Nothing can be more gratifying than being reunited with a long-lost family member, and this holds true for two brothers in Assam who were seeing each other after 46 years. This reunion took place during the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) updating exercise across the state. The heart-warming reunion was seen at NRC’s office in Titaguri, 7km from Kokrajhar where the Sutradhar brothers were asked to appear for verification.
Separated when they were children and living in ignorance of each other’s whereabouts for more than four decades, Sukleswar Sutradhar and his cousin Bipin Sutradhar were gripped with emotions when they met on Monday in the presence of family members and NRC officers under the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD). Many years had passed, but the two brothers greeted and hugged each other like they had always been together.
“I was asked to appear at the NRC office today at 9 am. And so was my brother. He had not forgotten me, though he did not remember my name. It’s unbelievable for both of us, and we are happy to be reunited,” said Sukleswar Sutradhar.
While one mentioned his grandfather’s name in his Legacy Data, another could only manage to furnish his Voter ID Card for verification, but now they have something more to add to the record – against the grim reality of family disintegration, this reunion has given birth to a whole new family tree.
Hailing from Boruanguri village in Bijni of BTAD’s Chirang, it has been an arduous journey for the two brothers since their childhood. After his parents passed away at the age of four, Sukleswar Sutradhar (53) had spent his years in and around Kokrajhar town as a homeless boy. Doing menial jobs, he grew up in different households and finally settled in South Hekoipara village of Chandrapara area near Kokrajhar town where he now lives with his wife and four children.
Bipin Sutradhar (47), on the other hand, lived with his grandmother after his step father’s death. At a young age, he moved out of Bijni in search of jobs and landed in Dhemaji, north of the river Brahmaputra. Among the many similarities he shares with his brother, Bipin too is blessed with four children.
“Bipin was my uncle’s son. I lost him when I was only a child. Growing up in the seventies, I remember doing my first job for only 50 paisa. I don’t remember what happened to our parents. With no tree stump, it was inevitable that the branches would break away,” said Sukleswar.
Recalling dim memories of their days together, Sukleswar said he is thrilled to be reunited with his younger brother.
“I remember we would go out together and longingly look at people riding bicycles. Someone said the cost of a bicycle is Rs 140…I stood astonished,” said Sukleswar.
The two families had a reunion meal together, catching up on old times. The children were amazed to see the two brothers talk like there’s no tomorrow.
“I am happy to meet my brother after so many years. I never thought I would see him again. What if we would have died not knowing that we have each other? Our children now have found someone to call their own,” said Bipin Sutradhar.
(With inputs from Hantigiri Narzary)