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Posted by Irene Tomaszewski on June 25, at A few months into her new job, Bhattacharjee met a Polish lady who told her a very unlikely story about arriving in India during World War II as an orphan after being saved from starvation in Siberia.
The family, it seems, was deported from Poland by the Soviets to the Gulag where thousands of Poles, including her parents, had perished. Intrigued by this, the young journalist presented her notes on this gripping and tragic tale to her superiors who promptly threw the story out and ridiculed her for falling for such a fantasy.
Ten years later, Bhattacharjee was working for a New Delhi newspaper, The Pioneer, and since she was for a time in the United States she used this opportunity to follow up on that Polish story. She visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, located the sister of the Polish lady she first spoke to, and had a long conversation about that event.
As soon as she was back in India she threw herself into more research for the book, a daunting task. Inquiries at history departments of several Indian universities produced no results — except for a suggestion to write to Professor Norman Davies.
She did, and, ever courteous, he replied. Realizing that most documents she needed were in London, she turned to the internet to gather enough information to apply for a research grant. Among other things, she reached the Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum and the helpful people who created it not only offered assistance but warm hospitality in London and Poland.
She was launched, but much more than six months had elapsed. The Second Homeland is the book based on her doctoral dissertation. Their odyssey ultimately spanned several continents, every segment of it marked by tragedy and uncertainty, but also by the unexpected kindness of strangers and their own indomitable spirit.
This book focuses on the Indian sojourn of Polish children who rediscovered their childhood among people who were welcoming and kind, in a land of great beauty where exotic fruit and elephants were a part of the natural landscape.
She makes clear that she is writing about one of the greatest unacknowledged war crimes, a violation of human rights that was compounded by a cynical cover-up of the massacre, and an official silence about the mass deportations to Siberia.
That the author does so is indicative of her profound understanding of her subject. Bhattacharjee knows that while she is telling a heartwarming story about orphaned children welcomed by a loving Maharaja, their trauma runs deep.
She never loses sight of these two strains of the narrative and this is what gives her book its power and beauty. Banasinska on the occasion of being honored by the Polish Government. Following a brief historical background, the author moves on to when the plight of the Poles held captive in the USSR becomes known, a situation of no consequence to the Soviets, awkward for the British, and a humanitarian crisis for the Polish government-in-exile.
Relief supplies are urgently needed and among the first to take action is Kira Banasinska, the wife of the Polish consul-general in Bombay Mumbai who immediately begins a campaign of awareness and fundraising.
Plans are made to send convoys overland from Quetta, in India now Pakistan via Meshed in northern Iran and into Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, especially to orphanages. Ideally, the trucks should not return empty after unloading but should bring back to India as many children as possible.
A British official, Captain A. Webb, administered the funds and also left behind an invaluable historical record.
At first there was some notion of placing the children in foster homes but the Polish government was opposed to separating the already traumatized children.
Other options such as schools and convents proved unworkable. The youngest children at the Balachadi camp Courtesy of the Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum India was then still ruled by Britain so obviously the Polish authorities turned to them for assistance, but imperial rule does not always allow for quick decisions.
On hearing of the plight of the children he immediately offered to take in — a figure he soon raised to — and built a camp for them on his seaside summer estate because he wanted the children to enjoy the pleasures of a beach.
The princely state of Kolhapur was the next to offer a site where a family camp, Valivade, was set up for some 5, people, mainly women and children. Bhattacharjee reports that several other sites were offered by other princely states but were turned down by the British who did not want the autonomous princely states to have any dealings with foreign governments.
One suspected visit resulted in a memo stating: It soon turned into a thriving community: An Indian shopping syndicate set up several businesses providing groceries, fish and meat, cloth, stationery and, in time, even a cinema that screened one show daily.THE SPIKE.
It was late-afternoon. Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We were too tired to talk much. My trip to the Kimberley has rekindled my interest in looking at what might be the case in with respect to our Aboriginal people.
I’m using the ‘A’ word rather than ‘indigenous’, for two reasons. THE SPIKE. It was late-afternoon. Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open.
We were too tired to talk much. The Tamil Refugees at Victoria, British Columbia Essay. On October 17, , seventy-six Tamil refugees arrived off the cost of Victoria, British Columbia in a rusty boat followed by another four hundred ninety two exhausted Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers in August (CBC News, ; Bauder & Bradimore, ).
Australia 's Policy Refugees And Asylum Seekers Essay examples - Compare and contrast Australia’s policy refugees and asylum seekers with that of two other countries. Children & youth International affairs Racism Refugees & asylum seekers.
Published on July 18, Asher Hirsch is a Policy Officer with the Refugee Council of Australia.. Popular now. Interviews with refugees; Private prisons in Australia: our 20 year trial; The internet holds society together and the government is setting out to break it.