Creative Writing – 136
Comprehension exercise for senior students
Question Passage Source – The Washington Post
As Sikka Khan tells it, he was struck by tragedy, but also fortune, in 1947.
He was a 6-month-old orphan, the son of Muslim laborers caught in the chaos of India’s partition. Sadiq, his 10-year old brother, barely fled to Pakistan alive. His father died trying. His mother took her own life, leaving Sikka alone in this village. But he survived: The Singhs, a local family of landowning Sikhs, took Sikka in, fed him, and raised him.
In the ensuing years and decades, Sikka begged local Muslims migrating to Pakistan to look for his brother. Others helped him write letters to Delhi newspapers and later, on the Internet, to search for Sadiq. He never heard back, until fate struck a second time, on May 4, 2019.
Sikka was tending to animals in the Singh family courtyard when Davinder, the grandson of the man who took him in, rushed home to announce that Sadiq may have been found.
A farmhand who never owned a phone, Sikka recalled he didn’t understand the chain of people or the 21st century wizardry — a village leader in Pakistan, a YouTube channel, a doctor in Canada — that would put him face-to-face one day this month with the brother he lost in 1947. As he sat under a jujube tree, peering into Davinder’s smartphone, he didn’t even know if it would really be Sadiq, he recalled.
But then the screen lit up with the face of an 83-year-old man, and Sikka knew.
“I tried to look for you,” Sikka said.
Visas have been nearly impossible to obtain in recent years as bilateral relations plummeted, with the Indian government particularly reluctant to approve them. There was one last option for Sikka and Sadiq: They could meet at the Kartarpur Corridor, a visa-free passage established in 2019 that lets Indians visit a Sikh holy site, about three miles inside Pakistan.
1. What tragedy befell Sikka Khan’s family in the wake of India’s partition?
2. How was Sikka brought up?
3. How did Sikka try to trace his brother who had fled to Pakistan? When did the breakthrough come?
4. How did modern-day communication technology facilitate the spotting of Sadiq, Sikka’s elder brother?
5. What plans the two brothers hatch to meet up?
1. Sikka, then a 6-month-old baby, was orphaned when murderous gangs killed his father in their village inside Indian territory. His mother took her own life, and his elder brother, Sadiq (10) just escaped death by scampering to Pakistani territory crossing the border.
2. Sikka just 6 months then was lying alone in the village when a kindly Sikh couple picked him up and reared him. He grew up as a farm hand.
3. Sikka tried all possible means to contact his brother. He sent words through Muslims migrating to Pakista, wrote appeals to newspapers and later used internet to carry on the search.
4. Sikka, now a septuagenarian, left no stones unturned to trace and establish contact with his long-lost brother, Sadiq. Happily for him, communication technology had evolved by leaps and bounds in the mean time. The internet, Smartphones, Youtube, and social media enabled instant communication bypassing the un-impregnable border divide between India and Pakistan. Leveraging these, Sikka’s friends and family in India could trace Sadiq in Pakistan. The news of the racing of Sadiq was broken by Devinder to Sikka. Devinder is the grandson of the fosterfather of Sikka.
5. The frosty relations between Pakistan and India made getting a visa from Pakistan a near-impossible task for Sikka. To bypass this hurdle, the two brothers decided to meet up in Katarpur in Pakistan, where a Sikn shrine is situated. It attracts scores of Sikh pilgrims from India round the year. Restricted entry visas are easily made available by Pakistan to Indian Sikh pilgrims to come to Katarpur crossing the border. Taking advantage of this, Sikka could manage to reach Katarpur to meet Sadiq.