Wakefield surgeon who fled for his life when India was split in two publishes second book

A retired Wakefield surgeon who almost lost an arm as a boy has published the second volume of his memoirs.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 1:22 pm
The front cover of Sat Mehta's latest book

Sat Mehta was born in India but, with the coming of partition, his wealthy Hindu family had to flee for their lives from newly created Pakistan.

From being wheat farmers on a 60,000 acre farm, the family of seven became destitute overnight.

They spent four days and nights crammed together on a train, the threat of being thrown off or killed ever-present.

Retired surgeon Sat Mehta who has written the second volume of his autobiography.

The family moved in with an uncle in the coal-mining town of Jharia in India. They were forced to move again, this time to Delhi as Jharia was split down the middle: half was in East Pakistan, the rest in India.

Sat fell down some stairs and crushed his arm so badly it was scheduled to be amputated.

His arm was saved by Professor Robert Roaf, an English surgeon visiting India at the time – and this inspired him to train as a surgeon.

He told this part of his life in his first book Flying with a Broken Wing which was published in 2012.

Now he has written Dare to Fly, which covers his life after emigrating to England in 1966. And he says: “It’s just as exciting”.

He tells of being trapped in a house by a violent drug addict who was later convicted of murder; of the man who walked into his hospital with a breadknife through his neck after a failed suicide attempt; of the little girl being treated for asthma who had actually swallowed a clothes peg; and of the man whose dripping nose was really caused by brain damage.

And there is comedy too. One story is of a man who had already fathered 32 children and managed to father the third in a hospital ward while the curtains round his bed were drawn!

Sat met Kate, a theatre nurse at a hospital in Nottingham, and they were married in 1970. The couple have four children and five grandchildren.

He became an ear, nose and throat consultant at Barnsley District Hospital where he worked for 23 years.

Sat says: “I took England to my heart and this country adopted and embraced me. The heroes of my book are my family, friends, patients and professional

colleagues. It has been a fascinating life.”

Dare to Fly by Sat Mehta, £9.99 paperback, ISBN 978-0-9933729-8-8,

available from Darling Reads, 17 High Street, Horbury, Wakefield WF4

5AB.