Doing Time With Nehru
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Voices of Deoli
|Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:49 PM||comments (0)|
On December 7, I was intvited to be the guest speaker to a friend's extended family gathering in New Delhi's Gymkhana Club. I talked about my family living in Darjeeling and about Chinese Indians being put into an internment camp during the 1962 India-China Border War. Few, if any knew of this episode. We had a good exchange afterwards and then two members of the younger gerneration had an Oxford style debate on "Is Internment Good or Evil?" It was a lively debate and in the end the audience voted on who was more convincing. Of course, the person who chose to defend the theme that "Internment is Evil" got more votes, hands down. It was a delightful evening. Thank you Harry and Robin for setiing this up! Much appreciated.
|Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:33 PM||comments (121)|
On November 30, 2012, we took an overnight train from Kolkata to Delhi. Ramesh dropped us of at the train station and came onto the train to make sure we got the compartment and right seats, etc. We finally said our goodbyes and the train started shortly afterwards.
We shared our first class compartment with two guys. We had hoped to have a compartment to ourselves, but it was not to be. The train was totally booked. One of the two fellows was in his mid-forties and the other guy was a retired MP who had represented the State of Bengal, who got on after the train had been going for an hour. We thought that we, PC and I, both had the tickets for the lower berths, but apparently, since the older man was an ex-MP, and older than me, he had priority. So, I had to climb up to the upper berth which was not the easist thing to do. The ladder was very narrow, stuck on the edge of the berth, and you barely get your foot onto the rungs. It also tended to swerve outwards as you climbed up. You had to hang on tightly or fall off. I only had to come down once after I settled down to sleep. Thank goodness!
The younger fellow was an engineer, a Bengali but living in Delhi. Very nice to talk to and we had long discusssions about the Indian government prior to the ex-MP boarding the train. He told us that MP's, and particularly Bengali MP's, tended to be very long-winded. They were intellectual and smart and had many interesting ideas but were totally ineffectual. The young man was correct in that the ex-MP was a very long winded. He was a member of the communist party and talked on and on, and and barely gave himself time to eat his dinner. The younger man finally got impatient and told him he should eat his dinner because it was getting cold! Luckily, the ex-MP was interesting to listen to.
|Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:06 PM||comments (0)|
Sorry it's taken me so long to write another blog.The years of writing, then going through the editing process, publication, and promotion, and then taking the trip to Burma and India. I felt totally burned out and after the holiday season, I put everything related to my book on the back burner and couldn't' find the energy to get back into promote it again. My last event connected with the book was a talk I gave to the Berkeley Breakfast Club on January 11. There were probably about 150 people and it was certainly the biggest group I've given a talk to so far.
Well, I now feel I am ready to get active again. Here is my first blog in three months!
There were two events that took place in India in connection with my book that are worth mentioning. The first one, of course, I mentioned earlier in a previous blog, was a talk I gave to a group of students at the Institute of Leadership Entrepreneurship in Tangra. (Tangra used to be the district where leather tanning took place.)
As the Director had explained earlier, none of the students knew anything about Chinese Indian interned in India. My talk included a brief history of the events leading up to the war and my own involvement. After the talk I asked if there were any questions. There was silence for quite a few moments, then the President of the Institute, who also was present at the talk, stood up and said, "Even though the Indian government has not as yet made an apology or acknowledgment of what happened to the Chinese at the time of the 1962 India-China Border War, I want to be the first one to apologize." It was very touching. Moments after, a student stood up and said she wanted to be the second person to apologize. Then a third person stood up and said, "Can you give me your Chinese pancake recipe?" I had to laugh out loud. I had read a chapter where I was making Chinese pancakes with my father when he was suddenly taken away never to return home. That question was very endearing and it broke the ice. We had about 20-25 minutes of Q&A after that.
It was a most enjoyable talk.