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Roma Acharya

The 1947 Partition Archive

The 1947 Partition Archive

At the time of Partition, Roma Acharya was living in Suvidya village near Dhaka. Her father and uncles were priests in the village. Young Mrs. Acharya remembers that she went to school by boat. She says that life was simple, without worry. Things changed when Partition was declared, she remembers. There were riots and suddenly there was volatility in the air. Whenever rioting occurred, women stayed together in a dark room in the house without windows until the commotion was over. Sometimes, they were able to view the riots from their rooftop. Mrs. Acharya saw people all over carrying sticks and sickles. After some time, the police would come and disperse the crowd. Mrs. Acharya’s entire family left their ancestral house in Suvidya village. They first moved to Dhaka right before Partition. She was 13 years old at the time. She moved with her younger sister, father, mother and elder brother. Her elder sister was already married by then and had moved to Kolkata earlier. In Dhaka, they rented a house and lived there for three years. Her father also started priest work here and kept the family afloat. Before moving to Dhaka, they sold their portion of the house and converted that money into gold ornaments. By this time, other family members had left too, sold their respective portions and migrated to Kolkata.
As time passed, they felt the need to move again. Mrs. Acharya, her father, and younger sister migrated from Nilganj, took a steamer, and landed in Guma. They passed through the Sundarbans and sometimes lakes created by the sea. There were 3000-4000 people in that one single steamer, all of whom were migrating. Mrs. Acharya and her sister wore the gold ornaments that were made after selling their house. They wore gold bangles along with other jewelry to disguise the gold. For five days, they traveled in the steamer, eating salty food made with sea water. After reaching Guma, initially they stayed in a refugee camp for about 3-4 days. She remembers that the camp had poor sanitation and had no medical facilities. There was one big room where everyone stayed together. Afterward, they left to join their uncle who had earlier moved to Kolkata. Mrs. Acharya got married within three months of reaching Kolkata, at the age of 16.

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  • Title: Roma Acharya
  • Location Created: Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Type: Photo
  • Migrated From: Suvidya Village, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Interviewer: Sarita Bose
  • Current Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Camera Person: Utsa Bhattacharjee
  • Birth Year: 1934
  • Birth Place: Suvidya Village, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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