Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Brother and sister separated during Partition hope to celebrate Raksha Bandhan this year

Gurmail Singh Grewal (75) from Ludhiana’s Jassowal Soodan village wants to take “teeian da sandhara” (gifts given to a married girl by her family during teej) for his sister Sakina Bibi (67), who lives in Sheikhpura, Pakistan.

Ludhiana: This sawan may prove auspicious to the brother-sister duo separated during the Partition, as they plan to meet and celebrate rakhi, if everything works out well as planned, a report in The Tribune, Chandigarh, says.

Gurmail Singh Grewal (75) from Ludhiana’s Jassowal Soodan village wants to take “teeian da sandhara” (gifts given to a married girl by her family during teej) for his sister Sakina Bibi (67), who lives in Sheikhpura, Pakistan.

Sakina Bibi, too, is eager to tie the sacred thread — rakhi — on the wrist of her only brother Ludhiana-based GS Grewal, 75

But how did they meet? The search ended through a YouTube channel — Punjabi Lehar. Her brother, now known as Gurmail Singh Grewal, got separated from the family during the Partition.

Sakina Bibi searched in vain for many years for her long lost brother. Seeing her desperation, her sons-in-law suggested she share her story on social media through the channel. The channel is run by Pakistan-based YouTuber Nasir Dhillon and helps those who were separated during Partition.

“I was sitting at a village gatheriing, when someone showed me a picture of my childhood on some channel. Everyone siting in the gathering recognised me in the picture. 

“Call it destiny, I came to know about the whereabouts of my sister while sitting at this very gathering only. I recalled all these stories as they were coming true in front of my eyes after seeing the video,” said Gurmail Singh.

Sakina Bibi searched in vain for many years for her long lost brother. Seeing her desperation, her sons-in-law suggested she share her story on social media through the channel. The channel is run by Pakistan-based YouTuber Nasir Dhillon and helps those who were separated during Partition.

Jagtar Singh, the sarpanch of the village, said he often heard stories of Gurmail’s separation from his family.

“A 95-year-old man from the village used to tell us how the police came and took his mother with them, while Gurmail, who was playing nearby, was left behind since the policemen said they cannot wait too long,” he said.

In the video, Sakini Bibi said she came to know about her brother through a letter sent to her. The letter mentioned that the family back in India was raising him as his own child and it also had a photograph of her brother along. He must be studying in Class VIII at that time. “We were unable to read the address though,” she said.

Gurmail Singh, however, said he was too small to write a letter then and according to the villagers, some Bhajan Singh of the same village wrote it.

Now, the first and foremost thing that Gurmail wants to do is make his passport, so that he can visit his sister.

Gurmail is yet to talk to his sister as she is admitted to the hospital after a gallbladder surgery. “In a day or two, we will talk through a video call and finally meet once my passport is ready,” he said with a hopeful gleam in his eyes.

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