80-year-old Pak man wants to die as an Indian
As he is no longer the Nand Kishore of Devariya, but a man on a Pakistani passport, he had to live the life of fugitive. Between 1974 and 1998, his visa was extended annually. But the external affairs ministry did not approve any extensions thereafter and ordered his deportation.Updated: Jan 15, 2018 07:35 IST
Nand Kishore landed in Pakistan as a young boy in 1946, and returned to India 19 years later as Hasmat Ali. And now in the last stage of his life, the 80-year-old wants to die an Indian.
Basking in the winter sun at his home in Narayanpur village on the outskirts of Uttarakhand’s industrial city Rudrapur, 250km from the national capital, the old man shuffles in his seat at the thought of deportation to a land he never called his own.
“I am staying here for so long. I wish to remain Indian before I die,” said the man in a toothless slur, delivered in a mix of Bhojpuri and Hindi.
The octogenarian can barely walk and his words are almost unintelligible, but his expressions convey the emotions that he struggles to communicate.
Slowly he narrates how his impoverished mother from a village in Devariya in eastern Uttar Pradesh sent him to Karachi to work a domestic help for a landlord named Abu Ahmad.
He was eight then, and a year later the British colonial rule ended. India and Pakistan emerged as two nations, and the horrors of Partition made his mother anxious about his well-being. She pestered a trader’s brother, who worked for the railways, to bring back Nand Kishore.
“I came back as a grown man with a Pakistani passport and with a new name, Hasmat Ali,” he said.
As he is no longer the Nand Kishore of Devariya, but a man on a Pakistani passport, he had to live the life of fugitive. Between 1974 and 1998, his visa was extended annually. But the external affairs ministry did not approve any extensions thereafter and ordered his deportation.
Nand Kishore had married and made Rudrapur his home by then. Narayanpur and its neighbouring villages have a sizeable population of people from eastern Uttar Pradesh, who have settled there and worked in the farms and industrial units.
“In 2000, he was supposed to be deported but the process was stopped on humanitarian ground. Nand Kishore’s case was referred to the government in 2008 for further action,” was not taken because of his age and physical state,” senior superintendent of police Sadanand Date said.
Ramnavam, the eldest of Nand Kishore’s four sons, said on Saturday that then foreign minister ND Tiwari intervened and his father was sent back home from the Attari border post. Another son, Shyam Bahadur, is worried that his father will die a Pakistani on police records, which say the old man came to India in 1965.
Surrounded by an extended family of 24 members, including daughter in law Sonmati who looks after him round-the-clock, Nand Kishore remains hopeful as he murmurs: “Nothing will happen to me in my homeland.”