When I visited Bahwalnagar in May 1975, I found little had changed. A new generation of goll guppa-wallas, chaat-wallas and paan-wallas had taken over the stalls in Railway Bazaar. It was still the direct route from the Railway Station to our house in the centre of the town, where we lived and I grew up. I had left the city at the age of nine, when my parents migrated to London. And I expected no one would know me. Indeed, they did not know me. But they recognised me: I was the returning grandson of Hakim Sahib.

Abdur Razziq Khan, known locally and affectionately simply as ‘Hakim Sahib’, was one of the most distinguished citizens of the town. I called him Nana. He hated the Raj and the British with equal measure. Not least because the British had outlawed his profession: hikmat, the traditional Islamic medicine. He looked after his mostly rural patients from his surgery, ‘Haziq Dawa Khana’, which was situated in the middle of Railway Bazaar. Everyone in Bahwalnagar knew him; and everyone knew that his grandson had come from England to visit him.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

Access our entire archive of 350+ articles from the world's leading writers on Islam.
Only £3.30/month, cancel anytime.


Already subscribed? Log in here.

Not convinced? Read this: why should I subscribe to Critical Muslim?

Elsewhere on Critical Muslim: