Ruskin Bond

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How does "The Kite Maker" depict the past as different from the present?

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In “The Kite Maker,” the past is shown as very different from the present in terms of personal relationships, the social system, and nationhood. Mehmood is a grandfather who reminisces about his former occupation being the kite maker of the title. In the hierarchical social system, now abolished, he worked for the local chief, or nawab. They lived in a large British colony that has now been partitioned into India and Pakistan.

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Ruskin Bond’s story “The Kite Maker” presents the differences between past and present in rural India primarily through the nostalgic recollections of an elderly man. Sitting under a tree while his grandson flies a kite, Mehmood reminisces about village life when he was a young man. The story’s title is derived from Mehmood’s former profession. He recalls that life was leisurely and people had time to fly kites. The village also had more open space suitable for that activity.

The local social system in those days was apparently based in a fixed structure, with the village chief at its head. Mehmood fondly recalls working directly for this chief, called the nawab, providing him with fancy kites that were too complicated even to fly.

In the bygone days that Mehmood recalls, the village was part of a large British colony. What was then India included the contemporary countries of India and Pakistan. Mehmood’s musings include missing one of his sons, who remained in Pakistan after Partition. He expresses his gratitude that his other son has remained in India and that this gives him the opportunity to spend time with his grandson. Kite making now seems an unusual activity, and Mehmood appreciates the chance to share it with Ali.

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