Maryam Babar's mother Eva Matthew Watt in Scotland

November 18, 2015

The 1947 Partition Archive

The 1947 Partition Archive

Maryam Babar was born Maryam Haqqani in 1941 in Hyderabad, Deccan to a Scottish-Indian family. She recalls that one night, during the time of Partition, thousands of rioters gathered around the Goshamahal Baradari assembly building and started chanting slogans. Mrs. Babar and her entire family were inside. Mrs. Babar and her siblings were instructed to sleep on the mattresses at the landing of the mansion, the only place that did not have any windows. “I heard my parents talking with each other about a pistol my mother was carrying. I remember my father asking her how she is going to defend herself with one pistol against thousands of angry people outside. She’d told him that the pistol is not for them but for killing the children in case the mob breaches the mansion,” Mrs. Babar recounts.

When Mrs. Babar's family felt that conditions had became too unsafe for them, they left India with her father’s briefcase, she recalls. He drove the family to the railway station, and boarded them on a special train to Mumbai. “From Bombay, we took the evening flight on one of the Dakotas and flew to London. The year was early 1950,” Mrs. Babar recounts. They stayed in London for two years and then relocated to Karachi in 1952.

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  • Title: Maryam Babar's mother Eva Matthew Watt in Scotland
  • Date Created: November 18, 2015
  • Location Created: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
  • Type: Photo
  • Interviewer: Fakhra Hassan