02 December, 2020

Begum Para

After two years as Pakistani citizen, she realised she was differently acculturised.

Abhijit Bhatlekar
Begum Para
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

My parents were in Dalhousie when the 1947 riots broke out. Dr Fakeerchand, a friend, insisted they shift to his house. Subsequently, my brother, an officer in the Ahmednagar Armoured Corps, smuggled them under escort to Lahore. And where was I all this while? Safe in riot-free Bombay. Driving a green Hudson with fellow actresses Protima Dasgupta and Sushila Rani in it, lustily singing Vande Mataram on the streets of Bombay on the night of August 14. I remember serenading film publisher Baburao Patel with this in Umar Park at midnight. It was a good life.

And yet I had to leave. Migrate to Pakistan in 1975. Nasir, my husband, an actor and film director, died suddenly at 49 in 1974. I was 47, a mother of three kids and devastated. Emotionally vulnerable. The entire family, barring my sister Zarina who lives in Dehradun, lived there. They insisted I shift. So I adopted Pakistani nationality, moved to Lahore. It was emotionally very stabilising for me to be with family but I could never adjust to that country Muslims there are acculturised very different from Muslims...

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