Miracles do happen. Siblings Rana Yasin Ahmad Khan and Mukhtiar Kaur — separated before birth and reunited after half a century — will tell you that.
When 54-year-old Khan, a Pakistani, came to Barwali Khurd village here to meet his Indian sister, it was but natural that the entire village came out to welcome him and celebrate the happy reunion. For the village elders, Khan’s coming also brought back memories of the tragic love story of his parents.
Khan was born to a Muslim woman, Sukhra Bibi, and a Sikh father, Ugar Singh. But he never saw his father as the turbulent years after Partition left his parents on either side of the border. Khan was born in a transit camp in Jalandhar. Sukhra Bibi and Ugar Singh had a daughter too, Mukhtiar, who stayed back with her father. Sukhra Bibi, known as Dalip Kaur in her marital home here, died in Pakistan without ever seeing her daughter.
On Monday, Khan met his sister and family for the first time. The reunion was a long time coming. He had visited India around three years ago too, but had had to return disappointed as Mukhtiar — who lives in Bhari village near Khanna after marriage — and his relatives at Barwali Khurd had refused to meet him as they had been unaware of his existence.
But the family had then started inquiring into Khan’s claim and found that his incredulous story was, indeed, the truth. A counter search was launched and after much effort, they got in touch with an elated Khan. He is now here on a 20-day visa.
Khan came to know about his father from his mother while the elders at Barwali Khurd did their best to fill in the blanks. He learnt that his father, a Jat Sikh, had married a Muslim girl and renamed her. While villagers were able to conceal her religious identity for a while, the police discovered the facts six years after Partition and forced her to migrate to Pakistan.
In Pakistan, Khan said, his mother settled in Gujranwala but wanted to return to India till the day she died. She never remarried, and neither did Ugar Singh. Khan continues to live in Gujranwala with his family.
Pargat Singh, an old-timer in Barwali Khurd, recalled Ugar Singh as a strong-willed man, respected by all and a doting father to Mukhtiar.