“Pindi Memoirs by a Sikh Son of the Soil (Part 1)”

By Kanwarjit Singh Malik

Kanwarjit Singh Malik of Rawalpindi, born 1930Editor’s Note: Kanwarjit Singh Malik was born in Rawalpindi in 1930. His family moved to India at the time of Partition in 1947. He joined Flying Club in Jalandhar, later was selected in Indian Air Force. After the retirement he served as senior Captain in Air India and Air Lanka. 

I have recently read 19 episodes of “My Old but Ever New Pindi”, a series of “Nostalgic Aricles about Rawalpindi”, written by Rafique Khan Sahib, in a website; Native Pakistan. Being a native of Pindi, these articles took me back to the good old days. Today sitting in Foster City, near San Francisco, USA, at the home of my daughter, I remember Pindi as it was in my mind as I remember.

In Rawalpindi our Malik family was very well-known, especially my father Malik Mukhbain Singh. He had many Muslim friends, Mian Aslam and Mian Akram (Lakri taal wallas), Choudhry Maula Dad and all his brothers and their father/uncle M. Azam Khan who was member Cantt Board. My father himself was member Municipal Committee and Director Rawalpindi Electric Supply Bus Company, which plied in the city. Malik Qayum Sahib of Shamsabad, Sir Sikandar, Nawab Muzaffar Khan and all the elders were his personal friends. Mian M. Nur Ullah, Pakistan’s first Finance Minister, especially came to stay with my father in a Barrack in 1948 where he was staying then. I served them myself. He was accompanied by Nawab Muzzafar Khan. There were so many others which I don’t remember now because as children we were not allowed to sit in the gathering.

I was born on 7 November 1930 in one of my great-grandfather’s houses on Nehru Road (This road goes from Raja Bazar towards Akal Garh, Bagh Sardaran and finally the last limit Dosera Grounds), this house was converted as living quarter for my grandfather Malik Chaiber Singh.

Ours was a joint family, most of the property on the opposite side was owned by my great-grandfather, MALIK KHAZAN SINGH, who lived in Old Pindi, Saidpuri Darwaza, CHATTI HUI GALI (known by our Baradri as Wada Ghar).

My great-grandfather MALIK KHAZAN SINGH was born in 1813. He moved from Dera Khalsa (Tehsil Kahuta) to Rawalpindi between 1833 to 1838  when he was 20 to 25 years old. His mother sent him to Pindi with Rs.25/- He also served in the Army of Mahraja Ranjit Singh and moved with them up to Kabul. Later, he became a general Contractor like so many other Pindiwals. He had the monopoly of Dak of Pindi District. His Tongas and Victorias used to go up to Murree. As said earlier, these horses were put up in the Old House which was later converted as living quarter. He passed away in 1899.

Malik Khazan Singh (1813-1899) of Dera Khalsa, Tehsil Kahuta, District Rawalpindi

His son Malik Chaiber Singh (my grandfather) lived with the joint family in the Old House. Later my grandfather moved with his younger sons to his bungalow on Circular Road. It was the biggest bungalow (3 acres) in Pindi city. It was opposite L. Kalyan Das Haveli, Gali Surian.

We are basically Sikh Ahluwalia. MALIK was the Title bestowed on our ancestors with village Dera Khalsa as Jagir as the saying goes by GAKHAR RAJAS.

My father’s youngest uncle Malik Dogar Singh lived opposite as he had built a palatial bungalow there. On the left of our house lived Bakhshi Jagan Nath, in front of his house he had some fruit trees. He enjoyed sitting there. On our right was SARAN SARDAN DI. Then there was a small road leading to the bungalow of Mrs. Hardit Singh. She was mother of Sardar Sohan Singh and Mohan Singh. From the bungalow of Mrs. Hardit Singh, I used to notice Chinese looking caravan travelers. They were actually merchants from Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia with their horses and yaks. My mother used to buy carpets from them. When we moved to our bungalow at Chowk Saidpur Road, she had 23 carpets of all sizes. She also bought one SAMURI (very large coat made of so many very fine animal skins) for my father but he never wore that. It used to fill one large box.

Historical Gharyal in Bagh Sradaraan Rawalpindi - Old Photo of Rawalpindi

Historical Gharyal in Bagh Sradaraan

Next was a Gurdwara and Mandir built by Sardar Sujan Singh, father of Sardar Hardit Singh. Next was the SARDARAN DA BAGH. It had big gates on both sides. There were about six acres of trees of all types and  flowers, Big Gharyal (Clock Tower), Library and huge bungalow of Sardar Sohan Singh (known as Shahzada Kothi). I visited this many times with my father, they were friends. Sardar Mohan Singh lived in Cantonment in the best bungalow of Pindi. That Victorian style bungalow became the Presidency of Pakistan around the mid 1960’s. Later, Fatima Jinnah Women University, the first Women University of Pakistan, was established in the premises of this bungalow on August 6, 1998.

 Sardar Mohan Singh's bungalow, Rawalpindi Cantt now Fatima Jinnah Women's University

The land opposite SARDARAN DA BAGH also belonged to my great-grandfather so it became part of his youngest son who built that imposing only bungalow on Nehru Road. All land behind and the road going to Mohalla Akal Garh belonged to him.

There were so many small shops, selling pakoras, rations, even Guddas (Kites) and Halwai shops. Small houses/shops were paying rent of 15/20 rupees per month. At the back were many KUMHARS all on rent of 10/15 rupees per month.

Continuation was Normal School for Girls. Even I was there as a special case, may be for 10/15 days, used to play with Nayar Sultana, daughter of then Head Mistress in 1934. I have only faint memory of my stay in that girls school. After this school was Deere Mander Baba Sarab Dyal, then a gap with some houses and wild growth. Further on was the Cremation Ground and the Lei Stream (now called Lei Nullah). I believe Pir Wadhai and Pir of Golra then owned most of the land on other side of Lei, which divided the city from Cantonment. We were not allowed to go anywhere without servants till Partition.

SARDARAN DA BAGH was between two roads. A little after the Bagh, the road branched to the right, called Asghar Mall Road. Malik Harnam Singh’s bungalow was located on this road. We used to call that bungalow as “BAROOD KHANE WALI KOTHI CHACHA JI DI”. We watched Dusehra from there. The very big ground was known as Dusehra Ground. Opposite this Ground was TB Hospital with another very vast ground.

We shifted from Nehru Road house to our newly built bungalow in 1936/37 at Chowk Saidpur Road. It was located at the cross road of Saidpur Road /Asghar Mall Road. Our bungalow was a land mark, along with SARAN SARDAR BOOTA SINGH, our close relation.

Kanwarjit Singh Malik's ancestral House at Chowk Saidpur, Rawapindi, 1947

I studied in Presentation Convent School in Cantonment, Singh Sabha School in Raja Bazar, Khalsa School near Banni Mai Veeran on Saidpur Road, finally up to 10th class Khalsa High School (now Muslim High School No. 1) near our bungalow.

SANATAN DA SCHOOL had an imposing building. BANNI MAI VEERAN (sister of Sain Sahib, the Head of Bhagats of Rawalpindi) was built by her with entire secular population of Pindi taking part as a holy cause in memory of SAIN SAHIB.

Asghar Mall Road extended up to Murree Road. On the way was a bungalow of Sardar Hari Singh and three or four other bungalows, rest were all Mohallas including Kartar Pura on a road which joined MAI VEERAN BANNI.

The land behind the JAMIA MASJID, the most imposing mosque in Rawalpindi Division, belonged to Sardar Sujan Singh, grandfather of Sardar Sohan Singh. On the other road leading to Pull Shah Nazar on Jamia Masjid Road lived Bakshi Shiv Ram in a very nice house. He had a very beautiful Tonga and used to come visiting my father in that Tonga plying himself.

Uncle Harnam Singh owned Lakshmi Cinema, while Rose Cinema was owned by some Peshoria Sardar Swaran Singh whose son Gurdip was my brother’s class fellow in Khalsa High School. TO BE CONTINUED ………

Related Pages:
“Pindi Memoirs by a Sikh Son of the Soil (Part 2)”
“Pindi Memoirs by a Sikh Son of the Soil (Part 3)”
“Pindi Memoirs by a Sikh Son of the Soil (Part 4)”
Nostalgic Articles about Rawalpindi  
Rawalpindi Blog 

Editor’s Note: 
Did you find this article interesting? Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media by using the buttons below. 
If it is not inconvenient, please do write a brief comment at the end of this page under the heading “Leave a Reply here”
You are welcome to contribute nostalgic articles about Rawalpindi by sending to the Editor at: nativepakistan@gmail.com


  1. Sir,
    I am a very well known fiction writer. My posts on FB are liked equally by people with some literary taste in India, Pakistan and all countries where people who know Urdu have settled. I migrated with my father from Delhi to Pindi at a very early age in 1947. I was raised and educated here, we lived in Tanch Bhata, so I was sent to C.B. School in Lalkurrti and later to Gordon College. Although I don.t possess the pride of being a son of the soil like you but I can take pleasure in calling myself a Pindiite. After wandering around the world for almost 40 years, I returned to Pindi in 2003, but the Pindi I left behind was no where to be seen. This made me feel nostalgic and sad and I thought about writing my feelings out.
    My first post on FB (پنڈی کہ ایک شہر تھا) was very well received, what surprised me was that it was not just nostalgic liking from people of my age but the younger generation was no less interested. There was a general expression of the desire that I should publish my memoirs in book form. A few more of such posts and the response was very pressing. ARY, a news channel also picked these posts. I must admit here that what I wrote was selective and mostly based on Nostalgic articles by you and others without seeking your permission to which I was morally bound.
    Now that I have almost decided to write a book, I hope you will have no objection on my using some of your information. At present there is just one such book published recently by the owners of Murree Brewery but that is in English and very highly priced so it is hardly even known to the public in general. I saw a book in Urdu but that was all History and Geography. What I have in mind is a cultural account of Rawalpindi city.
    I need blessings and help from you and all. My e-mail address is:
    Phone: 92 333 5858344

  2. Azhar Malik says:

    It was great pleasure to read about Rawalpindi before Partition.

  3. Saief Aousaf says:

    l am 38 years old, I know very well the history of Pindi. Kindly tell me where Hakeem Motio Lal and Lala Sant Ram were living and working?
    Kindly also inform me about the life of Anand Bakshi who lived in Chitti Hatian near Lunda Bazar and Bahbarh khana. l am living in Lunda Bazar near Mohan mandir and domes gurudawara is situated here. Next mohallah is Boharr Bazar old Bohri mohallah and attached with Amberbardan mandir near Bidhu Bia haveli. Presently this haveli’s name is ‘Lal Haveli’ and its owner is Sheikh Rashid, a former minister.
    Kindly tell me about the history of Lunda Bazar, situated in mohallah Nehall Singh Cahchi.

  4. Dev Datt Sharma says:

    Dear Kanwarjit Sigh Malik,
    I must congralulate you for giving such wonderful histary of Rawalpindi. I was 11 years old when we left Rawalpindi. I was in 6th class in S.D. School Rawalpindi. We lived at Sadpuri Darwaza. I walked to school by the side of Mai Biro ke Banni. My father Shri Mathra Dass Sharma and my elder brother Dr. D.L.Sharma studied in the same school, my brother was in 12th class at the time of Partition. I remember Kalyan Dass mandir which belonged Udoy Ram Suri.

    At Sadpuri Dawaza Road there was famous Nand Choley wala. I remember Saidpur which was also called Ram Kund. Every year Baisakhi mela was held at Ram Kund.

    In your write up you have mentioned name of Laxmi Cinema. My uncle and father had a workshop at the back of Laxmi Cinema building. If I am not mistaken Laxmi Cinema was at one end of Raja Bazar.

    I was born at village ChakShahzad which was about 9 miles from Rawalpindi via Rawal village. I remember there was a smalll dam at the nullah Kurang near Rawal village, this was called Rawal Dam. We used to take bath in fresh water of Kurang. One under ground tunnel used to supply water to Pindi from the reservior from the back of Rawal Dam.

    There was very big Gurukul near Rawal village. Pandit Mukti Ram Ji was incharge of this Gurukul. This Gurukul had great influence on the young Hindu population. I think Pandit Mukti Ram Ji became Swami Atma Nand Ji after Partition. He became Mukya Sanchalak of Hindi Agitation in Punjab and some parts of North India.

    I also remember my father had one flour mill at Barahkoh. FAIR BANK MORRIS diesel engine made in USA used to run chakki. This engine had two big fly wheels.

    Another place worth mentioning is Kuri town. There was one very important gurdwara in Kuri. The name of this Gurdwara was Baradari. I remember every year on Basant Panchmi day there used to be big mela at Baradari and Sali (small) topies of Guru Gobind Singh’s sons were shown there. I am sure readers of my age will remember these places.
    Dev Datt Sharma
    1426 sector A, Pocket B &C, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, India
    Email: devdattsharma2003@yahoo.com

  5. Mohammed Safdar Kiani says:

    It is very nice to read this article as it reminds me the full picture of my own town. I use to live in Banni mohallah and Kartarpura mohallah. Now I am living in U.K. since last 50 years, but whenever I get a chance to visit my country, I visit Banni mohallah and Kartarpura mohallah. I love these areas because I spent my childhood there and attended Islamia Middle School, Circular Road and Islamia High School Murree Road opposite Company Bagh and after that I attended Govt. College Asghar Mall Road. My father runs a business known as “Pindi Oil & Floor Mill” in Chowk Banni Mai Veero.

  6. Arslan Chaudhary says:

    Awesome work by the writer, very interesting for reading vast knowledge gained about Pindi. It feels good to see and read about that buildings you mentioned specially the writer’s home at Asghar Mall Chowk. I lived in front of the writes bungalow and when I saw that house it threw me to think about the past and fetch some more information about this and the Dusehra Ground, mostly I walk from there …..such an awesome memory.

    • Dear Arslan Sahib,
      The house opposite our bungalow belonged to Sardarni Shakuntla Jee, one of our relatives. Also in the Lane behind there was a MANDIR.
      Also if you could give some frontal view pictures. There was a Municipal NALKA IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR BOUNDARY WALL?

  7. Memory acts slowly at 85. I live in Mumbai / Chandigarh/Delhi but travel to Dubai, Hong Kong and rarely to San Francisco every year. Wife passed away 2011, so it is a lonely world. Reason for travels. Have not been to Australia and New Zealand otherwise covered the Globe many times during my job as Senior Captain of Air India and Air Lanka in 79/82. Been to Karachi, had very fond memories of people there. Taxi driver I had to force to take Taxi fare. similarly a Restaurant Manager I had to force to accept the Bill.
    Am grateful to Mr. CHAWLA who now must be in his mid fifties (Chawla Market) for showing me Karachi under Gen ZIA UL HAQ and Mazar of JINNAH SAHIB.
    I have that picture some where.
    Rough Part 4 of my memoir is ready. This I will send after my daughter corrects my mistakes and gets back to me to Rashid Sahib (Editor) shortly.

  8. Hussain Ahmed says:

    My dear Kanwarjit Singh,
    I would like to congratulate you for writing a beautiful nostalgic article about Rawalpindi. Your article has made me recall some of the Sikh families of Rawalpindi. I vividly remember their faces. Their names are mentioned below. It may be of some interest to their children/grand children/great grand children. I would add few more names later. I hold myself responsible for misspelling someone’s name or fact.
    1. Sardar Sohan Singh and Mohan Singh. They were known as Rais-e-Azams of Rawalpindi. Photograph of their residence, now Fatima Jinnah Women University has been shown in your article. They had huge property in Rawalpindi, particularly around Bagh Sardaran Rawalpindi City.
    2. Mangal Singh. Mangal Singh was a leading motor parts dealer. His business was inside Massey Gate and residence near cantonment hospital road, later converted into Shehzad Café and shops. His son Kalwant Singh was my class fellow in Standard School close to their house. He was a good friend of mine.
    3. Surat Singh. Surat Singh was a transporter from Ahata Surat Singh named after him, located at Railway Road. His son Inderjeet was my class-mate in Standard School. He was an outstanding hockey player.
    4. Mahal Singh. Mahal Singh was motor parts dealer in Hatti Chowk, Saddar, Rawalpindi .He was intimate friend of my father. Probably he visited Hassan Abdal in 1958. He came to see us after obtaining special permission from DC Rawalpindi. He stayed with us for about three hours. Asked my father to visit Bombay for sometime but father couldn’t being a government servant. He gave five rupees note to my younger sister. I still remember him weeping while leaving us
    5. Dr. Makhan Singh. Dr. Makhan Singh was from Babu Bazaar Saddar. He was a friend of my grandfather, Said Muhammad, who migrated to Rawalpindi from Peshawar around 1870. Dr Makhan was our family doctor and his clinic was located in main Saddar Bazaar. Son of Dr. Makhan Singh, whose name I do not remember did commercial pilot course. My father told me that he was given a warm reception when he landed at Chaklala Airport. People of Saddar went to receive him .
    6. Sardar Swaran Singh. Sardar Swaran Singh was the owner of Rose Cinema Raja Bazaar Chowk, Rawalpindi City. I was a child when the famous film, Rattan was released somewhere in 1945 and screened in Rose Cinema. The house was jam-packed. Sardar saw our family standing and provided us extra chairs. What a nice person he was!
    7. Babwa Moti Singh. Babwa Moti Singh was headmaster Dennys High School Rawalpindi Cantt. He was a competent educationist and devoted person. School produced excellent results in all fields during his tenure.
    8. Mehar Singh. Mehar Singh had a ration depot and a big grocery store at hospital road. They lived at the back of our house in Babu Bazaar. His wife’s name was Harbhajan Kaur who was friendly with my mother. My father used to address her as Chachi Jee. I still remember the old lady weeping when she left us.
    9. Dr. Sant Singh. His clinic was located at the end of Babu Mohallah and residence at Dalhousie Road now Kashmir Road. His son Sharnagot Singh was handicapped. His second son Sangeet Singh was known to me.
    10. Dr. Harnam Singh. Harnam Singh was medical officer at Cantt Hospital Rawalpindi Cantt. He was a popular figure. His dispenser was Roop Singh always smiling. We often used to collect medicines from him.
    11. Sudarshan Singh. Sudarshan Singh was a resident of Gawalmandi. He was my class fellow in Standard School. Sometime in 1948 I received a letter from him from Amritsar. He failed to send me his address for which I kept on waiting for years.
    12. Vasta Singh & Sujan Singh. They were our tenants having a big general store outside our grandfather residence at Elenborough Road near police station and Capital Cinema. I would like to mention that whenever my cousin Ejaz and I went to buy something for domestic use he used to entertain us with soda water bottle with a ball inside. We made a practice to buy everything from him required for home.
    13. Utan Singh Duggal. He had a petrol pump near Massey Gate.
    14. Owner of Khalsa Store. I do not remember his name. The store was owned by well known Sikh family. It was situated at former Edwards Road now Bank Road. It was allotted to Sheikh Masood Sadiq, ex minister who named it Khyam Store. After 1966 the business was changed but the store still exists.
    Best regards
    Hussain Ahmed

    • Chanchal Singh Chowdhry says:

      Dear Mr. Ahmed,
      Dr. Makhan Singh was my great-grand uncle and his pilot son whose’s name you can’t recall is Manmohan Singh who died during Second World War. You can read more about him and see his pictures on our family website http://www.ourvansh.com
      I have a copy of a recent article which was published in Bristol newspaper which I can email to you.

      • Chanchal Singh Chowdhry Sahib,
        Let us know some thing about yourself and the Pindi that you remember Pre Partition?
        Nostalgic Pindi “Hindu/Muslim/ SIKH/ISAI/ HAIN BHAI / BHAI?

        • Chanchal Singh Chowdhry says:

          Dear Sir,
          I was only few months old at the time of Partition. Whatever I know is through my parents and elders who had such a fond memories of Pothohar. I sent your 4 part article to various people and here is a reply from one of them

          Dear Chanchal Chowdery Sahib,
          Thank you for forwarding these memoirs which has reminded me my childhood.sweet memories. I studied in Khalsa Primary School near Verran wali pond and then Khlasa High School, very close to Asghar Mall Road. Our bonglow was also on Murree Road very close to Saran Boota Singh. We used to visit Murree quite often as my dad who was in the army was posted in Murree for quite some time.
          Kind Regards

  9. Maj Siraj Syed (R), USA says:

    Dear Captain K.S. Malik,
    I am addressing you by your latest profession of being an Airline pilot. Your articles have brought back memories of Rawalpindi where I lived from 1956 to 1978. My parents had their house in Satellite Town adjacent to Saidpur Road and Intermediate College was on the other side of Saidpur Road.
    I wonder whether you knew Raja Allah Dad of Shakarparian and Dr. Ziaullah. Both these gentlemen were our family friends. I live in USA at Fort Collins, Colorado and there is an Indian grocery store owned by a Sikh gentleman whose father-in-law is from Village Syedan very close to Muridke. I would definitely chat with you on phone if you could please give me your phone number. My email address is: sirajisyed@yahoo.com

  10. Lt Col Zahid Mumtaz (Retd) says:

    Dear Kawarjit Singh,
    I was really fascinated to read your article regarding Rawalpindi. It has been excellently written with details. I am living in Rawalpind for the last 52 years and know most of the places you have mentioned in your article. If you want I can send you the latest pictures of these places. My Uncle Hussain Ahmed, 82 years old, is an encyclopaedia on Rawalpindi. The family is living in Rawalpindi Saddar, Kazan Chand Hatha , near Hathi Chowak for the last 140 years. He has written the article History of Hockey of Rawalpindi which is on the website, Native Pakistan. When we discussed your beautifully written article together, he remembered number of prominent Sikhs of Rwalpindi Cantt and City. I will send their details to you later. Once again thanks for sharing your memoirs of Rawalpindi.

    • Akbar Ali Khail says:

      Please give me some time and put us wise on history of Rawalpindi.

      • Kanwarjit Sigh Malik says:

        Akbar Sahib,
        Old memories are for ever. I was born in Nov 1930, left PINDI on 12 AUG 1947…HOW MUCH OF PINDI I REMEMBER? What Longings I have for village of Dera Khalsa which I think I never visited. IN THIS MUCH TIME SEEN, AND HEARD—has gone through SEA CHANGE.

  11. Sultan Jamshed says:

    Very amazing anecdotes. Kindly continue the same to kindle the light in the memories of present generation.

  12. Muhammad Shahin says:

    Sat Sri Akal Sardar ji,
    It was very kind of you that you spent time to remind us about our old Pindi of which we all Pindiites are very proud. I shall be grateful if you make a sketch based on your memories about the locations of your ancestral homes. You referred to Nehru Road now as Jinnah Road but as far as my memory serves me right during my school days Nehru Road used to be the road going from Raja Bazar towards Akal Garh, Bagh Sardaran and finally the last limit Dosera Grounds. That road I have seen written as Nehru Road on its one of the mile stones. May be prior to this that road was Nehru road which you referred. Thanks once again. Keep on writing.

    (Editor: Jinnah Road was erroneously added by me. The same has been corrected in the Post. Thanks for pointing out this mistake.)

  13. Muhammad Shahin says:

    Mr. Hundal,
    We are here to recollect old memories and redefine the lost ones. We are not here for any political motives. Please try not to touch on sensative subjects which are controversial. Thanks.

    • To all my readers(Sikh Son of Soil)
      I have read books on Nehru,Indira,Jinnah and many others regardingPartitiion.
      We were living in complete Harmony in beloved Pindi but under Foreign Rule.
      We’re we prepared to take over as we did.?
      NO.None of our Leaders had any Adminstrative Experience learnt from British.These became apparent during March. 47

      Later in August on 15th when clock struck MID NIGHT.REST IS HISTORY.
      MY FATHER Malik Mukhbain Singh Bar at Law who was 63 then at one time in Pindi was such a Known figure Leading Muslim Families of WAH,ATTOCK and around were on calling terms with us not only in Pindi but in Lahore too

      Now sticking to Memoirs,from my heart I wish I could see clear Skies with sky full of stars,Hindu Kush Mountains and snow covered Peaks. Going up the Hills in winter to
      Play in snow with my Friends fearlessly,inSummer to see the Spring water coming down
      In small streams,since then dried up

      OVERPOPULATION….MIND readers these are my personal feelings as my father explained to us after two visits to Pindi and the warmth shown to him when he was taken from Wagah to Pindi,Muree,Hssan Abdal and many other Places.

  14. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, USA says:

    Dear Kanwarjit Singh Malik Sahib,

    What a tour de force. Thank you so much for your contribution.

    My grandfather Syed Niaz Ahmed Tirmizi became the first Head Master of Muslim High School in 1947 after they moved from Roper. Earlier, he was the Head Master of Islamiya High School, Ferozepur Cantt. All my uncles, except my father matriculated from that High School. One of my Uncle still lives in the house next to the old Khalsa High School.

    Your house on Saidpur Road still stands. As a young child I used to always wonder about all the people who lived in that house and went to that school. Our ancestral house was built in the 1930s and is still holds the same facade.

    Yes Pindi has changed a lot in the last few decades and many old families are moving out to new localities.

    I have been living in Chicago for the last two years and will be moving out in the next one year. It would be a singular honour to either host you here or in Pindi and to fill in long gaps in my mind about my only love: Rawalpindi.

    • Lt Col Zahid Mumtaz (Retd) says:

      Dear Faisal Niaz Tirimizi,
      I have an original photo of your grandfather along with my father, Sheikh Muhammad Mumtaz, who was headmaster Denny’s High School Rawalpindi Cantt in 1954. He was born at Bhera on 8 Oct 1910. In fact all the headmasters of prominent high schools of that time of Rawalpindi Cantt and City are in that photo. If you send me your email address I can forward you the photo.

      • Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, USA says:

        Dear Col Mumtaz,
        I had the honour of being student of your illustrious father in Lalazar.
        Please e-mail me that historic photo on faisaltirmizi@yahoo.com.
        Faisal Tirmizi

      • Haroon Zamir says:

        Mumtaz sahib was a fascinating man. He taught me Urdu and a lot more. He was full of stories and anecdotes. I remember him fondly.

  15. Elizabeth Owen says:

    I was six in 1931 when I lived in Cambridge Barracks, Rawalpindi, a British army soldier’s daughter. In the summer we went to Upper Topa, not far from Murree, my favourite place in all the world.
    I am now 89 years old, but my memories of life in Rawalpindi are still clear, and treasured.

    • Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, USA says:

      Ms Owen,
      You must share your memories of Pindi from the 1930s. It would be a fascinating account, I am sure.

    • Harkinder Singh Chahal says:

      Dearest Elizabeth Owen
      I would be very pleased, along with many more I am sure, if you can write your memoires of your experiences of life in and around Rawalpindi. It would be nice to know about your parents and your current life as we’ll. please share any photos you may have from your life. Thank you kindly.
      Harkinder Singh

  16. Ali Haider says:

    It was a joy to read. Thank you so much.

  17. SAT GOEL says:

    Great to read your story of Rawalpindi. I am a Rawalpindi born man of 1931 and studied at Denny’s High School in the Cantt area. My father was in the Railways. My grand parents built a small house in Nazir Street near the Capital cinema.

  18. Very informative and nostalgic article. I was born in Rawalpindi in 1952 and familiar with the details mentioned.

  19. Misbah Malik says:

    Such an interesting episode of past. I was born in 1955 and remember seen all these buildings and these places which still exist with same names. Good to know the people whom theses belonged. The whole of the memories creeped my body as I get very sensitive reading these type of memories. Once again thanks!
    I passed my whole childhood in Rawalpindi and shifted to Islamabad after getting married and now living in Coral Springs, Florida, USA.

  20. Sat Sri Akal Sirdar Jee,
    Thank you for retrieving these cogent memories for our reading pleasure. I look forward to more.

  21. Your two articles are of great interest to me, even though I have no personal connection to Rawalpindi. I am the editor of http://www.indiaofthepast.org, which aims to preserve memories of India and Indians that are at least 50 years old. I would like to reproduce your articles on my website, with due acknowledgement of this site. Other readers may please note that my site accepts the pre-1947 memories of those who later became Pakistan citizens.
    Subodh Mathur, indiaofthepast@gmail.com

    • Harkinder Singh, Canada says:

      Subodh Mathur ji,
      Thank you for the noble work of preserving part of valuable history. Thanks for the link. I was born after Partition in 1952. However, I had roots in Pakistani Punjab’s Layallpur Distt, Tehsil Samundri where my great grandfather was awarded 100 Murabba’s of wild forestry land for his meritorious service in the British Indian Army during WWI in 4th Bengal Lancers.
      My father later served in the 15th Punjab Regiment during WWII. This land was cleared of jungles, tilled, and made fertile by my ancesters. Due to stories I heard from my father, I learned Urdu from him and also had great urge to visit Pakistan after I immigrated to Canada in 1974. Since that time I visited Pakistan’s various cities from Multan, Gujranwala, Nanakana Sahib, Lahore, Jehlum, Gujrat, and Rawalpindi. I visited Rawalpindi twice during my visit to Sri Panja Sahib.
      During my visits to Pakistani Punjab, I had wonderful experiences meeting various people. Those memories are so rich and beautiful that I cherish them deeply and the experiences are etched in my mind permanently. Sometimes, I have strong desireto put them to the pen but not sure if that would be acceptable to your site or this site (Native Pakistan) that is recording history of Pindi? Please let me know if this may be of of interest. Thank you again for your dedication to an important cause.
      Harkinder Singh

      • Dear Harkinder Singhji,

        Thank you. My website features only personal memories of Indians or India that are at least 50 years old. So, I cannot use more recent material. However, I would welcome a story about your grandfather and your father.

        And, of course, any of your memories pre-1965 are fine.

        Please write to me at indiaofthepast@gmail.com.


  22. Kanwarjit Singh Malik says:

    I thank the readers of all Communities, who have spared their time to read what I remembered up to division of Motherland (all for personal gain). Kindly look around and judge, who has gained and who has lost? POWER AND CORRUPTION?

  23. Shah Alam says:

    Dear Kanwarjit sahib,
    Sat Sri Akal.
    Thanks for sharing your memories. I’ve lived in Pindi for the most part of my life but wasn’t so knowledgeable on the history of the many buildings and localities you mention. Your article has definitely added context and makes me better educated on those structures.
    You should plan on visiting Pindi to relive those nostalgic memories. Needless to say that you’ll find Pindi a totally changed city where you may have difficulty locating the remains of the buildings you mention. But Pindi alone hasn’t transformed: every city in the globe has gone through this developmental change. I can’t be very definitive about the size of its population but including its adjacent city of Islamabad this number should easily exceed five million. So surprised as you may be finding yourself in a totally strange city….. it may still be worth a visit.

    I’ll be eagerly looking forward to the second part of your current article.

    Shah Alam

    PS. It would have been a pleasure to house you as my own guest and conduct you around but regrettably I too have moved to the northern latitudes of the continent you now live in.

  24. Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

    I know Sardar Kanwarjit Singh Malik whom I met during his last visit to Dubai and stayed at his daughter’s residence who works here. He used to visit me frequently during his stay and discussed/exchanged views regarding our past memoires of Pindi. I know his family who were known as the elite of Pindi and enjoyed a lot of respect. They were extremely rich family and owned almost half of the City.
    I was much impressed by his profound memory of the local personalities, facts and sites of Rawalpindi; which he has used in the first part of his Memoirs. I also know/remember and endorse almost all the personalities, facts and sites, he has mentioned in his Memoir and look forward to his next installment to know more about his findings.

    • Anjum Dar says:

      Rafique Ahmed Khan sahib,
      Thanks to you to initiate this historical effort about the history of Pindi. I feel so much familiar with all the places mentioned by you and now by Janab KanwarJit Singh Malik saheb, though I was born in 1947, Iqbal Road, Trunk Bazar. One of your brothers-in-law was my friend and whenever we went to Odeon Cinema to watch a movie, we used to have gup-shup in cinema’s office. Hearty gratitude for Janab KanwarJit for his sharing…anxiously waiting for more.

  25. Tahmeena Malik says:

    Certainly down memory lane……..my very early impressions of your community were the Anecdotes my father so affectionately recalled of his Government College days…..some of his closest friends were Sikhs……I saw Fatima Jinnah University being redone brick by brick as I live in the vicinity and also had the good fortune of visiting the Presidency so I can so relate to your descriptions.
    Looking forward to your continued contributions and thank you so much.

  26. Aziz ur Rehman says:

    Kanwarjit Singh Malik Sahib,
    Your lucid and captivating piece on the history of Rawalpindi is not only a detailed accout of a city’s past but also reflective of the amity and warmth between the two communities, i.e. Muslims and Sikhs. The acrimony that may be existing between the two communities today could be a result of Islamic fundamentalism here being made hostage by terrorism, by the renegades, such elements always being exploited by the vested interests / external exploitative elements to further their own agenda.
    The reality is that Sikhs extend hospitality and show warmth to Pakistanis visiting India and similarly Pakistanis (Muslims) reciprocate when Sikhs visit this country. The feelings expressed by Sikh Pilgrims at Dera Sahib Baba Guru Nanak and Panja Sahib Hassanabdal bears testimony to this.
    I am sure every Pindiite will enjoy your past recollections. The names of Haveli Sujjan Singh, Kartar Pura, Banni and Mohalla Mohan Singh every house hold names and Kartar pura has become hot favourite due to its Food Street offering mouth-watering Nihaari, Siri-Paae, Chappal Kababs and Naans, etc.
    Ahluwalias have bright history and seem to be representing themselves in every intellectual field and martial arts.

    • Aziz ur Rehman Sahib,
      What you have written is gracious and appreciable, but when you say

      “Pakistanis (Muslims) reciprocate when Sikhs visit this country”

      do you not think that you are being unfair to the non-Muslims?
      Quite a few of them, like my family, are converts from Sikhism and have fond memories of Sikhs whose reaction to apostasy has always been very moderate.

  27. Ahmed Salim says:

    Kanwarjit Singh Malik,
    Thank you so much for taking us back down the memory lane. I was two years old at the time of Partition and have no clear memories of it. I belong to Chakwal but grew up in Karachi. Chakwal had a very prosperous Sikh community. My grandfather never got tired of remembering his Sikhs friends and the time spent with them.
    I moved to Rawalpindi in 1960 and immediately fell in love with the city. Of the people you mentioned, I had met Chaudhry Moula Dad. His son, Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan, was my class fellow in Gordon College.
    Unfortunately, we have not been able to preserve our heritage. Commercialisation has taken a very heavy toll. Some of the buildings and roads you mention still exist. The signs of Sikhs contribution in the development of Pindi are still visible. I wonder if you were able to visit Rawalpindi after Partition. I shall be looking forward to your next instalment.

  28. Gh Haidre says:

    Very interesting and very impressive…!
    Please write more.

  29. Gen Tahir Qazi says:

    Sat Sri Akal Sardar Ji.
    Very interesting indeed and perhaps the first ever contribution to the blog from a friend across the border. I know quite a few places mentioned by you as I studied for two years in Muslim High School (erstwhile Khalsa High School) and then a friend of mine was living in Kothi Hari Singh.
    When I was the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Malaysia, I came across Tan Sri Darshan Singh and became good family friends. We are still in communication with them. One day while Tan Sri was visiting me, mentioned that he was writing a Coffee Table Book titled, ‘Sikhs in Malaysia’. I had a look at the manuscript and found many historical mistakes and missing links, so I volunteered to do the proof reading and editing. It was a very intresting undertaking. Learnt a great deal about Sikhism.
    Hope to listen from you and more articles on Pindi. Stay blessed and do visit your old home town. Punja Sahib is very near and you can have a religious tour as well.

    • Kanwarjit Singh Malik says:

      Dear Gen Tahir,
      I joined IAF after one year stint in Flying Club and completing FA in 1950. Passed out in March 1952, seconded to Air India in 1967 also served as Senior Captain in then Air Lanka.cTo my credit I have nearly 11,000 flying hours, and 18 different aircraft.
      You should be a very Proud Pindiwal as in 1945/46 people used to say with pride that District Rawalpindi produced maximum Soldiers and Generals. How far it is true, I don’t know?
      MEMORIES NEVER FADE AWAY TILL OUR MAKER’s Recall. Yes, Punja Sahib I visited number of times with my mother but Murree and Swan for Picnics especially in winter to play in Snow. Murree was our Summer holidays at Pindi Point. Nostalgic aroma of Pine trees I still feel.
      Warm Regards,

  30. Harkinder Singh says:

    Great details by S. Kanwarjit Singh Malik of buildings, their owners, geography of the period. Looking forward to reading details of daily happenings, and activities of people, celebrations, politics, crime scenes, British presence and prominent functions or visitors to the city, School/ college functions, teachers teaching styles, wedding ceremonies, prominent deaths accidents, museums, all little details of throbbing life, etc.
    I shall look forward to reading about. Thank you Malik Sabin taking tome to step back in memory lane from your perspective. Highly appreciated.
    Harkinder Singh, Ontario, Canada

  31. Kanwarjit Singh Malik,
    History of old Pindi and the history of MALIKS of Dera Khalsa is very interesting. Will anxiouslywait for next parts of your Memoirs.

    • Janab Akbar Sahib thanks for kind remarks and will look forward to Fotoes too for
      Myself and and the Editor Mr Cheema who has so nicely printed/corrected these Articles

      • Saief Aousaf says:

        I am very thankful to you for giving us history of Rawalpindi but you forget one thing, great poet Anand Bakshi was born in Rawalpindi in 1930 in mohallah Chitti Hatiyaan. The condition of his house is still very good.
        Please tell me about the life of Anand Bakashi, if you know.

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