At the age of 80 years, Noori breathed her last on 16 June 2020 at Rawalpindi (Pakistan). Noori, aka Jaswanti, born a Sikh, accepted the ‘Divine Will’ and lived as a devout Muslim!
Noori is my distant Aunt, whom I last met at Rawalpindi in 2018. I remember her being disappointed that I chose not to show her picture in the chapter, ‘Meeting Noori’ in the book, ‘LOST HERITAGE The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan’. My reason was well-intended, to protect her privacy.
Yesterday, while expressing condolences to her son, when I shared my above interaction with her, he replied, “It is because of her Sikh blood that even as a devout Muslim, she remained fearless of her past being judged!”
Jaswanti, five years old, was left orphaned when the tribals from Waziristan, following the partition of the Indian subcontinent, led a faith based genocide in the city of Muzaffarabad on 22 October 1947. A well-meaning local Muslim adopted Jaswanti, renaming her Noori.
Years later, in 1999, Noori reconnected with her cousin brother in India, whose family had migrated to Delhi in 1947.
She remained Jaswanti in India and Noori in Pakistan!
Today, I make her picture public. Here, during our first meeting at Rawalpindi in 2014, she is fondly prepares breakfast for me.
May Allah & Waheguru bless us all with the most profound lesson from her life – the acceptance of ‘Divine Will’.