On International Women’s Day, two Pakistani Hindu brides get to rejoin their husbands in India
Stranded in Pakistan due to strained relations between India and Pakistan, they have secured special visas enabling them to travel up to Wagah border from where they would enter India on Monday
This International Women’s Day is special for two Pakistani Hindu women. The two women, belonging to the Sodha Rajput family of Sindh province in Pakistan, will join their husbands after travelling from their village to Wagah border.
Married in 2019 to Indian Rajput youths from Jaisalmer and Barmer districts in Rajasthan, the two brides could not come with their husbands to India after marriage because they could not get visas.
The Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Ministry, to give relief to persecuted Hindus having Pakistani nationality, provide Long Term Visa (LTV) to enable them to cross over to India. Eventually, these persecuted Hindus, mostly belonging to the backward communities, are provided Indian nationality after seven years.
The two women in question have been given the LTV by the Indian consulate in Karachi, enabling them to travel up to Wagah border from where they would enter India on Monday.
They wanted to come by train that connects Munabao on the Indian side with Khokhrapar in Pakistan. But train services between the two countries were discontinued in 2019 owing to strained relations between them.
Another Pakistani woman married to an Indian who is the mother of an infant has not been granted visa, but the child and the child's maternal grandmother, who live in the Sindh province of Pakistan were granted visa. The child will now travel with the grandmother to India. However, efforts are being made to get the woman also on humanitarian ground to enable her join her husband and the child.
Naipal Singh, who is a Sodha Rajput and belongs to Jaisalmer district, married a Pakistani woman in Pakistan's Sindh province on January 26, 2019. Similarly, Mahendra Singh, who belongs to Barmer district went to Pakistan and married a Pakistani Rajput woman on April 16, 2019. They could not bring their wives as their visas were being processed. But after that, the relations between the two countries soured following the Pulwama attack and they had to return to India without their brides even after staying in Pakistan for four months. They could themselves return to India with great difficulty.
The third man, Vikram Singh, who got married to another Rajput woman and was blessed with a child named Rajveer Singh is travelling with his maternal grandmother Mor Kunwar.
A large number of Sodha Rajputs and Bhils and other backward community persons stayed back in the region that became part of Pakistan after the partition. There existed a Hindu kingdom named Amarkot in the Sindh province which was ruled by Sodha Rajputs. Amarkot is, incidentally, also the place where Emperor Akbar was born.
The ruling families were given the title of Rana and they had a very large kingdom spread in the Sindh province. The Rana family enjoyed political power also as two seats in the national Assembly of Pakistan and three seats in the Sindh provincial Assembly were reserved for the minorities.
Rana Chandra Singh, the late ruler of Amarkot, was a minister in Pakistan and his son Hameer Singh was a member of the Sindh provincial agency.
The rulers of Amarkot traditionally have their daughters get married in India as the royals as well as other Hindus find it difficult to find an ideal match for their sons and daughters in Pakistan.
In recent years, a large number of Hindus, facing persecution, have fled to India, travelling on the Long Term Visa. Under the amended Citizen’s Act, such persons are being given the Indian citizenship after seven years. Over 1,50 lakh persons since 1965 have been given the Indian citizenship.
A Large number of Hindus fled from Pakistan after the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak war. But in recent years, the flow of the Hindus increased due to religious persecution and forced conversions.