Monday, November 21, 2005
My grandfather, Santokh Singh Narang, passed away. He was my maternal grandfather ("Nanaji"), though we called him Daddyji.
Like many other Punjabi Sikhs, he came over from Pakistan at the time of Partition, settling in Delhi. My mother was born in Delhi, along with three sisters and a brother.
It's a tribute to Daddyji's progressive thinking that he made sure all four of his daughters received first-class educations, at a time when that was far from common for a traditional Punjabi patriarch. It is especially impressive, because he did it on an Indian government salary, which in those days was far from sufficient for raising five children and educating them in English-medium schools.
My mother became a doctor, her brother an engineer, and her three sisters are all teachers. Interestingly, their children -- my cousins in India (and abroad) -- are all successful over-achievers, many of them IIT and IIM-A graduates.
Daddyji worked for the Indian government in the tax department, until he retired in the mid 1980s. The center of the family then moved to Chandigarh when my uncle got a job there (and Daddyji had little stomach for staying in Delhi after 1984).
Daddyji passed away in Chandigarh this past weekend of various health problems; he will be missed.