Cracking India Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Cracking India.
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Cracking India Summary & Study Guide Description

Cracking India Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Cracking India by .

The following version of the book was used to create this study guide: Sidhwa, Bapsi. Cracking India. Milkweed Editions, 2006. Reprint.

The novel begins in Lahore during World War II. In Chapter One, Lenny has a cast on her leg due to polio and enjoys spending time with her ayah, whom she and the novel simply call Ayah. Lenny often goes with Ayah to sit in the park by Queen Victoria’s statue; there, she observes Ayah’s relationships with her many male admirers, who come from all kinds of religious and social backgrounds. Lenny’s brother Adi is born, and the family celebrates British victory in World War II through a Parsee religious service.

Ayah describes some of the other people in the household, including Papoo, the sweeper’s daughter who is routinely abused by her mother. She also describes Imam Din, and goes with him to his village 40 miles outside Lahore. Back at home, Lenny and her brother eavesdrop on a dinner party where the adults discuss Gandhi and the possibility of an independent India. Lenny goes with her mother to see Gandhi, who is visiting Lahore. One day, Imam Din’s family arrives in Lahore, saying that they have been told by the Indian military to evacuate and move to Pakistan.

The family’s ground staff chases after Hari, the gardener, and succeeds in ripping off his dhoti, or loincloth. Ayah is spending more time with Masseur, one of her suitors. One day Lenny, upset by the discussions around the creation of Pakistan, rips one of her dolls down the seam. In Chapter 17, around Lenny’s birthday, the creation of Pakistan is announced. Many of the Hindu and Sikh families leave the neighborhood, while others convert either to Islam or Christianity. Millions of Muslim refugees arrive in the city. Papoo is married off to a middle-aged man. When a mob swarms the house demanding all non-Muslims, Lenny inadvertently reveals Ayah’s hiding place. Ice-candy Man, one of her admirers, carries her off.

The family gets a new ayah, named Hamida. Hamida once lived in the rehabilitation center for refugee women next door. Meanwhile, the narrative presents Imam Din’s great-grandson’s story of his escape from India to Lahore. Lenny is confused by the meaning of the term, “fallen woman.”

Lenny and her cousin are convinced they keep seeing Ayah everywhere. One day, they learn that Ayah is living, possibly as a prostitute, with Ice-candy Man in the red light district. Lenny and her godmother, who she calls Godmother, go to visit her and Ice-candy Man, who is now her husband. Ice-candy Man defends himself as a poet and his relationship with Ayah. Godmother promises to help Ayah get away from Ice-candy Man and to be returned to her family. She sends in the police to take Ayah, who is then delivered to the rehabilitation center next door. Ayah refuses to visit them as she is ashamed. Ice-candy Man patrols the road outside where Ayah is living, until one day she is sent back to her family. When Ayah leaves, Ice-candy Man leaves Lahore as well.

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This section contains 522 words
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