5 noted personalities who left Pakistan for India

Published: June 2, 2015

On May 21, The Economic Times reported that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led national government had granted Indian citizenship to thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans fleeing persecution in their homelands over the past year. In the wake of this development, The Express Tribune presents a list of five luminaries who chose India over Pakistan.

5. Begum Para 

Begum Para, the one-time siren of the Hindi film industry, moved to Pakistan following the death of her husband Nasir Khan. She migrated to the nation in 1975 only to relocate back to India two years later, finding it arduous to adjust in. She last appeared in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya (2007). Para died in 2008.

Source: Khushwant Singh, Khushwant Singh on Women


4. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan 

Noted vocalist Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan returned to India after moving to Pakistan in the wake of the partition. “If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music, this country would have never been partitioned,” he had once remarked. Khan acquired Indian citizenship in 1957. He passed away on April 25, 1968.

Source: Nikhat Ekbal, Great Muslims of Undivided India


3. Jogendra Nath Mandal 

Jogendra Nath Mandal, the nation’s first labour and law minister, was a leader of the Scheduled Castes and an ally of the Muslim League. He moved back to India after witnessing the step-motherly conduct of the Pakistani state towards its Hindu citizens.


2. Sahir Ludhianvi 

Celebrated Urdu poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi was compelled to flee Pakistan after the government issued his arrest warrants. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971. Ludhiavi died in 1980.

Source: Mir Ali Raza, The Poetry of ‘No

1. Qurratulain Hyder 

Qurratulain Hyder, the grand dame of Urdu literature, had to leave Pakistan following the publication of her magnum opus Aag ka Darya. Hyder, a recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Academi and the Jnanpith awards, was awarded the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan by the Indian government in recognition of her meritorious contribution to literature. She died in 2007.

*The Express Tribune does not claim any rights or ownership to the pictures that have been used in this article. 

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Reader Comments (49)

  • Babloo
    Jun 2, 2015 - 7:46PM

    Thanks Tribune for this news story.
    One news story that is grossly under-reported in Pakistan is the tragic fate of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan from 22% of population of W Pakistan in 1947 to 1% today.
    You have to just contrast it with muslim population % in India since 1947 to see the stark and himalayan difference.

    You can read an acccount for yourself of how it was done by reading the resignation letter of Mr Joginder Nath Mondal, the 1st labour minister of Independent Pakistan. You can google and read his resignation letter to Liaqat Ali Khan on the web. Caution . You may cry when you read it.Recommend

  • Anon
    Jun 2, 2015 - 9:16PM

    More efforts by Tribune to kick a country when its down… well done!Recommend

  • Oats
    Jun 2, 2015 - 10:02PM

    I am interested to now how many of these people who left were native Pakistanis. I can see that some folks migrated from India to Pakistan and then returned to India where they probably felt more at home. This article would be more interesting if it mentioned native Pashtuns, Baluch, Sindis, Kashmiris or Punjabis moving to India. I do feel sad to hear of the departure of Joginder Nath Mondal but the others probably just returned to their families in India.Recommend

  • hzr
    Jun 2, 2015 - 10:04PM

    Given an option most Pakistanis would no mind going to India!Recommend

  • Jun 2, 2015 - 11:13PM

    Humans? Even Pakistan Pigeons are migrating to India these days!

  • Babloo
    Jun 2, 2015 - 11:28PM

    If I could, I would award the Noble Prize for poetry/literature to lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi .Recommend

  • NK
    Jun 2, 2015 - 11:36PM

    Instead of questioning the sources, whether these people made the right decision, whether they were originally from pakistan or from India, etc etc, why can’t we as a nation accept that something happened, and instead of hiding under excuses, try to understand WHY people did what they did.

    Clearly either these people did not feel safe in Pakistan. They might have felt discriminated against. they might have just thought india was better than pakistan. they might have had the foresight to see how the initial vision of pakistan was being overtaken by religious extremism in order to win politics. maybe it was US that caused them to move.

    We as a nation have perfected the art of denial. Everything is someone elses fault. its never us. This isn’t just about people going to india. we just hate india the most. thousands of people migrate to england and america every year. why do you think that is?? We should look at what these causes are and make ourselves better. Lets not blame our politicians. lets fix ourselves. if each of us made the decision one day to practice what we preach, to hate less, love more, to be more accepting, to reject violence and extemism, to be better drivers, to break fewer traffic rules, and make sure we feel we are not above the law, our country would be a better place overnight. but instead of each of us fixing just one person, US, we expect a handful of politicians to take the responsibility of fixing 180 million people. Recommend

  • S
    Jun 3, 2015 - 12:22AM

    No way. India has nothing to offer to us. We are fine here. Thank you.Recommend

  • MK
    Jun 3, 2015 - 12:48AM


    Your numbers are wrong my friend. West Pakistan (Modern day Pakistan) had Hindu population of 2% in 1951, and percentage is still the same in 2015. Majority of the Hindus in United Pakistan lived in East Pakistan (Bangladesh), and percentages changed in 1971, not absolute numbers..Recommend

  • chengez k
    Jun 3, 2015 - 12:48AM

    List of those who left India for Pakistan

    20 Crore Pakistani’s + 16 crore Bengalis in Bangla DeshRecommend

  • Hella
    Jun 3, 2015 - 1:00AM

    One more addition to this list is the father of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who migrated from Pakistan to India during partition itself. Despite being a Muslim, he migrated in the reverse direction to most Muslims.Recommend

  • Abacus
    Jun 3, 2015 - 1:19AM


    “try to understand WHY people did what they did” – have you not been keeping up with the news? All your leaders have been spouting it for weeks – it’s because of RAW! Recommend

  • Minerva
    Jun 3, 2015 - 1:21AM

    The timeless genius Sahir Ludhianvi! Every time I listen to his poetry, I am in awe of his ability to translate myriad human emotions into words. Hindi film music was forever enriched by him. Recommend

  • nuzhat shireen
    Jun 3, 2015 - 1:28AM

    there is slight difference between the living standard of people of two countries.youth of both two countries are looking dreams of west countries.Recommend

  • N.S
    Jun 3, 2015 - 2:10AM

    There were close to nine million Indians who migrated to Pakistan after partition…still going on. I can count many dozens famous Indian Muslims who migrated to Pakistan at partition and even later on.
    Certainly these 5 people migrating to India is news as it is rare…but there are tens of thousands of stories of People migrating to Pakistan at their will…the number is so huge it doesn’t make any unique story. Recommend

  • Syed
    Jun 3, 2015 - 3:03AM

    So what? Who cares…Recommend

  • miristan
    Jun 3, 2015 - 6:01AM

    Good riddance. Tarsh of pakistan is Gold of India.Recommend

  • Mahesh
    Jun 3, 2015 - 7:05AM

    Friend, just speak for yourself. The rest of the Pakistanis must be tired of dodging suicide bombers and they are ready to move anyplace they can.Recommend

  • kdp
    Jun 3, 2015 - 7:27AM


    You did not name any of those famous Muslims. Madam Noorjahan comes to mindRecommend

  • ask
    Jun 3, 2015 - 8:37AM

    Insightful are Begum Para’s words (excerpted from “Outlook” Indian magazine, May 28, 1997):- “Muslims there (Pakistan) are acculturised very different from Muslims here (India)..They are too contrived. We’re more down to earth here. Too many taboos about what women can or cannot do, should or shouldn’t say, wear or not wear… All the while the men do exactly as they please. Including divorcing at will, remarrying at pleasure. Sure, it’s the same for women everywhere. Just that the difference get underlined there…… My one sharp memory of the country I adopted for exactly two years and eight months? It’s of my exchange with an obnoxious boisterous Pakistani man at a party. “We’re going to invade your country,” he thundered. “Not..likely,” I assured him. “The state I live in is larger than the country you live in”. Excessive response, maybe, but I was getting tired of being defensive about being Indian.” Recommend

  • James
    Jun 3, 2015 - 8:47AM

    Your forget another name who is trying hard to obtain Indian citizenship……………Adnan Sami..Recommend

  • Lalit
    Jun 3, 2015 - 9:24AM

    who says the migration was one sided only ? revered personalities like Syed Salahuddin and Dawood Ibrahim left India to reside in Pakistan also.Recommend

  • Faizan Maqbool
    Jun 3, 2015 - 9:52AM

    @Anon: The country is “down” in part for the very reason these people felt compelled to leave ! Recommend

  • Faizan Maqbool
    Jun 3, 2015 - 9:54AM

    @S: Right, now go fill your belly with chicken chapattis on Food Street, since there is nothing to engage your brain !Recommend

  • Hammad
    Jun 3, 2015 - 10:46AM

    Oh… i wish this list could also include so many of my relatives who have been migrating from india to Pakistan since many years.. Alhamdolillah almost all of my family relatives now have migrated to Karachi. The latest family that migrated to Pakistan from Dehli is my Chacha’s family, 3 daughters and 1 son. They are more than happy and can feel the power and joy of independence and freshness. They feel like home and they do feel their daughters are now safe as when they were in India. No offence please.Recommend

  • Prakash
    Jun 3, 2015 - 11:31AM

    @chengez k:
    List of those who left India for Pakistan
    20 Crore Pakistani’s + 16 crore Bengalis in Bangla Desh

    Out of these 36 crores:
    1. How many were already in those areas, and had no option but to stay put and become part of Pakistan? Ans: Most all of them.
    2. How many had the option of moving from India to Pakistan, but couldn’t care less? Ans: About 20 crore Muslim population of India
    3. How many of those who did leave for Pakistan did so willingly, and not because Partition created circumstances where they had to either flee their homes or perish? Ans: Most all of the Mohajirs
    4. How many actually left willingly for Pakistan? Someone please do the math and let me know.Recommend

  • nadeem
    Jun 3, 2015 - 11:59AM

    I think that another 100 years or so need to pass before the partition of 1947 will reach a point where the separation is complete in every aspect: social, cultural, familial, genetic, economic, and political. Those who switched sides in the first few decades don’t count, not even those who might want to switch sides today, 68 years down the road. The tectonic shift of ‘Partition’ is still taking place and will continue to take place for the next few generations. A time will then come – probably after a century – that migration from Pakistan to India will be just as psychologically inconceivable as migration to Iran, or to China, or to Afghanistan. Recommend

  • Ques
    Jun 3, 2015 - 12:23PM

    @for native pakistanis still leaving for India, ease refer to ET article below.


    Please share any such article about Indian muslims leaving for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jun 3, 2015 - 12:57PM

    @chengez k:
    List of those who left India for Pakistan
    20 Crore Pakistani’s + 16 crore Bengalis in Bangla Desh

    In 1950 Pakistan’s population was 50 Million i.e 5 Crores. So if 200 million (20 crore) moved to Pakistan from India in 1947 then did you kill at least 150 million (15 crores) people between 1947 and 1950? Even now the population is just reaching 20 crore in 2014 after a four fold growth since 1950.

    It must have been a true genocide if you ate up 150 million people who moved to Pakistan from India, but then logical facts have never been Pakistanis forteRecommend

  • Someone
    Jun 3, 2015 - 1:05PM

    What about Shoib Aktar, Adnan Sami – these guys have literally escaped from Pakistan.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jun 3, 2015 - 2:06PM

    The partition is complete for every Indian. We are happy it happened, Pakistanis cannot live with anyone including themselvesRecommend

  • Mazo
    Jun 3, 2015 - 2:49PM

    @chengez k:
    Bengal was divided along Hindu and Muslim lines by the British Raj – not during partition. Why are Pakistanis always so poorly educated about the subcontinent’s history ? Recommend

  • saeed
    Jun 3, 2015 - 5:19PM

    What’s the big fuss? People should be free to move anywhere they like and anywhere they find solace and serenity. One place could be good for one person and unfortunate for other. The only bad thing if people are leaving their homes because of persecution.Recommend

  • ask
    Jun 3, 2015 - 5:31PM

    Migrations will stop in future as you say; or, even increase, if Subcontinent shrinks or barriers develop chinks. But, at no point would it be possible for Pakistanis to think of India on same lines as China, Afghanistan or Iran. Not so long as the five rivers flow from east to west, Urdu is spoken or Khushrow & Ghalib, Gol Gumbaz & Taj, Lucknawi etiquette & Malihabadi mangoes remain in the inherited collective consciousness of the cultured among the Pakistanis.

    May no one put together those that have been pulled asunder, and I say Amen to that, but the shared past of Subcontinent shall continue to merge in myriad ways with its future. Recommend

  • C M Naim
    Jun 3, 2015 - 6:20PM

    Ms Hyder did move to India, but she first moved from Pakistan to England, and it was job related. The move to India was at the behest of her mother. No doubt, she flourished in Bombay and New Delhi, and most likely was quite happy about not continuing on in Karachi. But she always made it clear in conversations and in writing that her move to India was not a political move, nor was it dictated by some threat or crisis.
    Another matter she always clarified was the one blank page in her magnum opus, Aag ka Dariya, That was not due to any censorship. She had left it blank deliberately, not wishing to write literally about the bloodshed and other horrors of the Partition Recommend

  • Nazar R.Rathore
    Jun 3, 2015 - 10:08PM

    Thousands of indians mostly in karachi living illegally paying money to police and nadra. What about them?Recommend

  • Rex Major
    Jun 4, 2015 - 1:44AM

    @Nazar R.Rathore:
    “Thousands of indians mostly in karachi living illegally paying money to police and nadra. What about them?”

    I guess if you do hear rumors, you create them don’t you?
    Who has been telling you this?
    Gen. R. Sharif or the ISPR?Recommend

  • ISROFan
    Jun 4, 2015 - 1:52AM

    Pakistan, can you please give us Dr.Pervez Hoodbhoy too? Also Dr. Abdus Salam albeit posthumously?Recommend

  • ISROFan
    Jun 4, 2015 - 1:53AM

    You can have our Rakhi Sawant and Rahul Gandhi and his mum in return for Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jun 4, 2015 - 1:03PM

    Would be interesting to see how many prominent Indians left India for Pakistan post 1950.

    The solid foundation of secular nature of Indian polity is exemplified by how Muslims who stayed in India didn’t migrate away from India to Pakistan. It is also evident in the way the percentile growth of Muslim population of India.

    It would also be very instructive to know how many J&K Muslims would prefer to be part of Pakistan as versus India (if the choice of independence wasn’t available).Recommend

  • goodDeedsLeadTo
    Jun 4, 2015 - 5:47PM

    Two wrongs do not make it right, I agree, If Pakistan did it,, then Pakistan is wrong, it must not do it. Islam teaches to deal fairly, equitably with minorities. And, Islam teaches us justice for all.

    The claim is some minorities and famous people moved back to India because they felt marginalized or discriminated.

    But, it does not reduce the fact, India killed hundreds of thousands of people in Kashmir, raped women, oppressed people of Kashmir, which is a much bigger crime than what Pakistan did, as is being claimed.

    Bad deeds of Pakistan, as claimed in this write up, also does not also reduce the wrongdoings at Babri Masjid and Gujarat.

    We should speak the whole truth, nevertheless, wrongdoing is wrong, regardless who does it, in Pakistan or in India.
    But, we must not deny, what India has done to Muslims in many places, as mentioned above, is far worse.Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath
    Jun 4, 2015 - 6:33PM

    It is Pakistani tradition to send its best citizens into exile. Latest examples are Malala Yusufzai and Husain Haqqani. Pakistan has unlimited supply of retired Brigadiers that it can put on talk shows that call these people names such as turncoat, betrayer, backstabber. Do us a favor Pakistan, send all these people to India, we will give you all our Dawood Ibrahims in return.Recommend

  • aijaz gul
    Jun 5, 2015 - 12:35PM

    Indian actor Rehman, a major name in Indian film industry, first as hero and then as character actor, was terminally ill.He moved from Mumbai to Karachi to spend the last days with his relatives.. However, within weeks, he began missing his friends in Mumbai. He went back and soon passed away.
    As for Begum Para (wife and then widow of Dilip Kumar’s brother Nasir Khan), did come to Pakistan. She was planning producing feature film ZIDD for which she wanted funding from PPP Government in mid-seventies.PPP rule came to an end in 1977
    and Begum Para knew that now she was not going to get any funding.Her friends/relatives were now out of favor.No wonder, she went back to Mumbai. Recommend

  • Caught ya red handed
    Jun 13, 2015 - 10:11PM

    @NK your dubious commenting method raised my brow & rightly so. When you capitalize India’s initial letter and write Pakistan’s P with a small letter, it pretty much sums up everything. Pakistanis no matter where they are, are taught to be civilized & well behaved & are taught to give respect even to their enemies, which you clearly are unaware of. Hence, I wouldn’t really be shocked if you in reality turned out to be an Indian. Nevertheless, you should know as per Grammar, all proper nouns (especially countries) should be capitalized. Recommend

  • Virkaul
    Jun 14, 2015 - 10:13AM

    Sahir was a Punjabi and so was Bade Ghulan Ali Khan. Your question is absurd as Two Nation theory propagated division along religious lines and not along regional lines. Muslim League started their work from Bengal and it flourished in the Hindi belt not Punjab, Sindh or Frontier.Recommend

  • Virkaul
    Jun 14, 2015 - 10:14AM

    Begum Para was too from PunjabRecommend

  • Sara
    Jun 14, 2015 - 11:37AM

    My Pakistani origin friends born in Britain always came for holidays to India.They couldn’t connect with Pakistan in many ways.Recommend

    Jun 14, 2015 - 11:25PM

    That’s ridiculous. India has nothing to offer to Muslims except killings. You must be dreaming in day time. Recommend

  • Last Word
    Jun 15, 2015 - 10:13AM

    Simply brilliant. May GOD/ALLAH increase your tribe in Pakistan to make it a better place. Recommend

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