Place of Origin:
Textile mill worker
click on images to enlarge
Umbreen was the mother of Najia Khan, and the grandmother of Yasmin and Sonya Khan.
She was a Muslim born in the Punjab and grew up with Prem.
Umbreen’s father brought a world map back from the market one day. She decided to put a finger on the map, and resolved to go wherever it landed. It landed on Sheffield, and she wished to go to the English city she deemed to be exotic.
In 1947, Umbreen was living with her mother Hasna and was engaged to Prem, a Hindu. On 17 August, Umbreen’s future granddaughterYaz arrived at her house with the Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan Sinclair and Graham O’Brien. Yaz claimed to be the sister of a third cousin of Umbreen’s uncle Malik.
Umbreen listened to the announcement that she was now living in Pakistan, as the Partition of India had just begun. Despite the strife caused by the partition, Umbreen was determined to marry Prem, who she considered to be the one certain thing in her life.
She married Prem on 18 August 1947 on the border of India and Pakistan, in a wedding officiated by The Doctor. She became the first woman to get married in Pakistan. Yaz helped perform the Hindu wedding tradition of tying the couple’s hands together with a rope. Later, the couple also performed a Muslim tradition as Prem gifted a watch to Umbreen. Though the watch face broke, Umbreen was still happy, and remarked that it would capture that moment in time.
Though Umbreen knew her new brother-in-law Manish had reservations about the marriage, she still offered to feed him and welcomed him as her brother. However, he rejected her offer. When armed men arrived, Prem ordered her to flee, which she did. She and Hasna fled to Lahore, where Umbreen lived into the 1950s.
Umbreen married a second time. Her second husband was Muslim like her, as opposed to the Hindu Prem.
She did eventually move to Sheffield where she became the first Muslim woman to work in a textile mill in South Yorkshire. Her husband would take her out every Wednesday. She also had her daughter Najia while living in Sheffield. Her daughter eventually married Hakim Khan and had two children: Yasmin and Sonya, Umbreen’s granddaughters. Yaz was her favourite granddaughter, though Najia warned her about mentioning it.
By 2018, Umbreen made use of a wheelchair. She celebrated her birthday at Najia’s flat in the Park Hill estate. She was unimpressed with the fuss her relatives made and the shop-bought cake but gave some gifts to her relatives: a collection of letters from her second husband to Najia, a present from her second husband to Sonya, and the watch from her first wedding to Yaz. She reminisced about her lifelong accomplishments, but did not elaborate on them.
This sparked Yaz’s interest to know more about her grandmother’s personal history and watch the events of her life in 1947 unfold. When she returned to 2018, Umbreen offered to tell her the story of the watch, but Yaz rejected the offer, knowing the pain Prem’s death had caused her. (Demons of the Punjab)