Currently Residing At: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Age in 1947: 20
Location in 1947: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India (did not migrate)
Interviewer: Zain Alam
Camera Person: Zain Alam
Archivist: Adity Tibrewala
Kishin Advani was born in 1927 in Karachi. His family lived in Lucknow, where his father worked at a drapers shop and as a manager of a cinema. His father later opened a bookstore in Hazratganj, Lucknow. The annual trips to Karachi were the highlight of his childhood. There, he spent time with his cousins, who were of similar age to him. He attended school in Lucknow from fifth standard onward, studying in Urdu and English. He was inspired to play cricket by his older brother who played on the state team of Uttar Pradesh.
Mr. Advani remembers the many shortages during the Second World War, in which clothing, food, and other goods were hard to come by. During this time, several of his teachers were called away for duty. The arrival of the postman brought much anxiety to him and his classmates for this reason. Of those who left to fight in the Second World War, two were killed in action. In the early months of 1947, Mr. Advani’s classmates began disappearing without prior notice. A few months before Partition was announced, many of his relatives migrated to Karachi. They took up residence with extended family, before moving to Mumbai.
Mr. Advani was halfway through his undergraduate program in science at the time of Partition, when the curriculum switched from Urdu and English to Hindi. He felt he would not pass his exams given his unfamiliarity with Hindi, in addition to the fact that he preferred cricket over his studies. He thus left the university in 1948 and joined the Air Force. There, he made lifelong friends from places all over South Asia.
This interview was conducted by Story Scholar Zain Alam.
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