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'I came to Mumbai with Rs 20 in my pocket'

On his journey to Mumbai

I had heard of Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) in Pakistan and was quite impressed by their work of spreading social messages through plays.

After the Partition, I stayed back in Pakistan but I was arrested because of communist ideologies. I spent two years in jail. I was beaten regularly because I would resist everything from bad food to bad civic facilities. I was asked to leave Pakistan and go to India. But how could I leave the place and culture where I was born?

One day, Muslim seniors from my party told me to go to India and start party work there, as I was the only Hindu among them. I was given 12 hours to leave Pakistan.

I wanted to go to New Delhi to my sister but I had no money. I came to Mumbai with Rs 20 in my pocket. I was 21 years old then.

I met some friends from Karachi and they took care of my family and me. Soon, I got a job as a tailor and was paid Rs 500 per month. Those days in 1949, this was a huge amount. I used to have rich customers like the nawab of Pataudi and Britishers. I had to look presentable at all times, so I always wore suits to work.

In the picture: Hangal (standing) with his colleagues. Inset: A K Hangal

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