Kapil Dev got an opportunity to visit his ancestral village during his debut tour of Pakistan in 1978 © Getty Images
Aug 20, 2014
Kapil Dev opened up about his family origins and his connection with Pakistan, and about his off-field adventures during his debut series against Pakistan in 1978.
In a candid interview with The Dawn newspaper during the recently concluded India-England Test series, Kapil spoke about his family during the days of the partition. Kapil’s lived in Montgomery [modern-day Sahiwal in Pakistan] before moving to Chandigarh during the partition.
“My mother Raj Kumari was born in Pakpattan, in the town of the Sufi saint Baba Farid and father Ram Lal Nikhanj was from Dipalpur not far from Pakpattan. And they lived in Shah Yakka nearby which is now in Okara district Pakistan,” Kapil said.
Kapil then went on to talk about his debut tour of Pakistan in 1978 at the age of 19. He was asked by his mother to his ancestral village of Shah Yakka near Pakpattan. Escorted by a security cover that was provided to him, he met the residents of the hamlet who greeted him with utmost warmth.
It was the most moving moment for me listening from the locals about my parents and the family.
“I found the place and disclosed to the residents who I was and who my father and mother were. It was a moving experience as the elders of Shah Yakka gathered and welcomed me and told me stories of my father and his brothers. They also remembered my mother. They told me that my father was ‘Shararti’ [naughty] of the lot and like to go hunting.
“It was the most moving moment for me listening from the locals about my parents and the family. I was overcome by emotions as they showered their hospitality on me, showing such warmth and love that they had for my parents and family,” added the former all-rounder.
Kapil Dev, hailed as India’s greatest all-rounder and one of the greatest of all time alongside the likes of Imran Khan and Ian Botham, was born in Chandingarh where his family eventually migrated from Pakistan. He was educated at DAV School and received his early coaching in cricket from Desh Prem Azad, who greatly influenced his playing stlye and career. He is most famously remembered for leading the underrated Indian team to a victory in the 1983 World Cup final against the West Indies.