By Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai
Editor’s Note: The writer was born and brought up in Rawalpindi. He studied in Denny’s High School, Mission High School and Gordon College. He worked as a Consultant in Provisioning & Stock Control and Logistics in various Organisations. Finally retired from PIA and now lives in Dubai. He is writing a series of articles about the life in Rawalpindi during 1930s, 40s and 50s.
Continued from Part 4…
This episode may interestingly refresh the memories of the members of the public who knew/heard the popular persons being remembered in this article; but who may have faded in the history otherwise.
During pre Partition days some persons from the low-level segment of the population used to become well-known personalities, due to their being highly experienced/skilled in their trade like Mid-wives (DAEES), Barbers (NAEES), Compounders etc., or other types of such professions, mainly due to their extraordinary public relations, and with humble but pleasant behavior.
In the City area there were two such “Daees” who were equally liked by all the Muslim/non-Muslim population. One was Mirzo Daee who was No.1 in the popularity mostly in Hindu/Sikh population. Due to being highly skilled and popular, she was very expensive and would charge exorbitantly from the expectant ladies. Neither she preferred Muslim cases nor the common Muslims would afford to call her for deliveries. She was also mostly consulted (in confidence) for the suitable matches for the unmarried boys/girls. In successful cases what an enormous amount of cash, gold ornaments and costly clothes were given to her by Hindu/Sikh gentries. Eventually she became so rich and important personality that she could be hired only after prior appointments. In late 1940s, she got a phone connection to add to her status. More than half of Hindus/Sikhs from 1920s till Partition of India were delivered by herself and her staff.
The other Daee was by the name Sappho. She was favorite among the middle and low classes. She had a better temperament than Mirzo. She remained smiling always and pleasant to talk to. She was easily available all the times even at nights also. She never asked herself for any fee and accepted whatever she was given by the clients, who would give her the best they could afford. I still remember when she bought a HMV gramophone for Rs. 95 on installments @ Rs.5 per month from the dealers in Raja Bazaar. How proud she used to feel about this modern asset, and mentioned about it always when in some company. During the pre Partition days only these type of midwives were engaged and it was very seldom that hospitals were used for child-birth cases.
There was a barber who became very famous in healing the wounds. He became so highly experienced/specialized that the doctors stopped treating/attending the wounds and started referring cases of all types of ordinary and complicated wounds to this barber called Nathoo Nai. In the beginning he used to do his job on the roadside on the Jamia Masjid Road along with other numerous barbers; but later opened his own shop on the same road. When his practice improved and a huge rush started gathering in his shop, he stopped doing as barber and started only attending to the wounds. He placed a sign board on his shop with the wording “HAKIM MIAN NATHOO KHAN JARRAH (SURGEON)”,and started practice in “Hikmat” also. After performing haj the small board was replaced with a much bigger in size and with the words as Hakim Haji Mian Nathoo Khan Jarrah. Due to his successful practice of treating the chronic wounds, his clinic started gathering such huge rush that he put all his sons to assist him. He also became a very rich person and obtained a high position in the public.
At the same Jamia Masjid Road there used to be a doctor by the name of Dr. Mehmood Ali Khan. Before Partition, he had a very insignificant practice due to a large number of Hindu/Sikh doctors who were running very successful practice. But after the departure of non-Muslim doctors, his practice gathered big momentum and soon he constructed his own big clinic at Pull Shah Nazar. He had one Compounder by the name of Mohammad Din who gained so much knowledge of medicines that he used to run the clinic in the absence of the doctor. It happened daily that after the doctor left the clinic after being off; Mr. Mohammad Din started his own practice, charging his patients/customers and keeping all the cash for himself. The Doctor was in knowledge of this malpractice of his Compounder; but he could or did not stop this practice due to the fact that Mohammad Din had become a sort of indispensable: and the leakage of his income was just a negligent fraction. With the passage of time Mohammad Din had become a full fledged fake doctor with huge number of his own patients. After the death of Dr. Mehmood Ali Khan, Mohammad Din opened his own clinic with a clientage not less than any well established doctor. In the meanwhile his son did his MBBS and became a doctor. TO BE CONTINUED……………….
My Old but Ever New Pindi” (Part 1)
My Old but Ever New Pindi” (Part 2)
My Old but Ever New Pindi” (Part 3)
My Old but Ever New Pindi” (Part 4)
Nostalgic Articles about Rawalpindi
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