Aide-Memoire 1943-1954: Boyhood in British India and Pakistan
Aide-Memoire is a vivid description of boyhood memories covering the period from 1943 to 1954 when the author had scattered experiences of living under British colonial rule and in independent Pakistan. Though of tender age, his sensitive mind faithfully registered events that he witnessed or were affected by in the course of living at different places. Some of the events he describes are historic and often painful reminders of human cruelty and folly, such as communal riots and partition of India. The author describes his experiences chronologically, making it appear as a historical account of the period. Relations between the Hindus and the Muslims in pre-partition Bengal, politics of Muslim League and Congress that led to the partition, language movement in 1952 that paved the way to the emergence of Bangladesh, the good and dark sides of colonial rule, old customs, traditional culture, changing lifestyle and other aspects of daily life have been touched, some in details, some in passing. Aide-Memoire is at its cheerful best when the author narrates the account of his travels across India and in former West Pakistan as a boy scout visiting places like Karachi, Mohenjo Daro, Peshawar, Khyber Pass, Lahore, Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. The author has aided his memory of the past with reading of relevant books and oral history heard from elders, which makes this more than a memoir.