Separated at partition, Indian Sikh’s wish to meet his Pakistani childhood friend remains unfulfilled

''It is a great pleasure to be back, looking at my home felt as if I was born again today.''

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  • ”We did not want to leave but, the circumstances were such that we had to”, said Harbans Singh
  • ”I do not want to go back without seeing my village, and meeting my childhood friend Muhammad Sharif.”

Harbans

Harbans Singh was 17 years old when the partition happened in 1947. After school, most of his time went to roaming in the streets of his village with his friends.

Harbans’s first love was his village where he was born and after that, his childhood friends with whom he spent a lot of time. However, after partition, borders divided their love.

According to Harbans, they did not want to leave but the circumstances were such that we had to. However, he had one wish – to bring back memories of his childhood once before he dies.

Harbans, accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law, came from America to attend the 550th birthday celebrations of Baba Grunnak in Pakistan.

After the opening of Kartarpur transit between India and Pakistan, his wish to meet his childhood friend Muhamad Sharif breathed a new life.

”My first love my village”

Harbans Singh with Muhammad Sharif’s grandson

 

After many hurdles, when he reached his village Lathianwala he asked,

“Is this my village? Has this changed so much?”

A white-bearded elder grabs him by the side and replies, ‘Yes, Sardar Ji, this is your village. This is sukhan da lathianwala. Welcome!”.

In no time, the market was filled with people, all with a strange joy on their faces –  the same joy that can be seen when meeting a relative after many years. Harbans was asking about his home the entire time. He further added that their haveli was one of the biggest houses in the village.

Harbans Singh arrived but was surprised to find that his haveli has now been replaced by a magnificent two-story building owned by local proprietors.

The wish remains unfulfilled:

Harbans questions, ‘no one has told me about my childhood friend Muhammad Sharif so far.’ Mohammad Sharif’s grandson, Khushi Mohammed responds, “Baba ji! Our grandfather died about 10 years ago.”

After saying that, he also hugs Harbans. The emotions take over and he breaks down at that moment. The locals as gifts give clothes to Harbans and his family; this entire scene looked like a festival held today at Lathianwala – where the guest of honor was Harbans Singh.

”It is a great pleasure to be back here. Looking at my home felt like I was born again today. The wish that had been suppressed for 72 years has come true today. I am very happy with the love I received”, said Harbans.

Harbans

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