Sanjeev Arora's forefathers were farmers in Jampur (Dera Ghazi Khan) who turned to bookselling in the 1920s when a relative named Narendar interacted with British officials ruling the country at the time and observed their keen interest in reading. He went to England, learned the bookselling trade and opened bookstalls in every cantonment and railway station, beginning in Quetta. Every boy in the family upon passing his matric exams would apprentice at Narendarji’s bookshop and was then handed a franchise to operate independently. My father, Arjun, also took a similar route."
“He often shared anecdotes about his life in Jampur, including taking a dip in the river and kushti [wrestling] matches. But then came Partition and my father and his relatives in the bookselling trade abandoned their shops and left for India with their families, thinking they would return soon.” Refugee camps set up in the Purana Qila or Old Fort in Delhi were their initial abode. The bogies carrying their personal belongings and bookshop articles were looted. “Everyone had to turn the page,” says Sanjeev.