We were living in a newly constructed rented house in Kucha Soodan (the street of the Soods) where we had shifted not too long ago from Kucha Berian (the streets of the Beris). The move had been necessary as we had to sell our own house after financial losses incurred by my father. As the new house was only on a neighbouring street, I remember carrying some of our belongings in my two hands to the new house. We, children loved the rented house as it was newly constructed and had very colourful cemented floors especially its front porch painted in bright red colour. Though the house was smaller than our old one, I could not understand why my mother cried like a child when she left her old house. It was only after I grew up that I could appreciate my mother’s agony. She had spent over twenty years as the proud owner of the house in the other street and was now having to move to a rented house. We were no longer house owners!

Without knowing the meaning of the word 'Inquilab' (Long Live Revolution), I used to lead a group of children (all under ten) shouting 'Inquilab'. We did it because all the male adults in Lahore were doing the same in public places, on the streets or from their house tops. Shouting such slogans was the ‘in’ thing those days. We thought that 'Inquilab' must be great thing as everybody was seeking it. I also wrote 'Inquilab Zindabad' with a chalk on all the walls of my house and on the walls of the street – to the dismay of my mother and father. I was possessed by 'Inquilab' so that even when alone, I used to shout 'Inquilab Zindabad' to the annoyance of my brothers.

I started to have some understanding of the concept when in early 1930s, our house was once raided by 50 odd sturdy Punjab Policemen. They surrounded our little house from all directions – stood guard at the exit points of the street where we lived. The policemen were looking for my brother Roshan. I always admired this khadi-clad unemployed graduate brother of mine for his loving disposition towards me and his excellent physique.

My brother was usually not at home with the good excuse that he was looking for a job. A BA from the elite Forman Christian College of Lahore, he was a very busy member of our family. Unlike other members of the family, Roshan was always immaculately dressed in white khadi churidar and a kurta. In the evening when he went to the playground, he was dressed in khaki half- pants and a shirt and with a hockey stick hung on the back of his bicycle. He had many friends who wore khadi and came visiting frequently though they always seemed to be in a hurry.

My father was out of the house from morning till night at his little shop. They usually did not meet each other and whenever they faced each other, my father's only question was, “Any success on job front? Have you applied?” Roshan was invariably calm and composed in his reply. My father got the answer and went his way. Unemployment was a major problem in India in the thirties with the world-wide depression. India had hardly any domestic industry which could make use of the educated unemployed. Their only avenue was to get a job with the government and these openings were scarce, especially for khadi-clad people who were expected to be against the British Raj. Khadi symbolised anti- British attitude of the wearer.

A police raid at the Seth residence was unheard of. We were supposed to be decent, law – abiding citizens. All the families around the area started gathering around and near our house. The neighbours called others also who might be interested in watching the fun. My mother did what she was best at. She cried. I had never seen police in such large numbers and quietly ran out to mingle with the onlookers in the street. The neighbours pondered over every possible crime, (dacoity, murder, theft) which the young Seths may have committed. No one suspected that one of the Seth children could be a revolutionary!

After about one hour, the crowd began to get nearer to the truth. Police had suspected that some dangerous revolutionaries were meeting at Roshan's residence and they expected to catch them. As I moved from one group to the other group, I heard several versions of the purpose of this revolutionary meeting in our house. Overall, I was impressed by the role my brother was playing in the freedom movement but the story which appealed to me most was that Roshan was conspiring to kill the British Officers in India!

The Punjab police were not known for their civil behaviour. I remember my brother asking them to produce a search warrant. They had brought a magistrate along to oversee the search. My brother let them search all corners of the three-storey house while chatting with the Magistrate in English (much to my surprise and pride). The search continued for over an hour. They opened our suitcases and threw all the clothes on the floor. They opened the utensils and jars where we stored our lentils or wheat flour. They ordered my mother to sit in one corner and not to interfere in anything. Almirahs, cupboards, wall-hangings, storage and garbage bins were also ransacked but nothing was found.

Amongst the romantic novels my brother read, they found no pamphlet on Karl Marx or Lenin or any other revolutionary literature. They could not charge him for sedition and take him to the Police Station to question which was the way they normally dealt with other young people. Besides, my brother had established a friendly rapport with the Indian Magistrate who turned out to be another old boy from the Forman Christian College. It seemed to have helped him. My father was absent. My brother was questioned at length but the police obviously found nothing to charge him with. No 'revolutionary' group was discovered or caught in the house. It was a normal middle class house. Only a few new chairs and an office table in Roshan’s ground floor room indicated western influence. Before leaving, the Magistrate shook hands with my brother. The onlookers and spectators were highly impressed and Roshan's status among our fellow citizens was up!

It was now the turn of the assembled crowd to approach my brother, making friendly and sympathetic noises. To make him happy they even abused the Punjab police for their ruthlessness and cruelty. He gave them a polite reply with a smile on his face and told them the police had come to a wrong address. He was not the Roshan they were looking for. He told them that he was no revolutionary nor did he have revolutionary connections. He was an honest Congressman who followed Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent path. The crowd was a little disappointed and melted away.

In the evening when the family sat down for dinner, we discovered that Roshan did have some connections with revolutionaries. He dug out from one of the walls two imported pistols with a supply of cartridges and showed them to us. He revealed that these pistols were concealed in the house two days back by his friends. He did not tell us which revolutionary group he belonged to, but apparently, he was at the core of a group who trusted him and considered his house safe. Next morning, the pistols were out of the house. The police, it seemed, had the correct information. Some revolutionaries had been meeting Roshan. However, they did not find any evidence. The pistols were in a very well camouflaged corner. That saved my brother.

Just a few months before this incident, Bhagat Singh and two of his colleagues Rajguru and Sukhdeva were hanged and cremated on the banks of the Beas River. The news about their cremation came at midnight and I recall most adult members of our family left home to join the protest demonstrations in the streets of Lahore. People were wailing, cursing the British Government and raised slogans like ‘Long Live Bhagat Singh’. The protests continued for a few days, but the children chanted the Bhagat Singh slogans for years. Bhagat Singh became the symbol the Indian freedom and the revolutionary movement in Punjab. I, too, was painting the house and the street with the new slogans in Urdu in the memory of Bhagat Singh – we called him - Shaheed-e-Aazam – the great martyr.

To get him away from his revolutionary activities, my father took Roshan to a village, 40 kms from Lahore. In this village, my father had leased a water mill where wheat flour was manufactured. The grinding wheels of the Mill were powered by the electricity generated by water in the canal that flowed by. Scores of farmers would come to the Mill every day to get their wheat ground or to sell their wheat to my father. Roshan started spreading his message of freedom among the farmers too. This really worried my father as his Mill was leased from the government and the lease could easily be revoked. He decided to take Roshan back to Lahore.

I recall going with Roshan for a walk in the village. I was walking behind him. He asked me why I was walking behind him. I told him that our teacher had told us to follow our elders. He laughed and pulled me up to him and said, “You walk with me straight with your head high. Children of free India must walk with their heads high and erect and never bend before anyone in authority. I followed his advice literally and in Lahore, while going to school, I would walk with my head up and eyes straight. One day, I stumbled on a stone and fell down on my head.

Another interesting aspect of my brother came to our notice during a Satyagrah movement in the early thirties. Groups of volunteers used to court arrest daily in Lahore. For this purpose, an organisation was needed and we came to know that brother Roshan was the organising spirit behind that. At a given time, some Congressmen would gather to move forward in a procession shouting anti-British slogans. Slogans became louder with every move forward. Roshan led the group as well as the sloganeers. He would start the procession with the flag in hand and continue marching forward. Enthusiastic volunteers tried to snatch the flag from Roshan but he would not yield till they reached the place where police usually made arrests. And, he would vanish handing over the national flag to someone else who was keen to grab it. Although it was a daily affair, my brother was never arrested and he was always there next day to lead the Satyagrah. He shouted the loudest.

One day, I asked him why he evaded arrest while others went to jail. My brother smiled and told me that someone has to prepare volunteers to court arrest everyday. I and some of my co-workers do that job. I have to lead the procession and set the tone and pace. During the excitement fired by patriotic slogans, others join in the group and take the lead. And, at the right moment, I let them lead the batch to court arrest. I go back to prepare the next batch of Satyagrahis at the Congress office. Otherwise, the movement may sag, he asserted.

Three decades after independence, the Government of India decided to honour freedom fighters with Tamrapatras (certificates). Roshan refused to attend the meeting where they were to be honoured on the ground that he did not participate in the freedom movement to claim recognition or an award. However, The Deputy Commissioner of Jallundhar city where Roshan then lived came to his newspaper office and left the Tamrapatra on his table while he was away . Later, the freedom fighters were allowed pensions and free rail travel. Roshan never put in a claim. He never mentioned these honours to me. I came to know about this long after his death from one of my friends in Jallundhur.

Brother Roshan was a revolutionary and Satyagrahi, no doubt. but he had a romantic side to his personality. He was a well-built, handsome young man and girls could seldom miss his charm. At times, my brother was visited by some smart looking young college girls, most of them dressed in khadi. Girls coming to visit Roshan used to be hot news for the neighbours. Neighbouring women were immediately in their windows to look at his female visitors. These girls too, were Congress workers and students and belonged to families actively involved in the Congress movement. He seemed to be closer to one girl who was very happy to see him and came more often to visit him. She did not live very far from our house. However, every grown-up female, whether from outside or from the neighbourhood, called him 'Bhaji' (Brother). It was the most convenient and safe way of romancing those days.

Apparently, my brother did not like one particular girl. He was just fond of every young female around. To my surprise one day, I discovered my brother exchanging gestures with a young widow in the neighbourhood. Her response was even warmer. She constantly smiled at him. Later, I overheard my mother saying that she suspected the widow had designs on her son and called her a 'bitch'. The romance did not go far because my mother became overly alert!

Well before the partition, Roshan was married to a 'highly educated' Matriculate girl. Besides Matriculation, she had a Hindi Bhushan degree from Punjab University. She was recommended to my brother by Lala Jagat Narain who was an active Congressman and his political mentor and a close relation of his wife-to-be. (Lala Jagat Narain later found 'Hind Samachar' group of newspapers and became the first Minister of Education in the new East Punjab Government. ) She was Lala Jagat Narain's niece and the daughter of a government official.

I vividly remember going by an overnight train to Multan with the wedding party. The most exciting part of the wedding for me, as a young student, was the 300 kilometre journey by train from Lahore to Multan- now in Pakistan.. The 'Baraat' party was made up of 75 relatives and friends. Booking of a railway coach for the marriage party was not easy. The expertise of a distant cousin from the Ministry of Railways was sought. For many of us, it was our first ever train journey in life.

. We all had a great vacation with the bride's side providing us accommodation, food and total hospitality for four days. We were formally called for all three meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were served lavishly by the relatives of the bride. Tea was ever available on the house. During the four days, there was constant banter among the guests, games of cards as well as occasional quarrels! Marriage parties lasting four days, today, sound unreal. However, I attended at least three of them on the other side of the divide. All of them as a child on leave from school.

After his marriage, my revolutionary brother settled down as an ideal husband and father.– raising a family on the paltry salary of a bank clerk. He had five children – one of them has become a well- known Hindi writer. The other is the Managing Editor of a major Hindi daily – and one of his daughters is a leading publisher.