How Saif Ali Khan’s Great-Grandfather Had Tried To Merge Bhopal With Pakistan

Saif Ali Khan might’ve courted controversy after naming his son Taimur after a barbaric invader, but the rest of his family has a pretty interesting history as well.

Twitter account Bhardwaj Speaks, which has an encyclopedic knowledge of India’s history and culture, today dug up the details of Saif Ali Khan’s family history. Saif Ali Khan is the son of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who was the Nawab of Pataudi. Saif Ali Khan’s great-grandfather was the Nawab of Bengal. He was a staunch supporter of Pakistan, and Jinnah.

On 2nd August 1947, weeks before the partition took place, Saif Ali Khan’s great-grandfather wrote a letter to Jinnah, the father of Pakistan. “I have throughout the last 8 or 10 years been in my humble way a staunch supporter of Pakistan and a loyal and devoted friend of the Muslim cause in India and of the Muslim League,” he wrote in the letter.

In the letter, Saif Ali Khan’s great grandfather spoke of how he wished to join Pakistan, but lamented that Bhopal was 80% Hindu and surrounded by Hindu states.

“My personal wish is to abdicate and serve Islam. As long as I can serve Islam and Pakistan and help and support you…I am prepared to serve Pakistan in any capacity,” he’d written.

Bhopal, though, was right in the center of India, and eventually merged with India. Saif Ali Khan’s family prospered — his father became the captain of the Indian cricket team, and Saif Ali Khan himself became a famous Bollywood actor. But this message sent by the family to the founder of Pakistan sheds light on a period of history that is often forgotten in India.

Source: Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Papers. From Jinnah’s letter collection in Lucknow AIML office. Digitized and published in 1994-95 by Government of Pakistan and recommended for inclusion in Memory of World Register

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