Geeta arrives home after 13 years in Pakistan

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Geeta arrives in India, will be reunited with her family after DNA test.

NEW DELHI – Some 15 years after she strayed across the border in a train and was stranded in Pakistan, speech and hearing impaired Geeta made an emotional return to India on Monday to be reunited with her family.

The return of deaf and mute Indian girl Geeta from Karachi has forced the Indian media to talk about this foundation and its noble deeds, which is a household name in Pakistan. Geeta, now 23, was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by Pakistani Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. (Source: AP) Geeta’s father, Janardhan Mahato, told The Indian Express before leaving for MEA: “Hira loved to get photographed as a child. Some say that after Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, India-born 87-year-old founder of the Edhi foundation Abdul Sattar Edhi is the second most revered personality in the history of Pakistan.

Then we didn’t have camera. what is happening today is destiny. (Source: AP) Indian national Geeta, right, displays her family photograph to Faisal Edhi, head of Edhi Foundation in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015. Before boarding the flight in Karachi, a beaming Geeta, clad in a red and white shalwar-kameez, used sign language to thank the Pakistani people for hosting her and caring for her. Faisal Edhi told journalists that they would stay in touch with Geeta through social media and even visit her. “She is not really separating from us,” he said. In an article for ‘The Telegraph’ in 2011, he writes, “In the course of my duties as a reporter, I have met presidents, prime ministers and reigning monarchs.

The foundation said that it had got an assurance from Indian authorities that its representatives could remain in New Delhi till DNA tests to confirm Geeta’s parentage are completed. The family reportedly is from Bihar. “This is my father, and my younger brother,” Geeta told the media through a combination of sign language and facial expressions as she pointed to the photograph. No Pakistani since Jinnah has commanded the same reverence, and our conversations were constantly interrupted as people came to pay their respects.” Highly motivated and selfless, Edhi has set up centres all over Pakistan in the last 60 odd years.

We thank both the countries for their efforts to unite Geeta with the family,” Vinod Kumar, who says he is her brother, told journalists as he waited at the airport to greet her. Later he was shocked to discover that the Memon’s foundation’s charity works were restricted only to Memons and they did not bother about other unfortunate people. According to Peter Oborne, he left the Memon foundation to set up a small medical centre of his own, sleeping on the cement bench outside his shop so that even those who came late at night could be served. Nevertheless, an elderly lady gave him a pair of gumboots the next day, two sizes too large, and Edhi wobbled about in them for the remainder of his journey. He was offered a job but refused, telling his benefactor: “I have to do something for the people in Pakistan.” On return from Europe, his destiny was set.

He would hurtle round the province of Sindh in his poor man’s ambulance, collecting dead bodies, taking them to the police station, waiting for the death certificate and, if the bodies were not claimed, burying them himself. Edhi’s autobiography, published in 1996, records that he recovered these stinking cadavers “from rivers, from inside wells, from road sides, accident sites and hospitals. When families forsook them, and authorities threw them away, I picked them up… Then I bathed and cared for each and every victim of circumstance.” There is a photograph of Edhi from this formative time.

And it is indeed the case that parts of his profound and moving autobiography carry the same weight and integrity as great poetry or even scripture writes Oborne. A furious Edhi responded, “Who can declare an infant guilty when there is no concept of punishing the innocent?” He placed a little cradle outside every Edhi centre, beneath a placard imploring, “Do not commit another sin: leave your baby in our care.” Edhi has so far saved 35,000 babies and, in approximately half of these cases, found families to cherish them. To this he said, “Beware of those who attribute petty instructions to God.” But Edhi’s vast moral authority forced even the Pakistan’s most corrupt politicians accept him as a living saint. According to an article in ‘Telegraph’, Edhi was suspicious: “I represented the millions of downtrodden, and was aware that my presence gave the required credibility to an illegal rule.” Travelling to Rawalpindi to speak at the national assembly, he delivered a passionate denunciation of political corruption, telling an audience of MPs, including Zia himself: “The people have been neglected long enough. “One day they shall rise like mad men and pull down these walls that keep their future captive.

Mark my words and heed them before you find yourselves the prey instead of the predator.” Edhi did not distinguish between politicians and criminals, asking: “Why should I condemn a declared dacoit [bandit] and not condemn the respectable villain who enjoys his spoils as if he achieved them by some noble means?”, writes Oborne. According to his close aides, although Edhi has a traditional Islamic background, he has an open and progressive mind on a number of sensitive social issues.

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