A Memoir of Pre-Partition Punjab: Ruchi Ram Sahni, 1863-1948

ISBN : 9780199474004

Neera Burra
452 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jul 2017
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"Memoirs of a Life in Punjab" is the autobiography of Ruchi Ram Sahni which offers a rich tapestry of life in colonial Punjab with a graphic description of the life of a Hindu business community in Dera Ismail Khan, part of Waziristan in the mid-19th century. It provides a detailed account of the social, political, and intellectual transformation that was taking place in Punjab in the mid-19th century and of which Ruchi Ram Sahni was an integral part. Belonging to the first generation of Punjabis educated in English, he recounts the challenges he faced in his confrontation of orthodox Hinduism. He describes the discrimination faced by Punjabis from Europeans and his own experiences of fighting back to maintain his self-respect. Traversing a large terrain, he writes of his time in Germany at the outbreak of World War I and his escape to England. The volume ranges over diverse subjects: a critique of the Niyoga Doctrine of the Arya Samaj; his friendship with Dyal Singh Majithia, the Punjabi millionaire; and his experiences in Kashmir from 1922 to 1947. There is also his impassioned note to the British Cabinet Mission on why Punjab should not be partitioned. Both participant in and observer of those tumultuous times, Sahni enriches our understanding of the ferment encapsulating that period.


List of Figures
Introduction by Neera Burra
1 Self-Revelations of an Octogenarian
2 Growing up in Dera Ismail Khan, 186378
3 My College Life, 188185
4 An Indian Officials Trials and Struggles, 188587
5 I Join the Punjab Education Department, 1887
6 Public Life, 1885 Onwards
7 My Public Life, 189192
8 My Connection with the Brahmo Samaj, 1879 Onwards
9 The Punjab Science Institute
10 A Long Healthy Life
11 The Ethics and Technique of Maintaining Self-Respect
12 An Indian Officials Trials and Tribulations
13 My First Visit to Europe
14 Jallianwala Bagh and Its Aftermath
Appendix: The Writings of Ruchi Ram Sahni
About the editor

About the author: 

Neera Burra is currently advisor to the India Programme of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and continues her interest as an amateur historian of Punjab.

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