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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

26 Nov 2003 12:56:59 GMT

Kashmiri family reunited after decades apart

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By Zulfiqar Ali

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ISL107242.htm

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan, Nov 26 (Reuters) - For more than three decades, Harbans Kore had no idea of the fate of two of her children, but after a seven-year quest, they were reunited this week for the first time since the 1950s.

The moving story of a 77-year-old Sikh woman who returned to Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on Monday to meet her long-lost Muslim son and daughter sums up the tragedy of national and religious division in the scenic Himalayan territory.

Thousands of families were split when Kashmir was divided after India and Pakistan won independence from Britain in 1947.

Since then, Pakistan and India have fought three wars, two over Kashmir, and in the turmoil many people lost touch with relatives on either side of the border.

A thaw in relations since April has made direct travel between India and Pakistan possible again and ushered in a new era of hope, further boosted on Wednesday by a ceasefire along the line dividing Kashmir.

Kore traveled this week from the Indian city of Ahmedabad to Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, to meet the children she was forced to leave behind in the 1950s.

"It's the first time in my life I have found this happiness," Kore's long-lost son Manzoor Hussain Awan said after the reunion. "I can't believe my eyes and ears that I am seeing her and talking to her. My dreams have come true."

At the time of partition, Kore was separated from her husband, who, as a Sikh, was forced to flee from Muslim insurgents in Kashmir. Assuming him lost, she married a Muslim, converted to Islam, and bore two children.

FORCED TO LEAVE KASHMIR

But then in the mid-1950s, she had to leave Kashmir and her new family after an agreement between India and Pakistan required women to return to their original husbands.

In India, she returned to her Sikh faith and her first husband, with whom she had two daughters and a son.

"It was my wish to see my other children again once in my life and my wish has come true," she told Reuters after arriving in Muzaffarabad accompanied by her Sikh son.

"It's lovely to see my children after all these years."

Kore will stay a month and visit her ancestral village nearby but she will not be able to see her Muslim husband -- he died two years after she was forced to leave Kashmir.

It was only seven years ago that the Muslim children, with the help of relatives, managed to trace their mother.

"And it was just two years ago we were able to locate her telephone number and then we spoke by telephone, wrote letters and exchanged pictures," Kore's Muslim daughter Zeenat Bibi said.

They wanted to meet immediately but this was prevented by heightened tension between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India.

It was not until the resumption of a bus service between the Pakistani city of Lahore and New Delhi this year that their dream finally began to take shape.

"We know how we suffered all these years and how badly we missed our mother," Zeenat said.

"I wish she can stay with us but but she cannot because she has to go back. She has a family there also."

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Saihajleen, lets focus on how amazing the bond between the mother and her children is, no matter what, the son and daughter probably think she is perfect as their mum...... :wink:

Makes me think about the bond / love between Akaal and us, except, half the time we don't see it.....and if we consider the whole world is an expression of Akaal.....then we are all an expression of Akaal... :shock: :shock:

Thats what I got from this story....How I wish I was reuinited with my beloved. But then..Akaal is in us anyway, we just got to realise it ...and we too can reuinite just like this family did. :roll: :D

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Punjabi Nationalist

Sigh, and then people say not all Muslims are out to convert :roll:

How can anyone employ someone with your mentality as a teacher?

Do you purposely give your Muslim students low grades?

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