Samad Miah Iqbal

Samad Miah Iqbal

White Teeth

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About Him

Grew up… in Bangladesh, well-educated and proud. The great-grandson of war hero Mangal Pande, Samad expected to leave behind a similarly glorious legacy when the British Army drafted him to fight in World War II. Instead, Samad was assigned to an unglamorous post, serving with unambitious, mediocre men like Archie Jones.

Living… in London, to his great displeasure. In Samad's words, the city is, "cold, wet, miserable; terrible food, dreadful newspapers – who would want to stay?"

Profession… former scientist turned waiter. In Bangladesh, Samad was well-respected and well-off. In London, he might as well be any other immigrant on the street, working long shifts just to support his family.

Interests… Allah, respect, and tradition. A proud Muslim and Bengali citizen, Samad might be stuck in England with an Englishman (Archie Jones) for a best friend, but that doesn't stop him from trying to stay close to his culture. After all, "tradition was culture, and culture led to roots, and these were good, these were untainted principles."

Relationship Status… married to Alsana Begum, by arrangement and not choice. He doubts he would have married her otherwise. Despite her subservient appearance, Alsana is fiery, argumentative, and strong-willed enough to match her husband. Still, a marriage is a marriage, and despite their frequent fights, they've managed to raise two children together.

Challenge… maintaining tradition in this new, strange land. Moving to London has only intensified Samal's traditionalism, and he's determined to raising his sons as devout, upright Muslims. Unfortunately, Millat and Magid seem to have different plans about their future.

Personality… hot-headed, proud, and stubborn. Samad might like to boast about his past, but with ancestors like Pande, it's hard to blame him for being proud. This same pride, however, is also the source of much of Samad's irritability and sensitivity to criticism – all the more now since his own life has hardly turned out the way he wanted it to.

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