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Indian-origin man in world’s longest marriage dies in London at 110

Karam Chand, 110, and his wife Kartari, 103, became celebrities last year following their 90th wedding anniversary

punjab Updated: Oct 03, 2016 22:34 IST
Karam Chand,Oldest couple,Kartari Devi
Karam Chand in a photo in a family album at Krari near Jalandhar, on Tuesday.

An Indian-origin man in the UK, believed to hold the record for the world’s longest marriage, has died.

Karam Chand, 110, died of natural causes in hospital last week – just six weeks short of celebrating his 111th birthday.

Chand and his wife Kartari, 103, became celebrities last year following their 90th wedding anniversary. The couple never argued, according to their family.

They lived at home in Girlington, near Bradford, West Yorkshire, along with their son Paul – who was devastated at the death of his father, the reported. “We’re devastated at his death – not many people live to that age,” Paul said.

Chand was born in 1905 into a farming family at Karari village near Jalandhar in Punjab during the British Raj, at a time when it took six weeks to reach India via Suez Canal.

He had an arranged marriage to Kartari and they tied the knot in a Sikh ceremony in 1925. The couple came to Bradford in 1965 when Chand replaced his hard work as a farmer with the city’s woollen mills.

Their now four generation-strong family is huge stretching down from Chand and includes eight children, 27 grandchildren and dozens of great-grandchildren.

“‘Teen rang nai labne, husn, javani te maape’ is what my father would always say, who cherished these three beautiful colours of life,” said Harbhajan Das, 67, Chand’s son, who lives at Karari village in Jalandhar.

Harbhajan, who retired as a manager from the State Bank of Patiala, said his parents were invited in Buckingham Palace by the Queen two years ago for holding a remarkable record of the longest marriage.

A family album photo of Karam Chand and Kartari.
Son Harbhajan Dass and his wife Harbans Kaur with a photograph of Karam Chand and Kartari, at their native village Krari near Jalandhar on Tuesday. (Pardeep Pandit/HT Photo)

“Eat and drink what you want but in moderation. I have never held back from enjoying my life,” Chand had said previously speaking about his life.

Chand had said he had given up his one cigarette a day – but still enjoyed an occasional tot of whisky. “We have always eaten good wholesome food, there’s nothing artificial in our diet, but things like butter, milk and fresh yoghurt are what we like,” he had said.

“We know that being married for 86 years is a blessing, but equally we will be ready to go when it’s time. It’s all up to the will of God, but we really have lived a good life,” Chand had said.

Chand’s death last week means his marriage lasted 90 years and 291 days in total. Although this was believed to be the world record, it had never officially been recognised by Guinness World Records.

Chand’s last rites will be performed in Girlington on October 8.

The oldest Guinness-recorded marriage is the 86-year union of American couple Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher, both of whom have since died.

The oldest man in the UK is an anonymous resident of Claygate, Surrey, who is 111, according to the website Oldest in Britain. The oldest British woman is Bessie Camm, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, who is 112.

(With inputs from Aakanksha N Bhardwaj in Jalandhar)

First Published: Oct 03, 2016 22:33 IST