From Hyderabad to Singapore
Born in 1931 in Hyderabad, Sindh, British India, Dhanvantibai Thakurdas (maiden name: Kamla) doesn't recall much details around Partition.
However, she does recall with great fondness the life her family had in Sindh before they left for post-Partition India.
Dhanvantibai currently lives in Singapore and this is her story.
Dhanvantibai was around 16-years-old in 1947, the year of Partition.
Prior to Partition, she remembers life in Hyderabad, Sindh to be “very good” and “comfortable”. She came from a family of two brothers and three sisters. Her father owned a shop selling utensils such as those made out of aluminum, copper and steel while her youngest brother owned a bakery.
She recalls being “very happy” and having lots of fun and outings with her parents and siblings. She was enrolled in school where she studied right up till the 7th grade. The family lived in a community where neighbours from all walks of life were friendly and helpful. Life was indeed pleasant.
All that changed in 1947. Happiness turned to fear once Partition was announced. Although Dhanvantibai says she doesn’t remember much of the day of the announcement, she does remember that in the days and months following, the announcement of Partition brought with it a tide of disturbances and thefts, among other things.
In the month of November 1947, Dhanvantibai’s family decided that the time had come to leave Pakistan. Many Sindhis had already started leaving. It was a sad day for Dhanvantibai as she and her family left by train to Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Here, they stayed in a rental house where unfortunately, the landlords took advantage of their dire situation of needing housing by charging exorbitant rents. Thankfully, just four months later, the family were able to move on to Jaipur.
She recalls that it was difficult to start their lives and livelihoods all over again. It was a struggle to earn money to support the whole family.
Dhanvantibai got married in 1949. In 1950, she moved to Singapore, where she currently resides.