Karachi to Kashmir: reunion after 68 years
83-year-old visits homeland in South Kashmir
Wulurhama (Pahalagam), June 9: People in this village of South Kashmir district of Islamabad (Anantnag) have been thronging the house of Kabir Shah who met his family here 68 years after he moved to Lahore, now in Pakistan, prior to partition. Flocking around him, they are keenly listening to his experience of being away from his native place.
It was an emotional moment for Kabir Shah when he alighted from the trans-LOC bus earlier this week. After 68 years, he finally reunited with his family. Shah was only 15 years-old when he crossed over to Lahore in undivided India in 1943.
Narrating his story, Shah, now aged 83, says, “It was during the era of Maharaja in 1943 that I left my home by foot and somehow reached Lahore.
After staying for some days there I boarded a train to Karachi and started working as a laborer. I toiled hard to earn bread and butter. The people in Karachi were very courteous and generous towards me. Soon, I got acquainted with many people who became my friends. One of my friends once brought a match for me. She was also of Kashmiri origin hailing from Dooru-Shahabad village of Islamabad (Anantnag) district, putting up in the same city and I went on to settle my life.”
He said that soon he established his own business running a transport company in Karachi and lived a comfortable life with his family which besides his wife consisted of three sons and three daughters. His wife passed away 10 years ago.
“Despite being well settled I missed my homeland and dreamt of visiting it before my death. But the growing hostility between the two countries remained a deterrent. Although I was issued a passport twice, I was refused visa. I then applied for a permit. It took me two and a half years to board the Muzaffarabad-Uri bus and reach here. I'm overwhelmed to see my family," Shah said.
Shah's world has changed during the time he has been away from home. His parents and siblings have died. Only one of his sisters, whom he had never met, is alive to greet him.
“My children are also keen to visit their native place. I wish there is free movement of divided families and India and Pakistan end up hostilities,” says Shah.
Shah may have built a life in Karachi, running a transport company. But the pain of being separated from his family, village and the school where he learnt his basics, fills him with nostalgia.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 9 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 9 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 10 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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83-year-old visits homeland in South Kashmir
Wulurhama (Pahalagam), June 9: People in this village of South Kashmir district of Islamabad (Anantnag) have been thronging the house of Kabir Shah who met his family here 68 years after he moved to Lahore More
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