|Elderly Sikh Man Riding A Bicycle. |
Location: Amritsar, W. Punjab, India
Date taken: September 1946
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White
A Sardarji (Sikh man with his full regalia) comes up to the Pakistan border on his bike. He's got two large bags over his shoulders. The guard Iqbal stops him and says, what's in the bags?' 'Sand,' answered the Sardarji. Iqbal says, 'We'll just see about that. Get off the bike. Iqbal's guard takes the bags and rips them apart; empty them out and find nothing in them but sand.
He detains the Sardarji overnight and has the sand analyzed, only to discover that there is nothing but pure sand in the bags. Iqbal releases the Sardarji, puts the sand into new bags, heaves them on to the Sardarji's shoulders, and lets him cross the border.
A week later, the same thing happens. Iqbal asks, 'What have you got? 'Sand,' says the Sardarji. Iqbal does his thorough examination and discovers that the bags contain nothing but sand. He gives the sand back to the Sardarji, and crosses the border on his bike. This sequence of events is repeated every week for three years.
Then suddenly, the Sardarji doesn't show up and one day the guard meets him in a 'dhaba' (roadside food stall) in Lahore . 'Hey, Buddy,' says Iqbal, 'I know you are smuggling something. It's driving me crazy. It's all I think about...I haven’t had a decent night sleep in three years. Just between you and me, what are you smuggling?'
The Sardarji, sips his lassi (yoghurt drink) and says, 'bikes'. . . . . . . . . . . .