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30 Years On, Emotional Reunion For Brothers

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
30 years on, emotional reunion for brothers

http://epaper. hindustantimes. com/ArticleText. aspx?article= 13_04_2010_ 002_016&kword=&mode=1

LOST AND FOUND Elder sibling flies down after High Commission circulates their story in gurdwaras of Nairobi

If you thought that the lost and found formula works only in Bollywood, here's a real life story to prove you wrong.

It was an emotional moment when two brothers, both vic- tims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, lodged at the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society here were re-united with their elder brother after 30 years on Sunday. Both Balwant Singh (66) and his brother, Balbir Singh (70) were brought to the Pingalwara by members of a local gurd- wara in April 2009. Their only desire was to meet their Nairobi- based sibling, Ajit Singh Matharoo (80), an engineer who left their native place at Rayya way back in 1952 to work in a firm called Bhiman and Sons.

R.P. Singh of the Pingalwara reached out to the Indian High Commission in Kenya through an email in July 2009. “We received a reply from the com- mission on July 15 saying a majority of Indians living in Nairobi has moved out but they are still trying their best to locate Matharoo,“ he said.

There was a ray of hope. “The High Commission downloaded copies of the brothers' story and circulated it in gurdwaras in Nairobi,“ Pingalwara chief Dr Inderjit Kaur said.

Matharoo's daughter, who is married in Nairobi, happened to come across a copy and called up the Pingalwara. “Two months ago, she called to check the veracity of the report. Then she informed her father, who had moved to London and things began falling in place,“ R.P. Singh said. Matharoo couldn't believe his luck and called up the Pingalwara. Finally, he flew down to Amritsar to meet his long lost brothers. “I had moved out of my parent's house when I was barely 16,“ Matharoo said, adding that the last time he had seen his brothers was at Balbir's wedding three decades ago. “I will be taking my brothers to our ancestral home near Rayya,“ he said, looking on proudly as his brothers flaunted the watch- es he gifted them.

“It's a new lease of life for us,“ Balwant said fighting back tears, while Balbir just smiled.

Matharoo may not be in a position to take his brothers back to London with him due to stringent visa restrictions, but he has vowed to send monetary help for them at the Pingalwara. Lost families in Bhopal gas leak Brothers Balbir Singh and Balwant Singh lost their wives and two minor children each in the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984. The brothers, both mechanical engineers who hailed from Amritsar district, moved to Bhopal and set up New Everest Engineering Company. They were not in town when the Union Carbide mishap took place.

Balbir's wife, Surjit Kaur, and Balwant's wife, Prem, along with their minor chil- dren died in the accident.

They could return only after the mass burial. By then, their houses had also been ransacked. They tried to start business afresh when tragedy struck again.

They were attacked by a bull and suffered multiple fractures in the legs.

They tried starting another ven- ture of submersible pump parts with the help of a Mumbai-based relative but said they were harassed by goons.

Finally, they returned to Amritsar last year. A local gurdwara brought them to the Pingalwara.


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