• Tuesday, July 05, 2022

INDIA

Pakistani woman meets her Indian brothers after 75 years

By: Shelbin MS

A Pakistani woman separated from her family during the 1947 India Partition met her brothers after 75 years in April, according to a media report. 

Mumtaz Bibi met her brothers Gurmukh Singh and Baldev Singh at the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan, the BBC reported.

The Partition of India was the biggest movement of people in history, outside war and famine. Nearly 12 million people became refugees and between half a million and a million people were killed in religious violence.

According to the report, their father Pala Singh had moved from Pakistan to the Patiala district of Punjab in India after his wife was killed in Pakistan during the violence.

“When he came to know about his wife’s death, he assumed his daughter was also murdered, following which he married his sister-in-law (as was the tradition during those days),” Baldev Singh, the younger of the two brothers, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

But, a Muslim couple adopted and raised Mumtaz Bibi.

Baldev said that their sons found out about Bibi with the help of social media.

She had spoken to Pakistani YouTuber Nasir Dhillon, whose channel Punjab Lehar helped several families separated during the Partition find each other.

Wanting to confirm their connection, Gurmukh Singh contacted a shopkeeper at their ancestral village in Pakistan’s Sheikhupura district.

“He connected us with Mumtaz,” he said. He admitted that the family was initially sceptical about her identity.

Though the brothers wanted to meet her, there were visa issues.

Finally, they decided to meet at the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, the final resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev and one of the religion’s holiest shrines.

The gurdwara is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the Ravi river, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India.

Many families, who were separated during the Partition, were able to reunite at this spot.

However, the pilgrimage to Kartarpur was suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. It finally reopened last November.

On 24 April, the brothers arrived with their family at the shrine and finally met their sister who had also brought along her own family.

“We hugged each other and wept,” Baldev told the BBC. “We promised each other that we will try to get visas as soon as possible. She has filed her papers and we expect that she will visit us soon.”

In January, another family, separated during the Partition, met at the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.

Sikka Khan, who had been left in India with his mother during the Partition, was able to meet his brother Sadiq Khan, who had ended up in Pakistan with their father.

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