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Love and longing in Ahmedabad

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    Love and longing in Ahmedabad

    http://www.the-week.com/21jul22/life2.htm

    Love and longing in Ahmedabad
    Living: Cross-border couples dream
    of seeing India and Pakistan unite

    Anosh Malekar

    Quamarjehan and Mohsin Shaikh, it appears, were destined to meet and marry. She is his 'moonlight' from Pakistan and he her 'true friend' in India. "Our names literally mean that," says Quamarjehan, who met Mohsin, a fine arts graduate, at her maternal uncle's house in Ahmedabad in 1980. It was one of those rare visits. Her mother, who had left behind everything in Ahmedabad to be with her husband in Karachi after the Partition, was keen that her only daughter marry in India. The marriage was conducted by her uncle.

    Bound by destiny: Quamarjehan and Mohsin
    Shaikh with their son Sufyan (below); Parvez and Shahnaz Kadiwala with son Nasiruddin

    Quamarjehan, who studied Urdu literature in Karachi, today runs a beauty parlour in Ahmedabad. "She has been my constant companion for the past 20 years, and now I cannot think of a life without her," says Mohsin. Quamarjehan has a long list of friends and 'rakhi' brothers on either side of the border. "I like it here," she says. "The people here are open-hearted. And they love it when I speak in Urdu." Mohsin has visited Karachi a couple of times. "They were always very keen to know about India," he says. "For me Karachi is no different from Mumbai."

    Same is the case with Shahnaz and Parvez Kadiwala. When their parents got them engaged in 1987, Shahnaz Ghogawalla was still a student at Karachi University and Parvez had just joined All India Radio in Baroda. They exchanged love letters. She wrote in chaste Urdu and he in Hindi, tinged with Gujarati. "But we used the English script to understand each other better," says Parvez. They married in Ahmedabad on January 23, 1993, when the city was under curfew in the wake of communal riots triggered by the demolition of the Babri Masjid in UP. They belong to the minuscule Sunnat Jamaat Quam-e-Bawahir business community seen mostly in Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Karachi has about 225 families and Lahore a handful. Cross-border marriages are, therefore, common, says Shahnaz, whose sister is also married in India. The Ghogawallas were originally from Ahmedabad. They moved to Karachi after the Partition since they had major business interests there. But her father always wanted his daughters to marry and settle in Ahmedabad.

    "Initially I thought life would be completely different here. But it turned out to be the same culture," says Shahnaz. The Partition may have raised some walls between the two nations, "but it cannot stop us," she says.

    They would like to ensure that their seven-year-old son, Nasiruddin, has equal exposure to Ahmedabad and Karachi. The family could, however, visit Karachi only twice because of strict and lengthy visa procedures followed by both the countries. But this is not the only thing troubling cross-border couples.

    When a controversy erupted over the recent film Gadar portraying the Partition, Quamarjehan and Mohsin took time off to see the film, but found nothing offending in it. "The only scene that really scared me was when the character played by Amisha Patel is separated from her husband and child," says Quamarjehan. "God, I shiver at the very thought of it. Mohsin and our son, Sufyan, mean everything to me in life. I belong where they belong!"

    They dream of India and Pakistan becoming one nation. "The two-nation theory may have been created out of political compulsions," says Quamarjehan. "But, we know there is a lot in common between us, the people!" Love and longing keep reuniting the families, despite the ugly word Partition.



    #2
    Insipid story.Only written b/c of Ghadar & musharaff in the news for Agra summit.There are atleast thousands of marriage across the border ,spl. among Mohajir as these cases b/c 1/2 of there eligible boys & girls are across the border.These are not Love marriage but typical marriage into your own khandan.

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