Tales of Two Cities – Kuldip Nayar and Asif Noorani
In Tales of Two Cities, two eminent journalists – Kuldip Nayar and Asif Noorani – give their personal accounts of the Partition of India, the killings and massive migrations which it provoked and their subsequent impact on Indo-Pakistan relations.
As a young law graduate, Kuldip Nayar witnessed at first hand the collapse of trust between communities in Sialkot and was forced to migrate with his family to Delhi across the blood-stained plains of Punjab. He vividly describes his own perilous journey and his first job as a young journalist in an Urdu newspaper reporting on Gandhi’s assassination.
Asif Noorani, while still a schoolboy in Bombay, set off with his family by steamer across the Arabian Sea for the promised land of Pakistan, ultimately settling in Karachi. He gives his own compelling account of the difficulties faced by the new arrivals and the slow emergence of today’s megacity with its dominant Mohajir culture.
Both authors write with authority about their ancestral homes and their adopted cities, which have played so large a role in bilateral relations. This is a book about a trauma which transformed the subcontinent and still exerts a powerful influence today. These are personal narratives bringing to life a lost world of harmonious relations which each author in his own way is still to recreate.