tv Witness BBC News September 3, 2017 12:30am-1:01am BST
million displaced or homeless. more than 1,400 people have died across india, bangladesh and nepal, after torrential monsoon rains. donald trump is visiting the areas hit by storm system harvey. he has promised to seek nearly $8 billion in federal aid to help flood victims. the un says nearly 60,000 people from myanmar‘s rohingya minority have crossed into bangladesh in a week, as they flee a military crackdown. the north korean official news agency says the country has developed a more advanced nuclear weapon. it says kimjong—un has inspected a hydrogen bomb that is more powerful and can be loaded on an intercontinental ballistic missile. now on bbc news, it is time for witness. hello, i am lucy hockings.
welcome to witness, here at the british library in london. this month we have another five people who have witnessed extraordinary moments in history first—hand. we will be remembering a royal wedding injapan, a remarkable feat of engineering under the alps, and a new way of giving birth. but first, we are going back to august 1947, when india gained independence from britain and was split into two countries, mainly—hindu india and mainly—muslim pakistan. partition affected the lives of millions of families. mohammad amir mohammad khan's was one of them.
i am mohammad amir mohammad khan, known as sulaiman to family and friends, the raja of mahmudabad. i am from a muslim family which once ruled a very large feudal estate, including the beautiful a palace in mahmudabad in which we still live. but the indian government is laying claim to my property, saying that it is enemy property. no—one is paying for it, so these days, everything is crumbling. this dispute goes back to 1947. the partition of india into two states, a muslim majority state called pakistan, and a
hindu—majority state of india. it was estimated that a million people died, ten million people were displaced. some muslims went to the state of pakistan. many hindus came to india. it was not just the country that was divided. families were divided, too. in the late ‘50s, my father took pakistani nationality, and that is when my family's problems began, because when india and pakistan went to war in 1965, the government laid claim to our properties. there was an act of parliament called the enemy property act, which empowered the government to take over temporarily the properties of pakistanis. it was notjust our family
which was affected. thousands of families were affected. the properties are worth billions of dollars. but our issue is that only my father took pakistani nationality. i have always been an indian. my mother was always an indian. we had to fight our case from the lowest to the highest court, and in every court, we won. and the supreme courtjudge said that by no stretch of imagination could i be considered an enemy, and considered me the heir to my father's properties. but then, the government went
and changed the laws, and the battle has begun again. i suppose, like so many people in india and pakistan, we are still caught up in the repercussions of partition and the acrimonious relations between india and pakistan. in a way, i've been forced to live in the past. and, with apologies to yeats, ifeel as if i'm drowning in a beauty that has long since faded from this earth. mohammad amir mohammad khan there, speaking to us from his beautiful
family palace in uttar pradesh. next, to the summer of 1965, when a remarkable feat of engineering opened to the public. the mont blanc tunnel runs for 11 kilometres under the alps. franco cuaz worked on the project. a road tunnel under mont blanc. the dream of decades has come true and the paris—rome motorjourney is cut by 300 miles. to both france and italy this was an historic occasion. from here, this looks a pretty big hole, but when you think of the size of the mountain through which it's being driven, it's rather like trying to drive a needle through the granite foundations of edinburgh castle. franco cuaz is 91 now, and long retired, but he still lives near the mont blanc tunnel. now, in 1977, a state hospital
near paris began quietly changing the way that women gave birth. 0bstetrician dr michel 0dent believed that childbirth had become too medicalised. he wanted a more natural approach, so he introduced a pool to ease the pain of labour. there is something special about the relationship between human beings and water. as soon as it's lifted into the air, its lungs start to work normally. dr michel 0dent, obstetrician, this is his maternity unit, run according to his deeply felt beliefs about women and natural childbirth. the right place to give birth would be the right place to make love. when i arrived in 1962, the way women were giving birth
was the same as in any hospital, on a table, with legs in stirrups. but gradually, gradually, we reconsidered everything. we have introduced the concept of home—like birthing rooms, a small room, with no visible medical equipment, to help women to feel more at home in the hospital. at a time when they still have the vision of hospital as a place where you come when you are sick, or to die. 1:00am, and a young couple have driven 150 miles to have their first baby here, in an ordinary state hospital in northern france. by changing the environment, we have attracted more women
to our maternity unit, women coming from far away. and that's why i became an obstetrician. from 200 births a year, to 1,000 births a year. a pool to help mothers ease the pain of labour. babies are occasionally born underwater. we have painted the walls of the aquatic birthing room in blue, dolphins on the walls. many women in labour could not wait. they wanted to enter the birthing pool before it's full. they could not wait. the main objective was to break the vicious circle by replacing drugs. all medication, all drugs have side—effects. after being in the womb in warm fluid for nine months, the baby emerges happily
into the warm water with its life—support system from the mother still intact. i remember the visit we had with this british obstetrician. what do you think of the pool? well, i don't think we'd have room for it in our hospital. and i find dr 0dent's views about it a wonderful mixture of mysticism and scince. i don't think the word "mysticism" is appropriate. it's true that i tried to consider, in a scientific language, some emotional states. translation: it felt like a family atmosphere, very reassuring. it gave you confidence in yourself, and that is what i needed.
i was pleased when i heard women talking in a positive way about the birth of their babies. we have to learn from positive experiences, that is the way forward. michel 0dent now lives in london and birthing pools are widely available in hospitals. remember, you can watch witness every month on the bbc news channel, or you can catch up on over a thousand radio programmes in our online archive. just go to bbc.co.uk/witness. next, we're going back to august 1972 when the dictator idi amin ordered uganda's asian minority to leave the country, accusing them of sabotaging the economy. 80,000 people were forced to leave uganda, including gita watts. we had 90 days to sort everything out, to get out of the country
and he sort of made the impression that if we didn't get out on time, we'd be sitting on fire. it's estimated there are more than 12,000 towns and villages like this in uganda and in every one of them, the government is pressing its campaign against the asian traders. the asian community was really close—knit, all the asian shops enrolled together and we all knew each other. each family and all the kids knew each other. we weren't well off but we were comfortable. people started rushing to the embassies and my dad had to sign everything over.
that means his assets and his business over to the ugandan bank. we were given £55, that's all he was allowed to take with him. it was just unbelievable, you know, after everything that he earned, he was just left with £55. when we first got to the airport, people's luggage was opened and people had clothes thrown everywere to check for gold and money and, for some reason, my parents put a ring on my finger. we were told to get that ring off me because the ring was so tight we struggled to take it off. my parents tried everything to take this ring off. in the end, it was cut off. the scariest bit was that we had soldiers with guns and knives surrounding us. i was panicking trying to get this ring off. it was a relief that we had to go on this pkane
when the plane was taking off. my dad was probably thinking, you know, he got his family out of the country at last. but he was leaving back something that he really loved, the country that he loved. the asians arrived in cold wet weather at stansted, whole families arriving with little cash. the few belongings they brought often seemed of nothing more than sentimental. the time of the year we arrived was wintertime. that made it worse as well with the rain and the snow. i had not seen the snow before. we were scared because we didn't know where would we go. i mean, my mum was told to take us to leicester, a town called leicester, we didn't know what it was like, we didn't know any english when i grew up and went to secondary school i came through a lot of racial abuse from kids, you know, calling names and waiting for me outside school and wanting to like beat me up and not liking my colour. recently, we just
went back to uganda. i just wanted to see the country that i was born in and why my parents loved that country so much. it was nice to go back to the hospital where i was born. it really was an amazing experience. in all, 60,000 asians were expelled from uganda, nearly half settled in britain, including gita watts. finally we go back to 1959 and a ground—breaking royal wedding in japan. witness has been to tokyo to meet a tv director whose coverage of the tv event entranced the nation. so he marries a commoner, breaking tradition of over 200 years. the marriage ceremony, lasting 15 minutes, took place
of the imperial palace. there was no hint of any western influence in the wedding ritual. in robes such as the members of the imperial family have worn for centuries, the crown prince and his bride were made man and wife. burdened by no fewer than 12 kimonos, it took the princess three hours to dress. the total weight was 33lb. cheers accompanied them all the way as they proceeded on their drive through tokyo. that is all from us this month. i hope you willjoin us next month back here at the british library. we'll have five extraordinary accounts of hiss true through the eyes of people who were there. for now, from me and the rest of the team at witness, goodbye. hello.
most of us enjoyed some picture perfect weather to start the weekend on saturday. these are the pictures to prove it. broken cloud, lot of sunshine, pleasantly warm in the sunshine. there were just one or two sharp showers in parts of east anglia, the vast majority were dry. but if this was saturday's weather, this is sunday's weather, quite a change. cloudier for many, wetter for some. and as we go on through into the first part of sunday you can see where the rain has arrived. across northern ireland into western scotland, wales and much of south—west england, and it's notjust wet, it is windy too with some gales through the irish sea. some of the rain during the first part of the day will be on the heavy side as well, so really will be a grey and wet start to the day, whereas further east in complete contrast there will be some sunny
spells around although turning increasingly hazy quite quickly as we go through the morning, and the breeze will start to pick up as well. so an east—west split to begin the day. some of the heaviest rain will have moved through northern ireland at this stage although still in eastern counties, a bit more patchy in the west, and that rain edging into south—west scotland where it will be dry with some early sunshine in the east. now, this will try to move east through the day, but a very slow process, eventually it will encroach more to north—west england, the midlands and south—east england during the afternoon, but the further east you are, although the cloud increases, the breeze picks up, you could well stay dry until the evening and maybe a few hours beyond. could see 20 celsius with anywhere seeing the sunshine lasting longest, quite cool with the cloud and rain, only around 15 in places. could be worse. could be better but could be worse for the first stage of the tour of britain in edinburgh as that gets under way. looking at things on sunday evening, again some of the increasingly light
and patchy rain feeds further east, some spots will stay dry during the day with a lot of low cloud, coastal and hill fog down to the south and west of the uk. the weather system for monday has ground to a halt. it has left a lot of cloud across us on monday, really quite misty and murky to begin with with extensive coastal and hillfog, damp and drizzly in places. we'll see another weather system bringing more rain to parts of scotland and northern ireland during the day but brightening up in england and wales, quite muggy and given any sunny spells, it will feel quite warm. once we clear the rain away south—eastwards on tuesday, on tuesday and wednesday we're back into a brighter, showery weather picture where it's quite wet and windy for the end of the week. hello. this is bbc news. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: president trump arrives in the flood—hit state of louisiana to see the damage caused by hurricane harvey. earlier, he met survivors in houston, texas and helped
volunteers distribute aid. in south asia, catastrophic flooding has affected more than 45 million people and left 1,400 dead. we report from bihar, one of india's worst hit provinces. the water just the waterjust came crashing in here, sweeping away half the village, devastating their homes, devastating their lives. prosecutors in france step up the search for a nine—year—old girl who disappeared from a family wedding last week. two men detained for questioning have been released without charge. and — thousands set foot across scotland's new forth bridge, ahead of monday's official opening.