An old woman in Pakistan who was separated from her family during the partition, was abducted and converted to Islam, has finally united with her family in India over a phone call. According to a report of Indian Express, the 86-years old woman named Daphia Bai alias Aisha, who was separated from her family when she was 13, talked to her nephews and grandsons over a video call. Daphia could not hold back her tears as she saw her family for the first time since partition. She desperately started kissing the screen of the phone as the pictures of her family members appeared on it.
Daphia’s family lives in Morkhana town of Bikaner, Rajasthan. A translator helped her talk to her family as she spoke in Saraiki while her family spoke in Marwari. She said that the had spent all her life crying. She narrated how she tried to trace her family by offering people ghee to help her. In all these years, Daphia remembered the names of her siblings and that the place where her family lived had a lot of peacocks.
This information helped in tracing Daphia’s family. A Pakistani YouTuber Muhammad Alamgir had shared a video of Daphia last year asking if anyone knew anything about her family. Alamgir came to know about her from his friend Munawwar Ali Sheikh who knew Daphia’s grandson Naseer Khan.
Kidnapped and Converted after Partition
Her family belonged to the Meghwal caste and used to shuttle between Bikaner and the part of Punjab which went to Pakistan after partition. After partition, her family chose to stay in Bikaner. But she was kidnapped, converted to Islam and married off. She gave birth to seven children. However, she kept looking for her family all these years. Daphia’s grandson said that she used to say that her siblings’ names were Alsu, Chothu and Mira and that her home town had a lot of peacocks. He said that she used to talk about her mamu’s (maternal uncle) wedding that she had attended.
The video of her story shared by Alamgir was spotted a by a Delhi-based man named Zaid Muhammad Khan. after watching the video, Khan decided to search for Daphia’s family. He shared her story on Facebook with some people in Bikaner particularly in Morkhana which he guessed since she used to talk about peacocks at her place. He even skimmed through publicly available revenue records looking for her siblings.
Khan came in contact with a person named Bharat Singh who runs a shop in Morkhana. Singh started looking for Meghwal families who had lost many members during the partition. Finally, in the second week of September, he traced a family in Morkhana who had heard their elders talk about a sister who had gone missing during the partition. They searched for her for years. The family members of her sibling Chotu made a WhatsApp video call to her. The grandchildren of her siblings were elated to see her. The families exchanged photographs on phone.
Daphia has lost all her children except two daughters. With growing age, her desire to find her family grew stronger. According to her grandson Naseer, she used to keep repeating the name of Morkhana. Around 20 years ago, her family had taken her to Yazman Tehsil in Bahawalpur district in Pakistan wherein some Meghwal families still lived. He used to say that the elder members in that family would tell her that they were her brothers thinking that this would console her. They would even visit her in her town in Mailsi.
She was Sold for an Ox
Daphia had put out an advertisement in a local Urdu newspaper on Pakistan’s Independence Day, narrating how she was sold in exchange for an ox. “I belonged to a Hindu family. At the age of 13, during Pakistan’s independence, I was separated from my family. And then I was condemned to Bakshinda Khan who sold me off to Ahmad Baksh, son of Ghulan Rasool, for an Ox”, she narrated in the advertisement. Dalphia was married to Ahmad Baksh.
The advertisement further said that she was made to recite the Prophet’s word and was converted to Islam. She was renamed as Aisha Bini. She bore three sons and four daughters. She said that she used to she missed her family on Pakistan’s Independence Day and wished to meet them before dying. She is now waiting for a visa to travel to India to meet her family.