A Partition story from Pakistan

My Father Syed Ali Mehdi Naqvi

Image and Narrative contributed by Waqar Ul Mulk Naqvi, Punjab Province, Pakistan

This is the only image of my Late father Syed Ali Mehdi Naqvi I possess. He was born in 1930 in a small district called Beed then in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. In 1960, when new states were created on the basis of linguistics, the Marathi dominant town of Beed became a part of Maharashtra.

My father graduated from Usmania University, Hyderabad (now Osmania) in Masters of Persian when he was only 18, in 1949.

My grandfather Hassan Naqvi was a lawyer with the High Court of the Nizam of Hyderabad at the time and also owned a lot of agricultural land in Pimpalwadi (District Beed, Now in Maharashtra). Agriculture was a big part of the family income.

When Partition of India and Pakistan was announced, my grandfather was still very optimistic that Hyderabad will be declared an independent state. The Nizam of Hyderabad was very adamant about that. But the Indian Government did not comply and the Nizam had to surrender in 1948.

With a lot of sorrow, and seeing no other option in a very precarious India, my grandparents along with their children were finally forced to join thousands of others and leave India in 1955. All of our assets, a house at Muhalla Qila as well as the cultivated agricultural land were left behind, abandoned.

They migrated to Karachi via Bombay on a ship. With our roots, and legacies all left behind, my family had to go through a lot of hurt, disillusionment and suffering. Consequences of which can be felt till today. In my family’s words “we were simply plucked and sent into a dark and dangerous journey to Pakistan with no home, no job or even land to call our own.” Many people along with them, never made it to the shores of Pakistan and many were killed right after they landed.

I feel great sorrow when I think about that. Now I work in a financial institution as a manager in a Punjab province of Pakistan with my mother and two siblings. In all these years, I have never stopped thinking about what could have been.

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This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Pramod

    i am Pramod Mandade from Latur (near by place to beed) . I am doing PhD on violence of Police action. I would love to get in touch with you know more .


    So many muslims stayed back in Inida ie Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gulbarga, and are doing well, but why your father and his family took the decision to leave India, very sad to hear the story, u did not get the equivalent money assets in pakistan for whatever you left behind

  3. anubha

    Partitions and displacements are always sad. One can blame any number of people but it serves no purpose. I have the most recent story to tell as a Kashmiri Pandit whose family, along with other Pandit families had to leave Srinagar in 1989-1990. We too left behind a beautiful, fully furnished house and the land of our ancestors.

    We too relive our past through some pictures…

  4. Ashok

    My maternal grandparents were from Laiya (Leiah/Layyah) District Muzzafargarh. They owned shops and were in business of sweet making (Halwai). I am interested to contact elderly people in Laiya and find out more about the city, its people and if by chance anybody knows about my grandparents, their home etc. so that I can compile the information and write a small book for my children and Laiya community

    Warm regards

    1. Sameer

      Hi Ashok
      My family was also from the same district in Pakistan and then moved to india.
      Their last names were Batra and Dhingra

  5. radha

    Naqviji, Sad to hear the history of your parents and your grandparents. I am no product of the Partition, yet I feel the pain of the people of the great sub-continent division. But you know, you can always visit your ancestral place and relive the history. Please do visit the village, and spend some time in the place and talk to the local people. I am hoping it will give you some kind of peace and a closure. I pray, wish and hope that future generations will get to live in Peace.

    1. Umar

      Radha G! I wish your government also reciprocate the same sentiments.

  6. Amna

    I’m pakistani and I wish India and Pakistan could never been separated

    Still I am saying that India and Pakistan is still united
    Feeling proud
    Hate that gora’s

    1. Radha

      Well said Amna, I have been pondering over that since my childhood after reading the Autobiography of Gandhi. It is politics that separated the Sub-Continent, not Religion. Funny, just yesterday I was thinking why we can not live in peace and why do we keep fighting like the Separation had happened yesterday. Hopefully one day, all the countries with in the Sub-Continent will get to live in Peace.

      1. Xaif Laghari

        Rahul u Might want to check out over the Congress Tyranny of 1937-1939.. If it werent for the torture By So Called Congress over the Muslims I Guess Partition would not hv been thw choice

  7. Shamal

    Its really very touching…….partition is the most haunted part of our freedom…….feeling very painful……

  8. Gargi

    Shame on us for letting our land get chopped up in pieces. Even more shameful that too many innocent lives were wasted because we started seeing our own people as enemies because of politicians who were only interested in their own personal agendas! I am really truly sorry for your loss! May God bless the souls of all those who perished during those dark times. Thank you for shedding light on the fact that partition did not end in 1947 but went on for years! I will never pretend to imagine what it must feel like but your account brought tears to my eyes.

  9. Ajay Bhardwaj

    I am sending you a link to an article on my partition film Rabba Hun
    Kee Kariye. It appeared on the website of the Hindustan Times on the
    14th August 2011. I was working on this film for a very long time and
    was still amazed by the way it finally shaped up.

    In the past 10 years that I have traversed the countryside of
    Ludhiana, Patiala, Mansa, Bathinda, Sangrur districts, among others,
    in Punjab for my documentaries I have invariably encountered people –
    mostly the Partition generation – mentioning the fate of those who
    perpetrated genocidal violence in 1947. Even after 60 years their
    memory of events is sharp, as if it happened yesterday.

    Moreover, they spontaneously conclude their conversations by
    describing how perpetrators of violence from their community had to
    pay for their misdeeds of 1947 in their own lifetimes. They have
    expressed their guilt and repentance in a language that is distinctly
    their own, in their unique cultural specific ways — a language often
    ignored by the portals of academia.
    Yet this seems the most powerful organic response of Punjabi people
    against the genocide of 1947 as against the silence of the state – one
    which holds out hope for the future.

    1. waqar ul mulk naqvi

      Dear Ajay Bhardwaj.

      Thank you for your kind consideration. now I am in 42y. wants to visit Distt BEED. Please help me if possible for you.

      Be happy always.

      waqar ul Mulk.
      Pakistan (Punjab) Distt Layyah.

      1. dilip raval

        The same untold story of my father who left every thing in Karachi and became from master to servant. He is at present 100 year old. Still remember hjis stay at Karachi, Ranachhodji Line. I am also intrested to visit my father’s land of action

      2. admin

        Hi Dilip, we would be so happy to receive a story and image from you, about your father. Might you consider it please?

      3. Pramod

        i am Pramod Mandade from Latur (near by place to beed) . I am doing PhD on violence of Police action. I would love to get in touch with you know more .
        Mail Id- pramodlatur@gmail.com

    2. Umar

      Hi, Ajay,
      I am from Pakistan and Punjab. I wanted to see the documentary “Rabba Hun Kee Kariyecan” but the link you gave was not working and ofcourse it is not available in Pakistan. Can you suggest how can one see it. Any working links…

  10. Sumanya

    truly moving as anything to do with partition always is. That is arguably the most shameful part of our history. Probably the worst part of it is the fact that what ever political discord we have in this region today can be traced back to partition.

  11. twilight fairy

    Both my grandfathers did the reverse.. migrated from what is now pakistan to Delhi in india.. and abandoned havelis, land, plentiful of currency and what not.. and I can’t stop thinking the same – what if the partition had never happened!

  12. austere

    I’m just so sorry.
    I can understand the hurt here, know what it feels like when you have only one photo to hold on to.

  13. shazia tamkeen

    we can not leave the feelings of being a part of area lost in partition.The scenario in which we are living might be different in which we are living now-without roots–i always feel sad………………..shazia tamkeen D/O Syed Ali Mehdi Naqvi

  14. M K Baig

    Well – India was and is a place very secured for Muslims and Urdu speaking. Presently and previously i heard from others that Pakistan treats the Migrant Muslims or for that matter all urdu speaking as Muhajirs. There were problems in the Telangana Villages for Muslims during the strugle, but not in Hyderabad. There is always problems in all over the world between Blacks and whites or muslims and hindus punjabis and sindhis or urdu speaking and punjabis. It is easy to advice but i donot know exactly what must have gone thru to your family when u took this decision.

    1. Samanth

      Dear Mr. Baig,

      I read your comment with interest…and I am guessing you belong to Hyderabad….can you narrate your experiences and views of the transition the Muslims had to make psychologically in 1948 when Hyderabad State became part of the Indian Union……


  15. Towards Harmony

    This is why I love this project! A touching story! Thank you Mr. Waqar Ul Mulk Naqvi

  16. Paromita

    This is so movingly narrated. It does have special resonance for me as I come from a very migratory family, where things have been repeatedly left behind or lost as people moved for different reasons – and because my father too came from Lahore to Delhi during Partition. But also this solitary, half-used, photograph, saved over the decades, bringing home to us a time when everything became scarce and unknown, the attestation reminding of a time when documentation acquired new meanings, is haunting, makes me feel the “what might have been” feeling, as perhaps few expertly taken images might…

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