Chandan Patel

As Interviewed by Anushka Parag, March 22, 2017

Chandan Patel:In her Words

Why did your parents send you to India?
They sent me so that I could get a better education. My parents stayed back in Mozambique because they had a farm and a business. But then in 1962 there was a war where the natives took everyone else out of the country and they won. Everyone that was 16 years old or older had to join the army. Everyone thought that they would have to send their kids into the army but some people stayed. 20% of people stayed and 80% left.

Did you know that everyone was kicked out of Mozambique?
Yes, my dad wrote a letter to me in India. But the war didn’t happen in Mozambique. In fact 3 islands in India were part of the war. People thought, they will take us out today, they will take us out tomorrow, day after tomorrow. If I remember correctly they kept them there for 2 ˝ to 3 months. And also some of my friends that also left came on the steamer before them and told us that they were on the next one.

Did your parents leave everything back in Mozambique?
Yes, we left everything as it was in Mozambique. They left their car at the airport with the keys in it. You couldn’t take anything. You had to leave clothes and you couldn’t take much because they were on a steamer. We took some stuff like a bed but a very little amount.

How long were you in India before they came from Mozambique?
I went in 1959 then 60, 61, 62. Maybe April or March of 1962. Before school started, my dad enrolled us in a boarding school because 7th finish and after they kept us in a boarding school.

What town did you live in in India?
A town named Pardi. But after 7th grade was finished and high school started, I went to a boarding school in a town in India named Surat.

Did you ever visit India before you moved there?
Yes, they told me that when I was young they took me.