The lucky Ram Pyari of Ram Krishan

| Eastern Punjab migrant is happy to see his Indian birthplace on social media

LAHORE - Sitting in the lawn of his house on a sunny day octogenarian Siddique Teja smiles at his luck, which has firmly held his hand to make him see this hi-tech age that has made him feel more connected to his roots.

It was perhaps the most emotional moment of their life when, a few months back, he and his younger brother Majeed Teja saw the glimpses of their native Indian village at social media sites.

Their grandson searched ‘Badbar’ of East Punjab on Facebook, Youtube, Google and other sites, found some old and young people of the area, and with their help, he made this magic happen in the lives of both of the old Tejas.

The villagers witnessed them crying like children while seeing the streets and fields of their birthplace on a cell phone after more than seven decades of the partition, which brought with it one of the greatest human tragedies that have ever happened.

The two brothers live in Darogawala near Jhang and are the only survivors in the entire village to share the stories of migration with the present generations.

All the other fathers and forefathers of the inhabitants of Darogawala – who had migrated in 1947 from Badbar, a village of then Nabha state, are dead now.

Siddique was an intelligent student at Badbar Primary School. He was in 7th grade at a high school of Longowal, a town near Badbar, when he had to leave not only his school and friends but also his home.

He remembers his teachers and friends would call him “Ram Pyari” with love.

The Teja brothers suffered the distress and witnessed the scenes of killings along with other people of their clan during the painful journey from Nabha to Lahore.

After spending months in refugee camps, the entire clan decided to live in the area of Heer and Ranjha (Jhang) as they used to listen and sing the folk tale of love during their stay in Badbar.

Another reason of their choosing Darogawala was that the village had the resemblance with Badbar.

After settling in the new area, Siddique and Majeed along with late Fateh Muhammad Numberdar, Ch Sharif Teja, Ch Abdul Kareem Teja, Ch Ali Sher Teja, Ch Ata Muhammad Teja, Umar Din Dhaliwal, Sher Muhammad Dhaliwal and others would sit together and share the memories of their previous homeland.

Jalibee, halwa, shakarpara (sweets) of Badbar, animal trading with Sikhs of Longowal and Kanjhla would still haunt them.

They would recollect their visits to Pharwahi, Sunam, Sangrur, Kheri, Dhanaula, Fatehgarh Chhanna and other areas where their relatives were settled. Back then, they would play Kabbadi and wrestling with their Sikh friends and celebrate Lohri, Besakhi, Eids together without any discrimination.

Siddique remembers how even after around two decades of migration they had the belief that on one day they would return to East Punjab. However, 1965 Indo-Pak war killed their ‘hope’ forever.

All the elders of the village are dead now, taking into their graves the memories of their village and the dream to visit their native land again.

But Siddique and Majeed are fortunate ones who at least were able to see the pictures and videos of their native land through social media.

There are hundreds of pages on Facebook and dozens of channels on Youtube which share the stories of partition of both sides – Charda (East) and Lehnda (West) Punjab.

There are thousands of subscribers of these pages and channels run by individuals of both sides.

This has come as a blessing for many oldies like the Tejas on both side of the border. They comfort their souls by asking their grandchildren to show them their birthplaces on smart phones and laptops.

Channels of Ik Pind Punjab Da, Punjabi lehar, Desi Infotainer, Sanjha Punjab 1947, Muhammad Sarfraz, Muhammad Alamgir, Indus Diaries, Sub Da Punjab, Ek C Punjab and many others are playing a role which the governments of both sides failed to play over the decades.

“Yes! Social media is playing the most important role in bringing people of India and Pakistan close to each other despite the long history of wars and cold relations between the governments of two countries,” said a Punjab University professor of IT department. It is also a great service to the history, he added.

The Teja brothers also heard the news about opening of Kartarpur corridor and were delighted to hear that at least some people would be allowed to cross the border without passports and visas. They however are aware that the dream of visa-free travel between the two countries for everyone won’t realise in their life.

The real name of Darogawla in revenue record of Jhang is Ram Krishan. Ram Pyari of Ram Krishan might not be able to visit Badbar but he is among those lucky ones who at least electronically saw their across-the-border birthplaces after seven decades of partition.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt