Once upon a time in India

Iggy by legendary Pink Floyd photographer Vic Singh, 2015.
Iggy by legendary Pink Floyd photographer Vic Singh, 2015.

The Times Of India, the oldest English-language newspaper in India, posted a follow-up article about Iggy’s Mizo roots. The first article was called Pink Floyd Muse Iggy 'the Inuit' had Mizo roots and can be found here: Iggy takes India by Storm #6.

For the follow-up journalist Chandrima Banerjee contacted Iggy's sister Elizabeth and none other than yours truly, the Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Elizabeth is planning to visit Mizoram and meet her family over there…

I’ve never been to India. I’m going to visit my relatives in Mizoram with my partner Rob next year, depending on the Covid-19 situation, obviously, I’m really buzzed about it.

Elizabeth also mentions a few things we didn’t know. Iggy was born in Rawalpindi (Pakistan), her brother Stephen in Dhaka (Bangladesh).

If you want to know what the Reverend had to say, you’ll need to consult Chandrima Banerjee’s article: Pink Floyd muse Iggy’s English & Mizo families to reunite after 60 years (URL: Times of India).

(Text version under the image.)

Pink Floyd muse Iggys English & Mizo families to reunite after 60 years
Pink Floyd muse Iggys English & Mizo families to reunite after 60 years.
Pink Floyd muse Iggy's English & Mizo families to reunite after 60 years.

(Text version)

Floyd muse Iggy's English & Mizo families to reunite after 60 years

Her name, Laldawngliani, was known only to a chosen few. She had not seen her family in faraway Mizoram since she was a child. And the few memories she had of the time she spent there were, perhaps, coloured by distance and imagination - like the time a cat in her garden she wanted to pet turned out to be a tiger. Evelyn "Iggy" Rose, counterculture cover girl of the London of the '60s, had locked away her link to India for as long as she lived. But now, brought together by a blog post, the English and Mizo families of Iggy Rose, who had been sundered apart for six decades by the Mizo rebellion, will finally meet.

"I don't know how to adequately describe what it's like to reconnect with my Mizo family. It's an amazing experience. This is a very emotional time for me," Elizabeth Joyce, Iggy's sister, told TOI. "I've never been to India. I'm going to visit my relatives in Mizoram with my partner Rob next year, depending on the Covid-19 situation, obviously. I'm really buzzed about it."

Elizabeth is 62 now, having retired after years documenting artefacts in museums. "Our parents met at the end of the Second World War, when our father was in the army and stationed in Mizoram — then, the Lushai Hills. He was a Major at the time. They have happy memories of that period in their lives. Father said it was a very beautiful and fascinating region. He seemed to have been struck by the remoteness of the place," said Elizabeth. She was born at Worthing, Sussex, in England and does not have a Mizo name. "Evelyn Laldawngliani was born in Rawalpindi (Pakistan) on 12 December, 1947. (Our brother) Stephen Lalungmuana was born in Dhaka (Bangladesh) in January 1949."

For about three weeks now, Mizo social media groups have been bustling with the "discovery" that the muse to Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett had roots in the hill state. The blog from which this emerged, 'The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit', had posted a single line about it in 2017, which someone from Mizoram chanced upon, posted on local social media and it blew up. Someone got in touch with the blog's author and it turned out Iggy's mother, Chawngpuii, was Mizo.

"Basically, this was confirmed to me by a family member, after Iggy had passed away. During her life, we just said she was from the Himalayas or Pakistan as we didn't have a more accurate description. Iggy had always been very discreet about her roots... Apparently the family was attacked during one of the disturbances and they had to flee the country. I don't know where and when this happened. Iggy's father was a British army man and as such a symbol of the oppressor ... Iggy was of the opinion that this wasn't something that should be known to the outside world," Felix Atagong, 61, who runs the blog, told TOI. "Iggy only spoke scarcely about India, but that was perhaps because she was a toddler when living there. There is only the anecdote how she wanted to pet the cat in the garden that actually was a tiger. But I'm not certain how truthful that story is. It's typically Iggy though."

The two sides of the family lost touch in the '60s. "After the Mizoram disturbance, we lost contact with them. Due to the insurgency, there was a lot of problem," Rosangzuala, 48, an extended family member, told TOI. "Six decades later, because of the internet, we found them."

Just as mysterious as her origin story was the coda to Iggy's '60s life. "For decades, nothing was known about her, apart from the fact that she was nicknamed Iggy the Eskimo and that she had been living with Syd for about two weeks. After the sleeve picture (on Barrett's debut album, 'The Madcap Laughs') had been taken, she disappeared out of his life and nobody knew what had become of her, after 1970," Atagong, who started his blog in 2008 and had been in touch with Iggy since 2010, said. But she didn't exactly disappear. "There was no social media in the '60s, so it appeared that Iggy simply vanished while she was literally just a few blocks away, socialising with people from underground circles - musicians, actors, photographers, movie makers. Unfortunately, this mostly stayed undocumented," he added. "After a while, the psychedelic free ride' days were over and in the mid-'70s, she looked for a job on a horse farm where she met her husband. They moved to a little village where she lived for the rest of her life."

An IT manager who started the blog for a lark, Felix, too, is now deeply invested in this family reunion. "I'm a geek who takes his Pink Floyd-Syd Barrett-Iggy the Eskimo fandom too seriously.... Since I was eight, I wanted to be a writer or a journalist like Tintin and I feel a blog is the exact medium for that. And from time to time it is really worthwhile, like now with the reunion of the Iggy family," he said. “I care more for this family reunion than for a new Pink Floyd record. I regard this as the most important event that happened on my blog, next to the discovery' of Iggy herself."

Many thanks to: Chandrima Banerjee and the Mizoram online community!
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥