and then forwarded to us by diplomatic bag. This was snail mail.

war-469503_640Soon after my wife reached Karachi, and before we could settle down properly, war broke out on the 6th of Sept 1965. The High Commissioner was Mr.Kewal Singh ICS, who had just replaced Mr. G. Parthasarathy only about 3 weeks earlier. The other distinguished members of the Foreign Service who were posted there at that time were the Deputy High Commissioner, Prakash Kaul, and First Secretary (Political), K.S. Bajpai, under whom I started my stint as Second Secretary (Political) in Karachi.

The India-Pakistan situation which was already tense after the Rann of Kutch skirmish was worsening day by day. When the war started, the High Commissioner held a meeting with the senior officers of the High Commission and a decision was taken to destroy all the classified papers including the codebooks. Normally, even during wars, the sanctity of the diplomatic missions is respected. Even In the 2nd World War, the embassies of enemy countries were allowed to function normally. However, Pakistan was a very untrustworthy country that had no respect for international conventions. This assessment turned out to be correct and the decision a very good one as will be seen from subsequent events.

The High Commission had a huge number of files and papers accumulated over the years marked with various degrees of secrecy ratings. There was no time to weed out papers according to their secrecy level. Also, a shredder would have taken a month to destroy the papers. Fortunately, we had a big outdoor furnace in the backyard of the building. We started burning the files and papers there. It was like Holi. I did not even go home for lunch on the first day and participated in the burning till late evening. It took us nearly 3 days of continuous burning to complete the job. How wise this decision proved to be will be seen later.

We were told that we were going to be evacuated to India by sea and that every officer would only be allowed 2 pieces of baggage. We sorted out all our belongings and put the most valuable stuff in two suitcases. The next day we were told that this was not possible, and we might now be evacuated by air but only one suitcase per person would be permitted. We repacked our important belongings in one suitcase each and waited anxiously. We were almost certain that once we left Pakistan, we would never see the rest of our belongings. After some hours we were told that Pakistan had refused to let us leave. It was clear that we were being held as hostages.

The diplomatic officers were concentrated in Shivaji Court and Hindustan Court. The staff was all asked to move to another building- Panchasheel Court. We had to take into our house as guests an Administrative Attaché and his wife. We were all put under house arrest and held incommunicado from the outside world. Our telephones were cut. Three or four days later the police came to our buildings and searched our flats. They did this on the pretext that there was a transmitter being operated from somewhere in these buildings. Of course, nothing was found.

The HC’s house was also searched during his absence which made it even more objectionable.

The police guards surrounding our compounds used to shout at us to switch off lights as they would aid our air force bombers- as if we had a death wish to get bombed by our own planes. Even if we opened the refrigerator door they would start shouting ‘light band karo’. We had to do everything in complete darkness.

tooth-pain-2071938_640One member from the complex was allowed to go in a police vehicle to the market to buy provisions and vegetables in bulk for everyone. Usually, we had to subsist on potatoes and onions. An officer’s wife who had a toothache was told just to take a pain-killer because she would not be allowed to consult an outside dentist.

We whiled away time playing cards or visiting one another within the complex and exchanging stories and experiences. The First Secretary (Visas and Consular), Frank Dewars, regaled us with stories about his Burma days and kept us entertained,

Two days after our houses were searched, the police arrived at about 2 am and asked us to come with them immediately carrying our office keys. We were herded into an open truck and taken to the High Commission building which was not very far. Except for us, it seems that there was no problem for others to switch on the lights except when an air raid alert was sounded. All the lights in the High Commission were switched on. I noticed that I was wearing the top of one night-suit and the bottom of another having worn my clothes in complete darkness. But this was the least of our problems. Despite our protests, we were made to open our offices and even our safes. They could find very little of any value since we had had time to destroy all the confidential documents.

It was fortunate that the war lasted only 3 weeks. I wonder what would have happened to us if the war had lasted a long time like the Iran – Iraq war.

The officers used to take turns as couriers carrying diplomatic bags to Delhi and back. I was selected to be the first courier after the cease-fire and our release. Shankar Bajpai said that I should meet the Foreign Secretary while in Delhi and apprise him of what had happened to us and recommend breaking off diplomatic relations at least for some time to register our protest at the flouting of diplomatic norms. Accordingly, I sought an audience with the then Foreign Secretary, Mr.C.S.Jha ICS. He listened to me without indicating any reaction beyond thanking me for briefing him. To our chagrin, no retaliatory action was taken by our government either during or after the war. You see we are so civilized and large-hearted!

I understand that the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi was allowed to function normally. Neither were the houses of the Pakistani diplomats nor their offices searched. There was no question of putting them under house arrest. Our government did not seem too concerned about our fate in Pakistan. No steps were taken through friendly countries or the UN to ensure our welfare. No threat was issued to Pakistan regarding their diplomats if our diplomatic status and the sanctity of the High Commission was not immediately restored. Information about us could have been obtained by our Ministry, if there was a desire, through the missions of other friendly countries. This contrasts with what the present government would have done in a similar situation.

After the war, we immediately protested strongly through a Note Verbale to the Pakistan Foreign about all this. They replied that nothing like this had happened. As we now know Pakistanis are inveterate liars. The strange fact is not that they denied it but that we quietly swallowed this.

After the signing of the Tashkent Agreement, President Ayub Khan invited all diplomatic officers of the Indian High Commission to tea at his residence. Perhaps this was his way of apologizing for the rough treatment meted out to us. As an aside, I was destined to meet several Pakistani PMs and Presidents in my career and Ayub was the first. Later in Islamabad, I had occasion to run into Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto at a national day function and chat with him for a few minutes. Many years later I met Nawaz Sharif when I was accompanying PM Narasimha Rao at the Davos WEF conference. I also saw Benazir Bhutto at close quarters there though I did not have a chance to meet her. While in Islamabad I attended the Kakul passing out parade of the Pakistani Military officers and heard in person Yahya Khan who became President later. I had to drive through Abbottabad where more recently Osama bin Laden was found hiding.

Our authorities were euphoric after this agreement that now Pakistan would realize the futility of conflict and our relations would become friendly and normal. There was a strong lobby in the MEA and top echelons of the government which believed that we should behave like gentlemen and be magnanimous even if Pakistan did not and our pre-partition links would ensure that things could be worked out peacefully. As has been proved this was a misreading of the situations.

After the cease-fire, about 80 per cent of the staff of the Indian High Commission, Karachi was repatriated to India. I was among them. The relief for me was short lived as I was hastily posted to Islamabad where in the meantime the Capital had shifted along with all the embassies. After the signing of the Tashkent Agreement, our government thought that we should strike the iron while it was still hot and achieve progress through bilateral talks. These reached a deadlock very soon and tense relations between India and Pakistan resumed. During my stay in Pakistan, the main exchange between the two governments was protesting notes about various violations.

Islamabad then was just a one-horse town. As it was just coming up, it had only one hotel and perhaps one cinema hall. I do not recall having seen a movie there during my tenure of three years. Our High Commission was under 24- hour surveillance. There was a permanent hut opposite the High Commission where the police in plain clothes kept an eye on who came and who went. Any Pakistani coming to the High Commission for any reason was immediately interrogated. Similarly, next to our houses there was a permanent police presence. If my wife and I went out for a walk in the evening there would be one or two plainclothes policemen following us at about 20 feet distance. If I drove out, I would immediately get a tail. In my case, it was a white Volkswagen which had different registration numbers at the front and the rear. In India, I understand that any surveillance against the Pakistan High Commission that we had was unobtrusive and not rough.

As a visitor, I attended their National Assembly sessions a few times. It was remarkable to see the East Pakistani members raise the issue of fair treatment to their province all the time. This was a portent of what was to come in 1971. In Islamabad, I had the good fortune of working with two more outstanding officers. One was the High Commissioner, Samar Sen and the other was KPS Menon who later became Foreign Secretary.

During one of my visits to Karachi for some work, I was taken on a ‘fishing’ trip in Karachi harbour by our Karachi based Naval Attache’ Lancy Gomes. I remember seeing among other Pakistan navy ships, the submarine Ghazi docked in the Port. I am mentioning this because this submarine in December ‘71 was sent to Vishakhapatnam to strike at our aircraft carrier Vikrant but mysteriously exploded just outside the port. A fictional movie “The Ghazi Attack” has been made based on this incident.

A few other remarkable incidents occurred while I was in Pakistan.

The first one was just after the war ended. We were still in disarray. The High Commission was still limping back to normalcy. My neighbour Frank Dewars, First Secretary (Consular), knocked on the door of my flat at 2 AM. The Pakistanis believed that he was from RAW so he had apprehensions about his safety and with some difficulty had obtained clearance to return to India. His family had already left. He said that he was supposed to catch a flight at 5 AM but the staff car had not turned up. He was leaving behind his car for sale later as he was leaving in a hurry. Would I be able to accompany him to the Karachi Airport and drive the car back? I was still new to Karachi and my car had still not arrived. So, I was not too familiar with the roads. Driving alone in Karachi at that hour in the night was quite hazardous and the Pakistanis would associate me with him which was not a good thing. In lawless Pakistan, they could make anyone disappear. Whom would you go to? The Pakistani police would feign total ignorance if anything happened to you. But this was not a moment to flinch as Frank was a fellow officer and a friend. Fortunately, I reached back safely.

While being repatriated by sea soon after that there was chaos at Karachi Port. There were not enough licensed porters. In desperation, we engaged two persons in ordinary clothes who assured us that they would take our luggage to the hold. We did not see our luggage again and were left only with our cabin bags which we had carried ourselves. We had some insurance which gave us some compensation but could not replace our photos and other personal stuff.

The other incident was when one of our First Secretaries, Maharaj Swarup was declared persona non grata and had to leave within 48 hours. My wife and I helped him and his family to pack and he was just able to beat the deadline.

I was later deputed to go to the Wagah border to escort Sikh pilgrims from India who were coming to visit their holy places in Pakistan. I flew to Lahore and then hired a taxi to go to the border by road. The inevitable tail was there but they were following at a distance because there was only one road to the border. Halfway through my taxi failed. I was completely stranded in the middle of a hostile country. I tried to thumb a ride and a friendly Pakistani stopped and gave me a lift saying that he was going in the same direction. He assumed that I was a Pakistani. He was speaking in Urdu and me in Hindi. I realized that the languages are so similar that we think we are speaking each other’s language. He even showed me the place where the big tank battle near Asal Uttar had taken place. I got down at Wagah after thanking him for the lift. About 15 minutes later the intelligence chaps arrived looking extremely flustered. They were so perplexed that throwing all pretence to the wind, they came to me and directly asked me where I had disappeared. They were quite relieved when I told them what had happened.

Taxila or Takshasheela was a worthwhile historical spot to visit near Islamabad. It is a remarkable place in Buddhist history and learning. In the old times, Taxila was compared with Nalanda in the East. The locals there did not seem to have any sense of their past. The villagers there spoke as if some strange Buddhist people used to live in this area. They did not say that their ancestors lived there. This was an example of how Islamization obliterates the pre-Islamic history and culture of a people as Naipaul has described in one of his books.

Once Anjani and I planned a visit to Harappa. We had to stay overnight at Lahore at radha-krishna-2521206_640Flashman’s Hotel- an old Oberoi hotel taken over by Pakistan as evacuee property. In the evening my wife and I decided to go to the cabaret in the hotel since we had nothing else to do. Imagine our surprise when we saw that the program was a Radha-Krishna dance performed by a troupe from East Pakistan. This brought home to me the paucity of indigenous Pakistani culture. They face the dilemma of how to look cultured without looking Indian. When we drove into the circuit house in Harappa the next day, I was quite unprepared for the warm reception. There was a guard of honour at the entrance followed by a sumptuous lunch arranged for us. They also arranged a good guide to show us around. If they wanted, the Pakistanis could be extremely good hosts. Many ordinary Pakistanis had a warm feeling towards us but had to keep away.

The common Pakistani was still friendly towards Indians, but the Pakistani authorities saw to it that we did not have people to people contact. Pakistani media and school books paint a picture of India as a hostile country not reconciled to Partition where Muslims are persecuted. The common Pakistani sincerely believes that Kashmir should have come to them as a Muslim majority area. A strong civil society does not exist in Pakistan, so democracy remains a façade. Religion has been used as an instrument to give Pakistan a separate identity from India. By now the pre-partition links and memories hardly exist. The army there finds it convenient to maintain this bogey of India to keep themselves in control of the country. All plum posts are given to Army officers or ex-army officers.

The Pakistani posting for me was exciting although quite arduous and finally getting posted back to Delhi felt like deliverance.

MK Mangalmurti (known to family and friends as Bhaiyya), became a part of our family when he married Anjani. She is the grand-daughter of Abasaheb and the daughter of Vimal Paranjpye nee Jatar. Abasaheb (Vishnu Shriram Jatar) was the son of Shriram Jatar. and here is a link to Shriram’s Family Tree

Photo credits: Pixabay.

Captain D.K. Jatar and India’s first international flight

What we know about our grand-uncle Capt.D.K. Jatar (Annakaka), is that he was on board the Kashmir Princess, and tragically lost his life because the plane was sabotaged. He was awarded the Ashok Chakra for his bravery. You can read about him, and his last flight here and here.

malabar-princess-lapoloWhat is less known is that he is a part of Indian Aviation history. In 1948, Air India launched its international operations to Europe. And on June 8, 1948, Malabar Princess (a 40-seater Lockheed L-749 Constellation) flew over 8,047 km from Mumbai to London via Cairo and Geneva. The photo of the airplane been sourced from here.

Air India’s maiden international venture was captained by K.R. Guzdar and D.K. Jatar, and carried 35 passengers, Continue reading “Captain D.K. Jatar and India’s first international flight”

Academic Paper by S.B Jatar

This is a paper written by Dr Sadashiv Bhikaji Jatar, our great-grand-uncle, who was living in Manchester at the time. It was first published in 1908 and Dr Sadashiv Jatar must have been around 36 years old at the time.

The paper is a reference to the Municipal School of Technology in Manchester (UK). The name of the article is “Volumetric estimation of iron and chromium by means of titanous chloride” and probably is difficult Continue reading “Academic Paper by S.B Jatar”

Sarika’s journey to Penang and Buenos Aires

Sarika Pandit is the grand daughter of Bal Jatar, who was the son of Abasaheb, and the grand-son of Shriram Jatar. Veena Pandit nee Jatar, the daughter of Bal Jatar, married Ajit Pandit. Sarika is their daughter.

Sarika is an author. She has written two books. One of them is the Bucket List of a Traveloholic, and another, M for Misfit.

Always a traveloholic, this time Sarika did something different. Continue reading “Sarika’s journey to Penang and Buenos Aires”