Boota Singh

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Boota Singh
Died19 February 1957
Other namesShaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh
(lit. Martyr-in-Love Boota Singh)
Known forHis tragic love story
ChildrenTanveer Kaur (later Sultana)

Boota Singh sometimes spelled as Buta Singh, was a Sikh ex-soldier of the British Army who served at the Burma front under the command of Lord Mountbatten during World War II.[1] He is very well known in India and Pakistan for his tragic love story with Zainab, a Muslim girl he rescued during the communal riots in the time of partition of India in 1947.[1] Both fell in love and got married. Later, being a Muslim, Zainab is deported and sent to the newly born Pakistan. Boota illegally enters Pakistan and when the girl backed off under the pressure from her family, he commits suicide by jumping before an upcoming train near Shahdara station in Pakistan along with his daughter but she survived but some people tell another story about this incident. According to them, they did not go to Pakistan, they went towards Bengal and both were killed due to illness.[2]

The love story of Singh's life is widely adapted in films and books on both sides of the border. A Punjabi film Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh (1999) is entirely based on the story.[1] Ishrat Rahmani wrote a novel, Muhabbat, based on the story. The story also influenced many other films including a 2007 Canadian film Partition[1] and a 2001 Bollywood film Gadar and the 2004 Bollywood film Veer Zaara.[3]


In his suicide note, Singh expressed his last wish to be buried in Barki village where Zainab's parents resettled after partition. The autopsy of Singh's body was conducted in a hospital in Lahore and was taken to the village on 22 February 1957 for burial but the villagers did not allow that and Singh was buried at Miani Sahib, the largest graveyard of Lahore.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

In 1999, Manoj Punj directed a Punjabi feature film, Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh, entirely based on the life story of Boota Singh.[1] The movie stars Gurdas Maan as Boota Singh and Divya Dutta as Zainab. The music was composed by Amar Haldipur. It was an international hit and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Punjabi at the 46th National Film Awards and was also screened at many national and international film festivals including the 1999 Vancouver International Film Festival and International Film Festival of India. Ishrat Rahmani wrote a novel on the love story, titled Muhabbat. The story is also have some details in an English book, Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre and also influenced a 2007 Hollywood film, Partition, written by Patrica Finn and Vic Sarin, starring Jimi Mistry and Kristin Kreuk in lead roles.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Silver lining in the clouds of Partition". Tribune India. 17 April 1999. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Shaheed-e-Muhabbat". Jang. 30 May 2010. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Religious protests against period film Gadar put free speech on the boil". India Today.
  4. ^ "Shaheed and Shahdara – I". Dawn. 14 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.