Tale of Two Vil­lages

Views from Sri­na­gar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

knew Sharif’s fa­ther and re­calls his child­hood mem­o­ries. He has been to Lahore many times and en­joyed the hos­pi­tal­ity of the fam­ily.

Far from what is seen about Pak­istan in me­dia par­tic­u­larly the TV chan­nels, Jati Umra tells a story of unique bon­homie that hardly shows any inkling of a break up. For them it is a mat­ter of pride that Sharif’s rule Pak­istan. Them be­ing in power has brought Jati Umra on the de­vel­op­men­tal map and it sym­bol­izes the “cosy re­la­tion­ship” be­tween the two rul­ing fam­i­lies – Badals in In­dian Pun­jab and Sharifs in Pak­istani Pun­jab.

A visit by Shah­baz Sharif in 2013 changed the face of the vil­lage as the gov­ern­ment built a sta­dium, a wa­ter tank and laid out macadamized roads. The foundation stone in the vil­lage men­tions Shah­baz’s name. Lo­cals say that he wanted to do­nate a good amount for the works but could not do so due to some rea­sons. How­ever, the Prakash Singh Badal gov­ern­ment ex­e­cuted the plan to ful­fill his wish.

When Shah­baz was in Jati Umra in De­cem­ber 2013 he turned emo­tional and wished he was born here. “We sat on the cots and sipped hot milk served by the vil­lagers. My fa­ther was emo­tion­ally con­nected with this vil­lage be­cause ours was the only Mus­lim fam­ily in this Sikhdom­i­nated vil­lage,” he re­called when he ac­com­pa­nied his fa­ther to the vil­lage in 1979. “It was destiny that my fa­ther mi­grated be­fore Par­ti­tion and I was born in Pak­istan. Had my fam­ily not mi­grated to Pak­istan I would have been the son of this vil­lage”. Though vil­lagers take pride in own­ing the fam­ily, a well-kept grave of Mian Mo­ham­mad Baksh, great grand­fa­ther of Nawaz Sharif is the only sign of their be­long­ing to the vil­lage. “They were rich peo­ple and their warmth was un­match­able,” Gian Singh told me adding that it was their duty to look af­ter the grave.

When told that Nawaz Sharif was un­der go­ing surgery in Lon­don, the vil­lagers wished him speedy re­cov­ery with a hope to see him in Jati Umra some day. Like Jati Umra, a vil­lage in Chak­wal dis­trict of Pak­istani Pun­jab has also been in news for the same rea­son, at­tract­ing at­ten­tion from the gov­ern­ment.

But the news­pa­per re­ports sug­gest that the de­vel­op­men­tal projects taken by Pak­istani gov­ern­ment had been aban­doned there. Gah is the vil­lage where for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh was born. Singh’s school in Gah still holds an ad­mis­sion reg­is­ter and two of his re­port cards. The reg­is­ter shows his date of birth as Fe­bru­ary 4, 1932. Lo­cal vil­lagers said that Man­mo­han was called “Mo­hana” by his close friends in the vil­lage.

I had a cur­sory look at the vil­lage in 2012. The vil­lagers were happy that the de­vel­op­ment had knocked at their door af­ter Man­mo­han Singh wrote to the then Pres­i­dent Parvez Mushar­raf seek­ing his in­ter­ven­tion.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in Pun­jab built a de­cent

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.