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06-17-2010, 07:29 PM
Post: #1
Indo-Pak relations
T. Narinder Paul Singh*

Behendya uthia Panjab to main yaad karaan,
Sutya vee aaway manoo supnna Panjab da.

These are the words of the song sung by my close friend Asa Singh Mastana at the time of partition. I still always dream of my birth place Gujranwala, where I was born and spent my early days. I was 15 years old then, but very well remember those days. How thick were the relations of Hindu/Sikhs and Muslims treating one another as one family.

My father S. Sher Singh Gyaniji of Premier Safe Company was in friendship with a Muslim gentleman Mr. Abdul Wahid Rasik Arfani, who had a very good Engineering mind and was a reputed poet also, whom we called Uncle ji.

The relation was thick like real brothers. They started a joint venture in partnership under the name "Premier Tools & Accessories", manufacturing cycles & motor parts and brass cocks & valves. The business flourished nicely. Abruptly on the eve of partition we were forced to leave Gujranwala (Pakistan). We left with a hope that all will be settled soon and there will be peace once again and we will be back to our birth place. Alas it did not happen. Human beings were separated on religious lines. But the bonds of good relations remained.

My father and his friend kept the bond; our uncle Mr. Abdul Wahid Arfani came to India twice to meet us during his life time. Even on the death of my father he kept relations alive through correspondence and sent his son Mr. Zia Ullah Arfani to meet us all so that this relationship continued in the family. It was now up to the next generation to reciprocate. I also made a programme to visit Pakistan and to make my dream afresh by visiting my birth place Gujranwala, Nankana Sahib birth place of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib and Rori Sahib at Amanabad near Gujranwala.

I along with my wife, elder son Mandhir Paul Singh, who is settled in Australia, were sponsored by Mr. Zia Ullah Arfani and visited Pakistan in 2005. We were received at Lahore Airport and were taken to Gujranwala by road, where we reached at about 1.00 AM. All the family members were anxiously waiting for us, gave us a very warm welcome. Believe me, we received such a loving warmth from all, which can't be explained through words. They arranged a grand reception for us at a five star hotel where nearly 250 guests were invited including senior citizen of the town, writers and business men. It was a nice reception. Our visit was also given good coverage in the newspaper.

As we had a very short stay in Pakistan with them, one of the elder member of the family arranged a get together dinner at his residence so that our families could meet each other to keep the relations going further, started by our elders. Even on streets where ever we went, we were affectionately greeted by the people - most of whom had migrated from India and were anxious to visit India. Every one feels that the individual contant can solve this problem for easy visits of both countries.

*KG1/21 Vikas Puri, New Delhi 110 108 Ph.: 011-25590096, 42883948
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