unusual happiness in such bad times
Posted January 12, 2015on:
Dara Syed is my Nephew’s son. his father (my nephew is a doctor in Boston) his wife is an Irish lady. Michelle is a very loving mother , a caring wife and a good house wife. Dara interviewed his grandmother (my sister in law) I like it so much that i felt like sharing with my blogger friends 🙂my sister in law Rehana SyedDara is sitting next to his siter Leena Syed and brothers Deen and AdamDara SyedC Block Social Studies1/12/15Reflection PaperI interviewed my Dadhi (Grandma) on the Indian Civil War, otherwise known as the Indian War of Independence, which took place in 1947. At that time, she was 8 years old, and living comfortably in her family home in the huge city of New Delhi, the capital city of India. I really enjoyed learning about a big part of my grandmother’s childhood while she lived there.India had been under British rule for about 100 years back in 1947. Muslims and Hindus had coexisted peacefully for several hundred years before the British occupation. Indians wanted their independence from British rule. After the Second World War, the British Empire was significantly weaker than before. With the efforts of powerful leaders such as Gandhi and Jinnah, India became liberated. In this struggle, there was a major Civil War, and millions of innocent lives were lost. My grandparents lived in India, and my great grandfather Hassan Syed, had a good job in New Delhi, where he was a Court Official for a British judge. My grandmother went to an elementary school, along with her siblings, and lived a comfortable, stable life. No one could have predicted that her life, as she knew it, would never be the same after that fateful event in her life.She recalled the beginning of her real life ‘nightmare’ in August 1947. Her father(Abba) came home from work, and told the family that they had to flee their home immediately, to go to the shelter. Most of my grandmother’s family was killed in this struggle-my grandmother’s cousins, grandfather and many relatives were killed. Her family lost their house and all their belongings. According to her, her house had been marked with a big ‘X’, meaning that they were potential targets. My grandmother had told this to my father before, and he informed me. My grandmother had not talked about this huge event in her life until recently, and when I asked her permission to interview her, she agreed, but added it brought back painful memories. She wanted me to emphasize that she doesn’t have any bitter feelings towards her homeland, India, but rather she relishes the memories of the wonderful life she had there as a young child.Because of this assignment, I learned a lot about India. I learned that Muslims and Hindus were able to live peacefully side by side for seven hundred years, prior to the British colonisation of India in the mid 1800s. The British strategy was “Divide and Rule” and this caused disharmony among a society which had coexisted and was prosperous. India was known as a “Golden Bird” at that time in history. But according to my grandmother, this all came to an abrupt end once they were forced out of India.As I reflect on my grandmother’s early life, I am so proud of her for being so brave during such trying times. I had asked her during the interview what was her age during this event, which she said 8 years old. I cannot even think of what it must have been like for her, to be be suddenly removed from your own country at the young age of 8. But when she recalled with glee how she was so ecstatic to miss school and go on an airplane ride for the first time, I could somehow relate to her unusual happiness in such bad times. She was just a child after all, and really didn’t understand what was unfolding around her.When Dadhi started to recall her horror at the death surrounding her back then, one of my follow up questions was ‘that must have been so frightening’? Dadhi agreed, saying that she can not forget the image of all the dead bodies she saw. What a difficult thing for a young child to go through. Dadhi spoke about how one of her dreams had come true in an unusual way, as she had always wanted to go on an airplane ride, and that she finally was getting her wish. She told me after I interviewed her, that as a little girl, when she saw an airplane up in the sky, she would say “come here, come here”. Her greatest dream was coming true! I found it so funny that she was also glad to miss school and I could easily relate to that!Dadhi mentioned during the interview that she slept for several years under her parents’ bed as she was fearful for a long time that she might have to escape to another unknown place. This really shows how scared she was. I also reflect on my ancestors from India and how they defiantly stayed put in their homeland and I become sad about their fate.Another piece of delicate information Dadhi gave me after I interviewed her and was compiling my essay, was that her mother was pregnant with her youngest child, my father’s uncle Iqbal at the time of their migration to Pakistan.The youngest member of the family was then 3 year old Shehnaz. Now when I visit my father’s uncles and aunts in Canada, I feel very proud of the obstacles they have overcome in their lives, and I admire all of the positive things they have achieved as immigrants in a new country.My grandmother is in her mid seventies now and I am glad I was able to interview her for this project. She is amazed that these memories, although 60 years old, are being given a new life by my project. My grandmother is a brave woman, and although she has lived a sometimes tough life, she has emerged a stronger person. I am so proud of her and love her very much. I don’t think I could ever be strong like she was and I joke with her that one day I intend to write a book about her life.