Early in my career, soon after graduating, I learned that a St Andrews University classmate had joined Reuters News Agency and been posted to India. I was reporting at that time from the industrial town of Wigan for the Lancashire Evening Post. I liked Wigan and learned much while living there that I continue to value – but I did think India would be more exciting.

I immediately applied to Reuters, was hired and two years later succeeded my classmate in New Delhi. I saw it as a huge privilege. Everything I knew about India seemed magical and thrilling – the heat, the scents, the people, the exotic cultures, the epic history, the food, the cricket, the exquisite wildlife. Shortly after I arrived, war broke out on India’s eastern border as the Bengali people of East Pakistan rose up against the country’s Punjabi rulers in West Pakistan. Within a short time some ten million people fled as refugees across the border from East Pakistan into India. Many died from cholera. India declared war on Pakistan, which eventually surrendered. East Pakistan seceded and became the independent state of Bangladesh. Some 80,000 Pakistan Army soldiers were taken as prisoners of war by India.

In October 1973 I was sent to Damascus after Egyptian and Syrian forces launched an attack
on the state of Israel in what became the Yom Kippur War...

Read the full story here. About me.doc

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