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Oral history interview with Dr. Kim Gandhi 
Interview by Atiha Chaudry
Oral history interview with Dr. Kim Gandhi Interview by Atiha Chaudry
8 Jun 2017
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Interview description by: Harriet Morgan-ShamiBegins interview by explaining his confusion about the reasons for Partition as a 10 year old. Explains that adults in school did not explain the violence that he and his friends were witnessing e.g. disturbances at night, houses being burned. [01:37] Describes his family and home in Lahore. Discusses community relations prior to the partition being positive with little differentiation between religious groups, especially the friendships between children. [02:48] Refers to his father’s role at the university in Lahore, and how the university decided that staff should leave. Recounts how his father, along with two other friends and their families, decided to hire a truck to make the journey from Lahore to Ferozepur, and then to Solan, near Shimla. Mentions staying in a refugee camp in Ferozepur. Discusses witnessing violence and its aftermath whilst crossing the border and the fear he felt when the truck was searched at checkpoints. The children were told to be quiet during these searches. [06:06] Recounts how the family stayed in the camp for 3 or 4 months. Describes the camp as being located in a large building, perhaps a school, with many people housed in individual rooms in difficult conditions. Talks about the scarcity of food and cooking equipment, and about how the local community brought food for people in the camp. Also talks about the difficult sanitation arrangements and lack of clean water leading to the outbreak of diseases such as cholera. Remembers seeing young children ill and people dying. [08:40] Describes how he finally came to understand the reason for the family’s departure from Lahore when they arrived in Delhi where his father’s university employers had arranged accommodation for their staff in a series of military barracks. Explains that each barrack was divided into 2 rooms and housed 3-4 families with a small outdoor kitchen. Relays how life started to get back to normal from that point onwards. Clarifies that whilst the University of Punjab arranged for the transfer of their staff to Solan, it was up to individual staff members to arrange their travel from Lahore – some never arrived in Solan. [12:21] Interviewer asks Dr. Gandhi to recall his memories of witnessing bloodshed. He talks about seeing people fall from trains both whilst he was travelling and when at the camp in Ferozepur. [13:30] Interviewer asks for more details about immediate and extended family. Dr. Gandhi explains that his father’s brother and family had to move from Sargodha to Jabalpur, and his mother’s brother had also had to leave his village to move to India. He confirms that after a period of time they all found each other again. [15:16] Interviewer asks what happened after his family settled in Solan. Dr. Gandhi recounts how they stayed in Solan until the university transferred to Chandighar. He describes the city as a modern paradise. He talks about the tradition of schoolchildren spending their holidays with their uncle’s family and how often stayed in Jabalpur. [18:33] Talks about gradually coming to understand what had happened and the reasons for it, the fight for freedom, as he grew older and Independence was taught at school. He also mentions realising what had led to the assassination of Gandhi. He recounts that until he was 14 or 15, the importance of being free didn’t matter to him. Discusses the similarities of schooling in Lahore and Solan, referring particularly to the lack of seating for students. [20:42] Interviewer asks about Dr. Gandhi’s journey from India to Manchester. He recounts how he took his Matriculation in Solan, moved to Ambala to complete his A-Levels and then went to Engineering College in Hariana. He worked for a little while in India before moving to Ethiopia for 3 years. He then migrated to the UK. He briefly discusses his lack of understanding about the role of the British as a young child. [22:55] Discusses where and how the rest of his family ended up settling in the UK, Canada, USA and Indi
Oral history interview with Dr. Kim Gandhi Interview by Atiha Chaudry
Date of work:
8 Jun 2017
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See also GB3228.77/3/5 for edited film and GB3228.77/3/6 for unedited film audio
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