The Last Burrah Sahibs

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Mar 20, 2014 / 0 comments

Have you ever wanted to time travel? If you’re not Dr. Who, then you have to rely on books, media, and your imagination. I’ve always been fascinated by life in other countries, at different periods of time. One such time that catches my eye is British Colonial life in India in the 1960s. Perhaps because my grandfather had a Fulbright and moved the entire family to India for a year, stories of growing up in India ring through our family history, from my mom to my aunts and uncles.


Luckily for us reading time-travelers, author Max Scratchmann (you will recognize him here on Wandering Educators and Journey to Scotland from our book review of Scotland for Beginners: Learning to live in the land of my fathers and as one of our featured Artists of the Month) has written a book that poignantly captures this lost period of time. The book? The Last Burrah Sahibs.


The Last Burrah Sahibs -


In the book, Max tells of growing up in Bangladesh (East Pakistan then); of finding friends and living through school; of trying, as all teens do, to grab hold of popular culture – this time from thousands of miles away; and of a culture that has long since disappeared.


Max’s father was a Jute Wallah, in charge of a jute factory that employed thousands. The family learned to live in the extremely hot climate, befriend and work alongside locals, and even hit up departing expats for a much-longed-for record player. Max writes compellingly of daily life here, and his sentences are as much beauty as memoir. His time in India and Bangladesh might seem like a dream sequence, as it was an almost idyllic time that influenced Max’s entire life. But, as with everything, there’s more to the story.


We caught up with Max, and asked a few questions. Here’s what he had to say…




While I’ve long loved Max’s art, and writing, this book is very special – a glimpse into life and culture that only exists in memory. Highly recommended!


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