The story behind Kartarpur reunion of two real brothers thumbnail

The story behind Kartarpur reunion of two real brothers

One wears a Sikh-tyled turban peaked in the centre, the other covers his head with a white headwrap as many Muslim men in Pakistani Punjab do. But they are real brothers, born to the same mother before the 1947 Partition, which sent them on different paths. It took them over 74 years to walk back to each other.

Siddique from Pakistan’s Faisalabad on Tuesday reunited with his younger brother Habib aka Shela from Indian Punjab at the Kartarput shrine, in the border district of Narowal. (Some media outlets have misreported that Habib is the elder of the two.)

They hugged and cried.

A video of their reunion has gone viral and moved many people. But the story of their separation and reunion is even more emotional.

“You are only at a minute’s distance from seeing your brother,” a young man tells Siddique as they walk towards Indian guests at the spacious yard around the Kartarpur shrine.

The man reveals that Siddique and Habib had been waiting for this moment for two years after learning about each other.

Siddique and Habib were separated in 1947 when their mother was visiting her parents in Pulewalla village which was left on the Indian side of the border after Partition.

Habib was with his mother, but Siddique was with his paternal relatives who managed to flee to the other side of the border during the Partition violence.

Habib aka Shela grew up in Phulewala in Moga district of Indian Punjab, and Siddique in Bogran village near Faisalabad. The distance between the two villages is a mere 200km but the border would not allow any travel.

And the two brothers had no way of knowing about each other.

It changed in 2019 when a Youtube channel Punjabi Lehar published a short video showing Siddique, who said his six-month-old brother was left in India at Partition.

“I am searching for you for the last 72 years. If you are seeing me, contact me,” Siddique addresses his brother in a voice full of conviction.

Social media proved powerful enough to deliver the long-delayed message on the other side of the border within days.

Habib was with his mother who was visiting her parents in Phulewala when Partition violence erupted

In another video posted shortly afterwards, Siddique and Habib were seen speaking to each other on a video call.

They wanted to meet but coronavirus related restrictions were imposed and the reunion was postponed.

Nasir Dhillon, who runs the Youtube channel, says Habib also had to get a passport to visit Kartarpur.

Habib is living in a Sikh farmer’s haveli in Phulewala and though he uses Sikh-styled turbans, he was raised as and is still a Muslim, according to Dhillon.

The question of religion cropped up on social media when the reunion video went viral on Wednesday and the brothers were seen wearing different types of turbans.

But this is more a story of love.

On Tuesday, when Siddique leapt to welcome his younger brother, he was not alone. Siddique’s family members also accompanied him. Sidduqe’s daughters were happy to hug their “chacha jee.” They cried a little.

Siddique was more emotional of the two brothers. Habib consoled him saying, “You still cry. We have been reunited.”

And the two brothers also narrated the story of their separation.

Habib was an infant, Siddique says, ” and my mother had gone to visit her parents when the violence erupted. They were left on the other side.”

They tried to find each other. Letters were sent to old addresses but none was returned.

Habib’s story was known to people in Phulewalla and when Dhillon published the video containing Siddique’s message, Dr Jagsir Singh of Phulewala was prompt to respond.

Dr Jagsir also accompanied Habib to Kartarpur to humanity triumph over everything.

Habib spent the day meeting with dozen of members of his brother’s family. Three generations.

Just before dusk, he left for the Indian border.

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