Reginald

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Reginald was born in Lahore and was 15 years of age in 1947 when Partition was announced.

Reginald's father was a Kings Commissioned Officer in the RAF who was appointed Liaison Officer for Lahore in 1947. As Christians, the family felt they needed to leave Lahore. They travelled eastwards by tanga to the Wagah-Attari border, the main road crossing point between Indian and Pakistan. They moved on to Amritsar from where they caught a train to Delhi.

Reginald came to the UK from France where he studied journalism in 1961. He has lived in mid-Wales since 1988. Reginald is married and has one son.

Transcript

I'm Reginald Massey. I was born in the city of Lahore on 23rd November, 1932. I was brought up in a multi-faith background. When it was Eid, we were invited to Muslim homes. When it was Diwali, we were invited to the Hindu's homes, for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. When it was Christmas, they all came round to our place to taste my mother's Christmas cake.

Lahore was a very international place and it was a centre of education. The situation in Lahore was very, very special. Later on, I found out that the multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-lingual society of Panjab did not exist in other parts of North India.

When it was eventually announced that Partition was going to take place; that British power was going to be withdrawn from the sub-continent, even the Muslims could not believe it.

It came as a shock. So they set up a Boundary Commission which said there is going to be a partition. Now, I must tell you this, this partition of India and partition of the Panjab in particular was a decision not made in Lahore. The Panjabis were never consulted.

The first attacks took place in the Rawalpindi area, a Muslim majority area, against the Sikhs. The reaction was immediate in East Panjab (where the Sikhs were in the majority), against Muslims.

Fortunately, a Muslim friend of ours helped us to escape from Lahore in a buggy called a tanga flying the Red Cross, to say that we were Christians trying to go to India. I saw the massacre on the 14-mile trip from Lahore to the Wagah Attari border. Once we crossed the border and came into what we thought was peaceful India, the massacres were worse.

We have to look to the future. We just cannot keep harking back. That is why I am happy that this project is afoot. If there is going to be a rapprochement between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh - I hate saying it - it is going to be in the home of the former Imperial masters. The future must be taken from here.

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