Why 60 year old Mira Maheshwari had to flee from Pakistan to India

My daughter was abducted and forced to convert to Islam. We tried to find her, and also approached court for the same, but we could not find her. Some other people took over the possession of our shop and home, and hence we decided to leave Pakistan.

Words from Mira Maheshwari, who fled from Pakistan 10 years ago. Imagine the barbarism of the nation from that forced a woman who is at 60 years of age to pack up and leave for a new life across the border.

We will probably never know what ultimately became of Mira Maheshwari’s daughter. She is probably lost forever among those who follow the ‘religion of peace’ in the ‘land of the pure’. We know that the torment of these children of Bharat will never make the UN take notice; we know that their crying will never make the cover of TIME Magazine.

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But I can give you a bit of good news. Mira Maheshwari is one of 90 Pakistani Hindus who formally received Indian citizenship at a ceremony in Ahmedabad yesterday. Roughly 70 years after Partition, India’s daughter, now 70 years old herself, has been embraced by the land of Bharat.

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Take a moment to look at those shining faces. Observe how they beam with pride, joy and relief at being Bharatiya. These are the real faces of “Azaadi”.

I dare one of those snobbish academic or media elites to try convincing one of these people that there should be “Bharat ke tukde”.

Guess what? Bharat has been broken into pieces before and it was a nightmare. Ask these people. They had to live this nightmare all their lives until this very moment.

Look at their faces again. Don’t they look just like our friends, our neighbors and our family? They look just like us who sometimes end up taking their Indian identity for granted.  But look at those shining faces and you will know how blessed we are and how proud we should be of being Indian.

In a Dec 2016 notification, the Govt of India decided to speed up the process of giving citizenship to persecuted minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, etc) from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Accordingly, local district collectors were given the power to issue certificates of citizenship instead of clogging the system all the way up to Delhi. Since then, the office in Ahmedabad has given citizenship to 320 Pakistanis (now Indians! Yay!) and another 200 or so applications are pending.

We on social media are angry all the time. We argue over everything. After all, India is this big crazy place that is buzzing with a billion plus voices. A billion plus dreams and aspirations jostling for space. We disagree all the time. Sometimes we end up hating each other. In the midst of this, sometimes we forget how lucky we are to be born in this land of Bharat.

We kids get too busy with our daily lives and we end up forgetting about our mother. We end up taking her for granted. But she is always there for us and always will be.

Bharat Mata ki Jai! Let’s say it for her sometimes.

Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.

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