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Family chronicles

May 8, 2012

Jamal Kidwai tells the (continuing) story of the Partition through family memories:

As children we would invariably be divided into Pakistani and Hindustani groups. We would have long arguments about who would win the next war, whether Imran Khan was a better all-round cricketer than Kapil Dev; we would even divide ourselves into Indian and Pakistani teams when it came to playing cards, scrabble, cricket or antakshari. These competitions and arguments brought small but interesting victories. Like once when in the course of an argument, a Pakistani cousin pulled out a tube of Colgate toothpaste, a far slicker plastic tube than our usual Indian toothpaste which came in tin tubes and was easily rusted. He was taunting us about the quality of the toothpaste tube which, of course, proved how backward India was compared to Pakistan. At this point one of us from the Indian team noticed that ‘their’ tube had a mark ‘Made in India’. Nothing gave us more joy than that and the Pakistani team was not only defeated but was left embarrassed for the rest of the holidays. (Material wealth and consumer goods was one area where Pakistan, with its imported goods from the US, was far more ‘developed’ than India and it gave us great pleasure to puncture that aspiration.) [Read the full article.]

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