A significant proportion of the outflow consisted of Muslims, who constituted over two-thirds of the population of Partitioned India. They may have been the biggest losers of the Partition, but they also made up a significant majority of the refugees. Nearly 7.3 million Muslims entered Pakistan, compared with 3.1 million Hindus of whom roughly 2.4 million arrived in India and 700,000 in East Pakistan.
Not all refugees were able, however, to cross the border or to find suitable shelter. They encountered a variety of unfamiliar conditions, such as food shortages, language difficulties, and cultural barriers. Facing these many challenges and displacements, Saeeda and she and her family survived. She recounted the story of her experiences in three autobiographical works: My Country Pakistan ( Penguin, 1985), A Small Place in the World (Sheffield University Press, 1988) and her celebrated book Kindness in a Cruel World (National Council for Promotion of Urdu, 2000). She also wrote her reflections on migration, Migration, Identity and Politics in India and Pakistan (2002).
Saeeda recounted her experiences with great journalistic skill in these works, while also expressing her own perspective on the influential role of the media in creating an international narrative of birth of a new nation.
Apart from intellectual reflection, she emphasised the emotional, economic and sentimental dimensions of migration. This gave her books a powerful political resonance – they went on to become best-sellers, winning important literary awards and becoming symbols of post-partition hope and resilience. d2c66b5586