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Reply To: Seeking Answers


Hello Mars,

Such a good question, “ But back on earth, I’m puzzled a bit who and in what relation the involved Yousef is. Your brother cannot be blamed, let alone his age then, for the striking shift.”

I had not even thought of the cultural gap between my brother (includes all the siblings) except the parents. So, Yousef (Arabic version of Joseph) happened to be from Lucknow (India). A seat of Muslim education and culture since the early 1600s..

“Lucknow became important in 1528, when it was captured by Bābur, the first Mughal ruler of India. …

Today, it is a marketplace for agricultural products (mangoes, melons, and various grains are grown locally), and its industries include food processing, manufacturing, handicrafts, and railroad shops. Its population, which has grown dramatically since the late 20th century, surpassed that of Kanpur in the early 21st century to become the most-populous city in Uttar Pradesh.”

Lucknow contains notable examples of architecture. The Great Imāmbāṛā (1784) is a single-storied structure where Shīʿite Muslims assemble during the month of Muḥarram.

The Rumi Darwaza,   (Where poetry recitals took place) or Turkish Gate, was modeled (1784) on the Sublime Porte (Bab-i Hümayun) in Istanbul. The best-preserved monument is the Residency (1800), the scene of the defense by British troops during the Indian Mutiny. A memorial commemorating the Indians who died during the uprising was erected in 1957.”


“Historically, Lucknow was considered one of the great centres of Muslim culture.[161][162] Two poets, Mir Babar Ali Anis and Mirza Dabeer, became legendary exponents of a unique genre of Muslim elegiacal poetry called marsiya centred on Imam Husain’s supreme sacrifice in the Battle of Karbala, which is commemorated during the annual observance of Muharram.[163]

The revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil, who was hanged by the British at Gorakhpur jail, was largely influenced by the culture of Lucknow and remembered its name in his poetry.[164] Surrounding towns such as Kakori, Daryabad, Fatehpur, Barabanki, Rudauli, and Malihabad produced many eminent Urdu poets and litterateurs including Mohsin Kakorvi, Majaz, Khumar Barabankvi and Josh Malihabadi.[165]”

More on :

Essentially, Yousef grew up among the poets and scholars of Lucknow, and the partition of 1947, loss of livelihood and pension (if any) had brought him over to Pakistan. I was told that he left his home and all material possessions, and took a train to Pakistan, in search of  relatives and perchance a job. His presence at our door, that one night, was to pay his respects to my Uncle, who too was visiting us from Hyderabad India, and whom he had not seen in ages, although they both lived in India.

My brother and I were born in Punjab Pakistan, and the area we grew up in was surrounded by Pathans, Punjabis, Pushtoons, People from Gilgit,  Swat and Lahore. Our Anglo connections were the Convent schools and colleges, and so we had very little to do with the Muslim culture of Lucknow, and nor had my brother and I ever met Mr. Yousef.  A monumental cultural gap!! 

They say children learn the sign language very quickly while adults have great difficulty. Hand gestures fall in that category, I’d say.

Thank You Mars for taking me down memory lane with that one potent question of yours.

Shaahayda (in gratitude)