An incredible work by author Nasim Hassan in uniting Harbhajan Kaur urf Shahnaz Begum with her long lost family in Pakistan.
Excerpt from the story:
“I am now 82 years old. My father Sardar Sher Singh was a landlord in Raja Sansi town near Amritsar. I was married to a Sardar Harbil Singh in Lahore in 1946. In 1947, while fleeing from Lahore to Amritsar our truck was attacked and the mob killed everyone except the girls. I was one of the surviving girls.
“After capture, a person named Afzal Khan married me and renamed me Shahnaz Begum. Afzal Khan was 16 years older than me. After marrying Afzal Khan I moved to Karachi and we had five children. The name of the kids are: Khurshid, Zubeda, Jamila, Bala (Iqbal) and Rizwan. Afzal Khan lived in Kola Godaam (Coal Depot) area of Karachi. He was in the cosmetic business.
“In 1962 the visa restrictions were relaxed and I decided to visit Raja Sansi. The two people who helped me were: Bashir Ahmed and Zahoor Ahmed in Akbari Mandi, Lahore. In fact their mother-in-law was like a godmother to me.
“So I proceeded with my husband Afzal Khan to Raja Sansi (Amritsar area) with my children. The youngest one, Rizwan, born in 1960, was two years old.
“In Raja Sansi, my parents did not allow me to go back to Pakistan but my husband Afzal Khan and children were sent back to Pakistan.
“In 1969, I was remarried to a Sardar Gurbachan Singh whose wife had died and needed someone to take care of his son Romy Singh who was then five years old. Romy Singh migrated to the USA in 1989. After Romy established his business, we moved to the USA in 1997 to join him. My husband passed away in 2007.
“Although I never revealed the story to my son Romy Singh, he found out from other sources. I am now 82 years old and Romy asked me if I wanted to contact my kids in Pakistan. Now they must have grown up and God knows where they live at this time."