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An Indian Comrade In China

The Sarma family lived as natives in China at the height of the communist regime. Here’s their amazing story from the inside out

7/31/2014 10:25:20 AM
written By : Nithya Subramanian & Shobha Tsering Bhalla Print

Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister’s utopian ideology, Hindi-Chini bhai bhai was largely rhetoric with very little on-ground translation. But the Sarma family is amongst the few who have been able to bridge the divide and this was largely due to the family patriach, P V Sarma’s, political affiliations.

The family, which now consist of his wife Sarada (86) and four children, is unique – for they were brought up in China during the peak of the Communist regime. Not only are all the family members fluent in Mandarin, Sarada was instrumental in teaching Tamil to Chinese and also helped set up a Tamil News Service on Beijing’s international radio station.

But to know the family better, it is important to go back to the past. India Se spent a morning with the matriarch of the Sarma household, who now lives in Singapore along with her oldest son Ravi (60) and daughter Roopa. We walked down memory lane with these two family members to learn about their lives.

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