This is the sordid saga of a man, Sarbjit whose destiny was penned by two warring nations. A simple man, a farmer, a wrestler, a son, a husband, a father and a brother, whose only misfortune was that he was an Indian who strayed in to Pakistan. Incarcerated for 23 years, in a 4ft by 5ft cell…his life became a daily struggle to retain his sanity…to keep the memories alive, to fuel the hope everyday…bereft of human kindness or company…he breathes…he lives. His only solace lies in his sister, Dalbir, the woman who refused to give up. For 23 years, she fought to have her voice heard, knocked on every door, crashed every government bastion, shifted politics, influenced policy decisions…she ran on sheer grit and will power, faced disappointment after disappointment. But she knew that it was her fighting spirit which kept her brother alive.
India- Pakistan relations soured and prospered through, the Kargil War, attack on Indian parliament, Mumbai attacks…acts of terrorism, bombings and executions. Yet she persevered, the name Sarbjit was kept alive, for 23 years. His two daughters, who had not even a glimmer of memory of their father, lived in the comfort that whole nation was with them in their loneliness. Dalbir made that possible.
Tears were shed to move governments, starve to death campaigns sprouted all over the country, the nation united, came together, to join one sister in her struggle to get her brother back home. SaveSarbjit mission brought to light the plight of 100’s of prisoners who are languishing in jails, Pakistani and Indian both. Dalbir was the voice of those mothers, sisters and wives and children, who have lost their loved ones to an inane enmity lasting over 60 years.
Sarbjit came back to us in a coffin…but would we ever be able to return smiles across borders? Would Sarbjit’s saga ever ensure that even one family would get their festivals back?
A sister fights on.