92-year-old Jalandhar man to reunite with nephew lost in Partition riots at Kartarpur
While the rioters killed the men, and women of the house jumped into a well with their children to save their honour, a six-year-old managed to escape. He was raised by a Muslim family in Pakistan
Six-year-old Mohan Singh was separated from his family during the bloody riots of 1947, in which 22 members of his family were slaughtered in the communal violence unleashed in his village, Chak 37, in Pakistan.
While the rioters killed the men, and women of the house jumped into a well with their children to save their honour, Mohan managed to escape. Seventy-five years on, Mohan Singh, who was raised by a Muslim family in Pakistan, is all set to meet his family members who managed to successfully cross to India at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, a week before Independence Day.
His uncle, Sarwan Singh, 92, a resident of Jalandhar – whose parents, two brothers and two sisters were killed during the riots – is excited to meet his elder brother’s son at the last resting place of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
Sarwan Singh’s daughter, Rachhpal Kaur, who will accompany him during the visit, said, “Our family members, who survived the riots, looked for Mohan after the violence, but could not find him.”
Australia-based man brought long-lost family together
The family did not know what became of the six-year-old until a Punjab-origin man, who was based in Australia, Gurdev Singh, helped the two families unite after separately coming across the Partition accounts of India-based Sarwan Singh and Pakistan-based Mohan Singh.
Sikh author Sukhdeep Singh Barnala had made a YouTube docuseries on the tragedy of the Partition, entitled ‘The Other Side of Freedom’. One episode of this series was on Sarwan Singh family.
“Gurdev Singh watched this episode of the documentary, in which Sarwan Singh mentioned the identifying marks of the missing child. He revealed that Mohan, had two thumbs and a black spot on one of his thighs. The man had also seen the interview of one Pakistan-based man, who had revealed similar things about himself. He managed to get the contact numbers of both the families and got them together over phone. They will meet each other for the first time at Kartarpur Sahib”, said Barnala, while speaking on the phone.
Kaur says, “We often speak to our cousin over video call. He told us that he was raised by a Muslim family and now his name is Afzal Khalak. Now, he has a family of his own with six sons. His sister, who was four at that time, also survived the carnage and came to India with my family in 1947. She is settled in Canada and will soon be flying to Pakistan to meet her brother,” she added.
Pakistan-based journalist Nasir Dhillon, who has united many families that were separated by the Partition, said around 100 families had come together at Kartarpur since the corridor was opened in 2019.