ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Life and Times of Mubarek Ali Khan

The Life and Times of Mubarek Ali Khan

The life story of a crusty champion of Indian immigrants in mid-century United States who worked tirelessly for their rights to citizenship.

In the early 1940s, Mubarek Ali Khan, then based in New York, campaigned and lobbied tirelessly for South Asians, especially for their rights to citizenship and residency in the United States (US). As president of the India Welfare League, an association he formed around 1937, Khan pleaded before government authorities that racial provisions of the 1917 immigration laws, and upheld again in 1923, be set aside and that emigrants from India already resident in the US be permitted to become citizens. In this instance, he was different from Sardar Jagjit (J J) Singh, the other Indian lobbyist who was a strong advocate for a “quota,” to encourage better qualified, better educated Indians to emigrate to the US.

Khan was aged around 24 years when he moved to the US in 1922. His early life in India remains ambiguous. A recreation of his past is possible via his many letters to newspapers, especially the local papers in Arizona, where he moved permanently in the late 1940s. He was a regular, albeit cantankerous letter-writer, seeking to set right prevailing misconceptions about South Asia, or his own story. In one instance, his letter had nothing but his name spelled correctly over and over again (he insisted on the last “e” in his first name).

Mubarek Ali Khan (Arizona Daily Star, 11 December 1959)
Source: Newspapers.com

An article quoting from Mubarek Ali Khan's letter emphasising the spelling of his name (Arizona Republic, 17 September 1958)
Source: Newspapers.com

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Updated On : 31st Aug, 2019

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