S.M. Mehdi was surprised to see me, but agreed to answer my questions though he cautioned he could not be considered an expert on Aligarh. He told me, instead, of his experiences during partition as a Communist in Bombay. He worked for thirty years in the Soviet Embassy in New Delhi and has been a lifelong Communist.
In 2009, I spent five months living at the Aligarh Muslim University in the town of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. I was there to research the role and experience of Aligarh students in the movement for Pakistan during the 1940s. As part of this research, I actively sought out university employees and former students of the university from that period. I was referred to S.M. Mehdi through a chance encounter with a university official and arrived at his home without an appointment.
The death of Muammar al-Qaddafi and the end of his rule in Libya marks the end of an era. Our untiring colleague in International History, Jeremi Suri, blogs about the historical background.
“Took my wife, and Mercer, and Deb., to Bartholomew Fair, and there did see a ridiculous, obscene little stage-play, called “Marry Andrey.” While this may seem rather boring in content, it is extraordinary considering that Samuel Pepys originally wrote that in 1668. And now it is a tweet.
“In the Baggage Coach Ahead” is a great example of the sentimental ballads that became popular in the United States during the 1890s. The classic ballads were maudlin tearjerkers, narrative tales of lost love or dead mothers designed to pull at the heartstrings.
My own family hails from Aligarh, a city about 90 miles southeast of New Delhi and, as Muslims, opted to move to Pakistan. I was aware of this as a child, but because I grew up outside Pakistan, it was not until I began my research and had enough comfort speaking Urdu that I persuaded some of my elderly relatives to tell me their stories of the time of independence and partition.
I remember when we were in our old house, it was a big house, which is a big house with a big courtyard inside and a big garden outside. It was a big area. And we used to all sleep inside in the courtyard with all the beds laid out and mosquito nets and everything and one table fan for all of us because we used to be in a row, all the beds laid out.