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Separated by Partition, brothers reunite in Kartarpur after 74 years

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 13th January, 2022 11:51:57 AM
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It was a showstopper — both time and a flock of pilgrims stood still for a while to soak up the scene of two turbaned old men pat each other’s backs in a joyous embrace against the backdrop of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on Wednesday. The significance of that hug was not lost on anyone. It was the reunion of two octogenarian brothers separated by Partition, 74 years ago.

“Mil ta gaye... (We met after all),” cried out aloud one of the brothers in a beige turban. The two are Muhammad Habib aka Shaila from India and Muhammad Siddiq, 80, of Faislabad in Pakistan. With social media as a helpmate, Habib’s family located his long-lost brother and arranged a get-together when the Kartarpur Corridor opened for Indian pilgrims to visit the Sikh shrine of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, 4.7km inside Pakistan from the border in Punjab.

Habib told his brother he didn’t marry and devoted his life to care for their mother.

Theirs wasn’t the only reunion. Sunita Devi of Ajowal in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district crossed the border with five from her family to meet relatives in Pakistan. When Partition scythed through the land, her father chose to stay behind, while his brothers migrated to Faisalabad.

And then, there were online friends too. Amritsar’s Jatinder Singh took the corridor to pray and love. He met his Facebook girlfriend, a postgraduate student in Lahore’s Punjab University. Manjit Kaur of Haryana went down that road too: to meet Facebook friend Awais Mukhtar of Pakistan. Both were, however, sent back by Pakistan Rangers as the “couples were found moving around in a suspicious manner” at the shrine.

The reunion scene was overwhelming for officials too. “I was with my staff at Kartapur shrine on a routine visit and we were bowled over by the sight of people embracing and crying,” said Muhammad Latif, CEO of Project Management Unit, a Pakistani government agency that oversees Kartarpur’s upkeep.

He said more Indian pilgrims should visit the shrine. “Only 153 devotees came to Pakistan on Tuesday, though we have arranged for 5,000 a day.”

 

Source: The Times of India