KARACHI: Geeta’s search for her parents is over. The deaf and mute girl, discovered at the Edhi Centre in Mithadar in 2015 following the release of the hit Indian movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan, has finally been reunited with her mother in India.
According to Bilquis Edhi, Geeta’s real name is Radha, and she had been in touch with her over the past weekend to inform her about her happy news.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan tells the story of a little girl, who cannot speak and who goes astray in India after wandering off a train on which she and her mother were returning home to Pakistan after paying respects at the shrine of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi. And out here, there was this real story of a girl who had somehow crossed over to Pakistan and was brought to the Edhi Centre as a lost child at the age of 10 or 11.
‘After observing her ways of touching feet, etc, I realised that she was Hindu. That’s when I changed her name to Geeta’
Since then she was being taken care of by Mrs Edhi. At first Mrs Edhi had named her Fatima as the child only referred to herself as ‘Guddi’. She had scribbled that name. “Then after observing her ways of touching feet, etc, I realised that she was Hindu. That’s when I changed her name to Geeta,” Mrs Edhi had told Dawn some five years ago.
She even used to take her for pooja to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on M.A. Jinnah Road but after they found themselves gathering too much attention, Mrs Edhi asked her to buy some Hindi deity posters and statues to make a home temple where she could pray in privacy. Being used to working with people with all kinds of issues, Geeta’s condition never caused a communication problem with Mrs Edhi, who could understand her quite well.
After the girl’s story became known in the media in 2015, arrangements were made by the late Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to have the girl flown back home. But even after she got to India, the search for her family continued. The Indian government and NGOs even ran DNA tests of people who were missing a daughter around the time Geeta was discovered in Pakistan but the tests didn’t match. Geeta herself, too, wasn’t sure about them.
But now Geeta has actually recognised her mother. She got in touch with Bilquis Edhi and told her all about it with happy tears. Her mother lives in Naigaon village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Through her, Geeta has found out that her real name is Radha Waghmare. Her biological father, Sudhakar, died a few years ago. Her mother, Meena has remarried.
The family is not rich and makes ends meet by selling clay pots. With her search over, Geeta, or rather Radha, who is around 27 years of age now, is not really looking forward to moving to the village. She is currently a student. She studies in class eight and wants to complete her special education before making any further decisions though she has shown the desire to find a job after that. “She may be living in another country now. But she is still a daughter. She still shares all her joys and sorrows with me despite the physical distance between us. And I will be with her on whatever decision she takes for herself,” Mrs Edhi told Dawn.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2021