The demured memories
The stage of life in which I am recording these events, the memories of the bygone times seem like a dream, but the age which is referred to here, I am feeling that all these things are still happening in my surroundings. With the help of imagination, I see that in my village, Baghdada, the people are gathering in throngs on the road in front of our house since morning. Some are running to bring the ladders, carrying them on their shoulders, decorating them with the strings of bulbs of sundry hues, putting the armful flags in the rods of the shops along the roadside. Near our house, along the road, are lying some beds in front of the mart.
My father, Syed Qammar Bacha and the other elders of the village, resting on the pillows, carrying out instructions to the boys from time to time: “Boys! rise up the cords of the bulbs. Do straight the rod of the flag. This shawl is not suitable, bring some other one.” The boys of the street are running to and fro. I too am roaming among them. It was known to us from the elders that it was 14th of August and three years have been completed of Pakistan‘s establishment. It is the preparation of the celebration.
I think that on this account, it was the year 1950. Our family, had been shifted to our village Baghdada from Hindustan, some time ago. I was of five years. My younger brother, Muhammad Haroon was of six months. In between us, we had a mentally handicapped sister, Rozya. Later on, she kicked the bucket at the age of eight or nine years.
My father, Sadat Khan was a diploma holder in automobile engineering from a polytechnic institution at Delhi. Probably, it was the era of 1920. My father used to say that he was of 18 years. On this account, the year of my father’s birth is 1902. For some time, he was a driver with Colonel Edward, whom had sent him to Delhi. Then he bought a truck, playing between Bannu and Miransha. According to him, in the year 1940, in an Indian state, Bhopal, which is now included in the province Madhya Pardesh, he established a service station. Here, the vehicles were used to repair too.
With the help of the demured memories, I see my father, sitting in the office of a building on the roadside, of suitable stature, a bit blackish with thronged hair dominated by white hue, large moustaches, well shaved face, putting glasses of the shortsightedness, sitting in the chair and writing something in the opened register on the table. A vehicle is standing there almost all the time where someone is washing it with the help of the water’s pipe. This is the place of Gora Nakhas in Bhopal.
Bhopal was an Islamic state of India, established by Dost Muhammad Khan Orakzai in his personal capacity. This state remained intact till 1949. Later on, its ruler was Nawab Hameed Ullah khan. I still remember, if someone asked my father about the location of Bhopal, his reply was “It is located in the Central India”. The Bhopal of my memories was a calm and peaceful city. Its founder was a Pakhtoon. Its Pakhtoon population was also large in number. All the rulers of Bhopal cherished respect for Pakhtoons and they worked there in the pleasant atmosphere. My maternal grandfather Haji Abdurasheed along with his four young brothers, Ghulam Sarwer, Ghulam Haider, Ali Muhammad and Muhammad Nabi came to Bhopal from Ghazni in the first decade of the 20th century to find out some job. His brothers started the profession of clothing. My grandfather was the contractor of the forest’s wood. He was of moderate stature, quite corpulent with thick beard and was coloring the beard along with hair.
This writing is the Part I of the English version of Dr Humayun Huma’s autobiography, ‘Da jwandoon dagha qisa da’. Nasir Wazir, a Lecturer in English at the Govt Post Graduate College, Kohat has translated the autobiography from Pashto into English and now it can be read in parts in Sunrise Today.