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Mother united with sons after 52 years !

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Sikh woman from Mumbai united with sons in Pakistan after 52 years


Sunday November 12, 03:24 PM

Islamabad, Nov 12 (IANS) Emotions and blood ties know no borders or religion. This was amply proved when a Sikh woman from Mumbai was reunited with her two sons in Pakistan after 52 years. Her children, born of a Muslim father, have appealed to the Pakistani government to let their mother stay on.

Harbans Kaur, 75, was reunited with her sons Qaramatullah and Kudratullah, born of her first marriage to a Muslim man before the 1947 partition of the subcontinent, last week during the Guru Nanak Dev anniversary celebrations here.

The sons 'cling to the mother', Daily Times newspaper said in a report from Lahore, showing a photograph of the woman flanked by her two sons.

Her visa expired last Saturday but her sons do not want their mother to go.

What has made Kaur's story more tragic is that she had converted to Islam after the partition, married a Muslim and bore him two sons, but was declared a 'foreigner' and deported to India in 1954.

Born a Sikh in a family in Muzaffarabad, now capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Kaur was nearly killed by an uncle who was escorting her to India at the time of the 1947 partition. She survived the violence of the post-partition period and was rescued by the Muslim family retainer who brought her back to Muzaffarabad, said the paper.

She married Sakhiullah, a Pakistan Army man, and moved with him and the two children on a posting to Sialkot. Police caught up with her and deported her charging that she was an Indian Sikh, despite her pleas that she had converted to Islam.

Somehow reunited with her family in Mumbai, she was married to a Sikh named Core Singh, who died some years later.

'I tried my best to find my Muslim husband and my sons, but to no avail. When I returned to Pakistan two years ago as a pilgrim at Punja Sahib, I saw Jasi Singh of Faisalabad who was wearing a locket with Muzffarabad written on it.

'Jasi said he would help me find my sons, and I gave him their photographs. Jasi called me in India one day and said a college professor had recognised the pictures, and had promised to trace my sons,' Harbans Kaur was quoted as saying.

With Jasi's help, the professor found her sons in 2005, 'but we could only talk over the telephone. I met my sons for the first time after almost six decades here at Guru Nanak's birth anniversary', she said.

Kaur, who lives with her brother-in-law's children in India, is torn between her past and the present.

'I cannot leave my brother-in-law's children, but I cannot leave my sons here, which is troubling me now,' she added.

An estimated 50 million people left their homes and crossed the border, considered history's largest migration, during the partition when the British carved out Pakistan from united India. Families were split. Some like Harbans Kaur's have taken decades to reunite.

There is no clear estimate of how many families split and how many were reunited.

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