Eighty-two-year old Surat Singh Chauhan completed the third day in quarantine at a remote village Jestwari in district Uttarkashi on Tuesday. His dramatic entry in his home state, after six decades and that too in the time of Coronavirus pandemic, has surprised all. Not many times Bollywood film like turn take place in real life. On the coming days, when Surat Chauhan will complete his quarantine and walk a distance of about 300-400 Mts to reach the house, which he abandoned long back, the short journey is going to be a special one for the old man. Highly emotional to be more precise!
Surat Singh Chauhan disappeared from his native village, over sixty years back when he was 18. His wife Bugna Devi and two small kids were devastated with the family head going missing. For several years they made efforts to trace the absconding member. The family used to get occasional information about Surat Chauhan living at Solan in Himachal Pradesh. But, they failed to track him and Surat also made no efforts to return to his native village.
After lockdown, Uttarakhand government started bringing stranded migrants to their home state. One day Uttarkashi administration received a call from Solan in which they informed that an elderly man is stuck here and wants to return to the hill state. Chinyalisaur Tehsildar Virendra Singh Rawat said, “The Solan administration staff told me that the person claims he is from Dharshu. When I gathered information from Dharshu, the village declined to know anybody by that name. I made a call to Solan and interested with Surat Singh Chauhan and in the conversation, he mentioned his village name as Jestwari.”
After the village was identified, Chinyalisaur Tehsildar established contact with Jestwari village head Ajaypal Chauhan, who served him a bombshell by claiming, “Yes, my grandfather’s name is also Surat Chauhan and he remains missing since sixty years.”
Surat reached Chinyalisaur on 17 May and finally reached his native village Jestwari on Monday. He is in two-week quarantine at government intermediate college in the village. The sudden arrival shocked 78-year-old Bugna Devi and she even stated that the man who abandoned them in a crisis situation is not welcome. Big confusion prevailed and brother Veer Singh and other villagers made identification of Surat Chauhan.
Ajaypal Chauhan said, “There is a common consensus among our family members to welcome my grandfather. Though my grandmother has some reservation, which is genuine to some extent, we all are accepting him as member of the family.”
Nobody knows much about the life spent by Surat Chauhan in Himachal Pradesh. How he managed to make a living? Things he did there! But, it is assumed that he faced crises after lockdown and decided to return to Uttarakhand with unfriendly condition prevailing for him in Solan. All eyes will be on 30/31 May when the old man will walk from the quarantine centre to his old home. Ending the sixty-year long wait of his family members!