New Delhi: Geeta, the young speech and hearing impaired woman in her early 20s, is finally back in India returned after being stranded in Pakistan for 13 years.
Known as Mother of Pakistan, Bilquis Edhi had a message for Bollywood. “It seems they took our story for that movie,” referring to a movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan, she said on Monday to a highly amused press contingent at the ministry of external affairs.
Geeta was found lost in Lahore at the age of eight. She was taken in by the philanthropist Edhi family, headed by Bilquis; a nurse by profession after numerous attempts to place her at shelter homes in Lahore failed and has been taking care of her since 2003.
India witnesses a number of religious ceremonies have been organised in different parts of the country by Hindu hardline groups, close to PM Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A number of incidents of violence, harmful to religious freedom took place by the Hindu fanatics.
But it was Bilquis Edhi who named her Geeta after realizing the young child by her mannerisms and praying habits.
“We first named her Fatima but she used to ask for a prayer bell, then we realised she is Hindu,” Bilquis Edhi said at a press conference in New Delhi today (Oct. 26). “We never ask anyone to convert their religion.”
As per reports, Sushma Swaraj gave her “heartfelt thanks” to Bilquis for not only giving “a mother’s love to India’s daughter” but also not forcing her to change her religion and stressed on the freedom of religion given by the Edhis, who bought Geeta idols of Hindu deities such as Krishna, and a prayer bell.
“Bilquis told me Geeta prayed everyday,” said Swaraj, “she never once touched meat, and only ate vegetarian food that the family cooked.”
The Edhi Foundation—a 64-year-old charity organisation had helped nearly 40,000 children and rehabilitated over 50,000 orphans in Pakistan.
The husband-wife duo of Abdul Sattar Edhi and Bilquis Edhi counted amongst Pakistan’s foremost philanthropists was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1986 for their service they have done in Pakistan.
The Foundation, as per the data claims runs the world’s largest ambulance service and has their presence across Europe , the Middle East and Africa ,the US but is famous for having remained humble and simple in their daily lives.
(With inputs from dna)