It is befitting that this year Father’s Day and the World Refugee Day both fall on the same day.
My father’s story is that of a refugee who was uprooted from his home and sent a thousand miles away as a refugee/ civilian POW. His story is that of resilience and persistence and an ode to the spirit of the oppressed all over the world.My father was born in Hyderabad Deccan in 1929 in the then princely state of Hyderabad during British India rule. He came from a modest background and his father was a Jailor in the Hyderabad Jail.
After early education in City College, he went to the Osmania University for a graduate degree. However, education was not he forte and instead he found his passion in sports. He was well built, muscular, and athletic and soon found distinction in every sport that he took up. In the Osmania University he was member of the soccer, wrestling, and weight lifting teams. He had travelled all over India as the captain of the City College and later the Osmania University soccer team. There was a room in our house which was full of trophies and plaques he had won.
After finishing college in Hyderabad Deccan, India, he immigrated to East Pakistan in 1957, one of millions of Muslims who migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India in 1947, in search of a better life. Here he found an entry-level job at the massive Adamjee Jute Mills complex. Once he was settled in his new job, he went back to Hyderabad to marry Ammi and the two settled in Adamjee Nagar to start a new life. By virtue of his hard work and his excellent work ethic, he quickly climbed the ladder and became a manager at Mill #3 at a very early age. The future was looking bright for him,But destiny had something else planned for him. Soon our family became innocent bystanders in the Bangladesh Liberation war and we had to leave our home with barely the clothes on our back.
My father lost everything he had worked so hard for and we barely survived the horrendous war between India and Pakistan. We became refugees and the Indian Army took us to Roorke as prisoners of war. Here we spent the next 2 years of our lives in a POW camp surrounded by barbed wires and guarded day and night by armed soldiers. To read my father’s story check out my book “The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War” on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.