Oral history with Brigadier Dewan Chand Duggal, 2011 August 20.
Duggal, Dewan Chand, Brigadier 1922- and Kapoor, Reena
Author (no Collectors):
Duggal, Dewan Chand, Brigadier 1922-, Kapoor, Reena, Kapoor, Reena, and Kapoor, Reena
Mr. (Brigadier) Dewan Chand Duggal (retired from the Indian Army), was twenty-five years old and had joined the British-Indian Army as an officer when Partition happened. He was posted in Hong Kong at the time and when Partition was announced he received news that his mother and younger siblings – all of who were in Peshawar (now northwest Pakistan) – had left Peshawar for India. He also had news of much rioting and violence and feared the worst for his family. Unfortunately he had lost his father; his mother was a widow having lost her husband only the previous year in 1946. Upon learning of this development Mr. Duggal requested leave of his British commanding officer and rushed to India. But he did not clearly know where the family was and when they would reach India. He knew they were headed for Haridwar in northern India because Mr. Duggal’s father-in-law to be had offered up a house he owned in Haridwar to Mr. Duggal’s mother because he had a lot of respect for Mr. Duggal’s deceased father. With great difficulty Mr. Duggal reached India during this tumultuous time and then realized he could only get close to Haridwar via train but had no means to reach the house where he hoped to find his mother and siblings. Finally he reached the outskirts and walked tens of miles to the house where he did find his family. There was a very emotional and heart-breaking reunion as his mother related to him how they had to flee and had lost everything in the process. Mr. Duggal told us the harrowing story of how his mother insisted on going back to Peshawar on the trains that were taking people back and forth and often turning up at train stations only full of murdered passengers. She wanted to go back to try to retrieve some money or gold; this was because she had moved to India thinking it was a temporary move and was shocked to learn that Partition had indeed come to pass and she had no means to take care of or raise her children. Against all odds and everyone’s advice she did go back, somehow managed to retrieve some gold and money, brough it back and raised her remaining four children with some help from Mr. Duggal who was the only earning member of that family. Eventually all the kids - Mr. Duggal’s siblings - grew up and went to college – and left Haridwar.