Tuesday, December 28, 2010

K.L. Gauba

I came across the book "The Consequences of Pakistan", 1946,  by K.L. Gauba and was curious about the author.  Read about him here.

"Half-a-century ago, if the name of K L Gauba had been in any general knowledge examination paper, almost every candidate would have got the answer correct : eldest son of the banker millionaire and first Hindu minister of Punjab, Lala Harkishan Lal Gauba; barrister, author, politician; a man who took his religion and his women as it suited him; much censured and much reviled for whatever he did.
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What made Kanahya Lal Gauba the odd man out in every society is not very hard to guess. His father was the most distinguished and respected Punjabi of his times. K.L. , as he was popularly known, flouted social norms of the times, by going through a much publicised conversion to Islam almost entirely to hurt his father - as Mahatma Gandhi's son had done to him. He was careful to retain his initial identity and never used his new name Khalid Latif in full. As a convert, he won the hearts of Punjabi Muslims and cashed in on his popularity by winning an election to the Punjab Assembly from a purely Muslim constituency which included Lahore's notorious red light district, Hira Mandi, where he had been a familiar figure even before his conversion. Although he wrote a book on the life of the Prophet Mohammed, it was common knowledge that his conversion was 'naam ke vastey' and 'kaam ke vastey'."
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"On the partition of the country, Khalid Latif Gauba did not stay on in Muslim Pakistan but migrated to India with other Hindus and Sikhs. A few months later I ran into him in Simla. He had acquired a very lovely, young, burqa-clad Begum from Hyderabad. After some time the Hyderabadi Begum vanished and was replaced by another lady, and later yet another. K.L. settled down in Bombay but his practice never picked up. He moved from big to smaller apartments and then to a lodging house. He tried to add to his meagre income by writing articles and books. He churned out another scissors-and-paste job listing atrocities committed against Indian Muslims which, though entirely unauthenticated, provided plenty of propaganda fodder to Pakistan. K.L. gradually sank into poverty and spent his last years living on the charity of his step-brother, M L Gauba and his generous-hearted Sindhi wife, Gopi."

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