Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mohsin Jalil Shamsi, August 11, 2008

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: --Abbas here with Colonel Shamsi...

Segment Synopsis: Shamsi talks of his childhood in India. The interviewee's conversion to Islam as a child is examined. The circumstances of Muslims during Shamsi's youth are detailed as well. Additionally, Shamsi describes his education, and eventual enrollment in medical school. Lastly, Shamsi briefly mentions his enlistment in the army following medical school.

Keywords: Army; Colleges; Farsi language; Fathers; India; Lahore (Pakistan); Medical school; Neighbors; Pakistan; Petrol shops; Sports; Transport; Urdu language

Subjects: Business; Childhood; Conversion; Education; Essay; Hinduism; Islam

00:14:39 - Muslims in India

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Partial Transcript: I served in the army for about twenty-eight years, twenty-nine years.

Segment Synopsis: Shamsi briefly mentions his experience as a Muslim in the Indian army. Shamsi then considers the situation of Muslims living in India today, including their educational achievements and the effect of this upon their overall success within India.

Keywords: Army; Commanders; Examinations; India; Lucknow (India); Medical school

Subjects: Civil service; Education; Islam; Minorities; Muslims; Prejudice; Statistics

GPS: Lucknow (India)
Map Coordinates: 26.8, 80.9
00:22:01 - Education

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what else?

Segment Synopsis: Shamsi recounts his religious education, which was primarily conducted within the home. The interviewee also talks of his primary and secondary school education, which was nonsectarian. Shamsi then gives an example of the religious teachings he received and their applicability to his life during this time.

Keywords: Actions; Books; India; Islamic history; Neighbors; Siblings; Sisters; Society; Urdu language

Subjects: Education; Islam; Parents; Qurʼan; Religion; Values

00:31:43 - Partition

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Partial Transcript: Well, tell me what happened then, you must have been in maybe 7th or 8th class--

Segment Synopsis: Shamsi describes his experiences with the partition of 1947 and the ensuing riots in the city of Agra. Riots in Shamsi's home village are also recalled. Why Shamsi's father did not immigrate to Pakistan is explained as well.

Keywords: Agra (India); Butchers; Calcutta (India); Cousins; Holy days; Immigration; India; Markets; Pakistan; Primary schools; Sisters; Villages

Subjects: Business; Money; Nationalism; Partition; Riots; Working class

GPS: Agra (India)
Map Coordinates: 27.18, 78.02
00:40:50 - Effects of partition on India / religion / Muslims today

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Partial Transcript: What do you think was the effect on your community and on Muslims who stayed?

Segment Synopsis: Shamsi explains how India was affected by the partition. The diversity and progress of the nation in regard to Muslims is emphasized. Shamsi also recommends a book on the subject. The origins of religion in India are discussed. The situation today for Muslims in India is then reconsidered.

Keywords: Books; Caste system; Congress; Devout; Diversity; Flexible; Hopeless; India; Medical school; Politicians; Schools

Subjects: Business; Culture; Education; Islam; Labor; Medicine; Muslims; Partition; Population; Poverty; Progress; Religion

00:53:02 - Saints and graveyards / marriage

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Partial Transcript: Um, one question I have is, in your family, the story that you told me about your family's conversion--

Segment Synopsis: Shamsi illustrates why he does not believe that saints are part of the Islamic tradition. Additionally, Shamsi explores the role of graveyards in Islam. The interviewee briefly talks of how he met his wife as well.

Keywords: Customs; Graves; Praying; Prophets; Wives

Subjects: Islam; Marriage; Monotheism; Muslims; Qurʼan; Saints