This is an oral history interview with Avtar Singh Jouhl, recorded between October 1991 - February 1992, as part of the Birmingham Black Oral History Project (BBOHP), discussing his life in India and the UK. Avtar lived in Punjab, India until 1958 when he left college and travelled to England hoping to continue his studies. He worked in foundries in Birmingham and joined the Indian Workers Association after experiencing inequalities in the workplace. He talks about his upbringing in rural Punjab, India, his involvement with Trade Unions and politics and his work and family life in Birmingham. These recordings include racially explicit content, including discussions of racism, prejudice and violence; and language and phrasing that we would not use today. Some of this content might be unsuitable for younger listeners or triggering for People of Colour. We recommend reading the description for each track before choosing to listen.
R1192 Track 01 Indian Districts and Languages (Continued) / About The Indian Workers Association Avtar talks about the different languages used between different groups in India and about who joined the IWA
Track 02 About The Indian Workers Association (Continued) Avtar talks about who joined the IWA and their reasons for joining
Track 03 About The Indian Workers Association (Continued) Avtar talks about the difficulties of recruiting younger members
Track 04 Charles Parker’s ‘The Great Divide’ Avtar talks about being interviewed by Charles Parker while he was researching for his play ‘The Great Divide’
Track 05 Charles Parker’s ‘The Great Divide’ (Continued) / Childhood Games Avtar talks about being interviewed by Charles Parker and being played by an actor on stage in ‘The Great Divide’ at the Banner Theatre. He then recalls his childhood and the games played by the children of his village.
Track 06 Childhood Games (Continued) Avtar talks about playing forms of marbles, village cricket and hockey
Track 07 Childhood Games (Continued) Avtar talks about traditions on Diwali night and the wrestling game Kabaddi
Track 08 The Gopia and Traditional Punjabi Folk Songs and Poetry Avtar talks about a device used to scare birds away from crop fields and about traditional Punjbai folk music
Track 09 Traditional Punjabi Folk Songs and Poetry (Continued) Avtar talks about traditional Punjabi music and poetry
Track 10 Traditional Punjabi Folk Songs and Poetry (Continued) Avtar talks about the subjects of traditional Punjabi music and poetry and the song mentioning Soho Road