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A mentally challenged Nepali returns home after three decades


KOLKATA, May 20 (IANS) Even as a Sherpa searched for Bengal mountaineer Piyale Pashak on the steep slopes of Nepal’s Mount Makalu earlier this week, the search was of another kind more than 1,000 kilometers away in a small town along the border between India and Bangladesh.

In Hingalganj in North 24-Parganas district of West Bengal, a group of people were busy trying to trace the family of a mentally retarded person of Nepali origin who was rescued from the streets.

Both stories have happy endings. While Piyali Pachak will return home to Chandernagore in West Bengal shortly after becoming the first woman from the state to summit Mount Makalu, Bir Bahadur Singh will return to his family in Nepal after three decades.

He may be mentally challenged, but Bir Bahadur Singh believes his grandchildren are waiting for his arrival. His son had already arrived in Hingalganj to facilitate his move to the Himalayan country with the help of the Nepal Consulate in Kolkata.

Sushanta Ghosh is a rich businessman in Hingalganj. He is also the secretary of the local merchants’ association. Ghosh has a passion. He watches over the homeless and tries to reunite them with their families.

He has succeeded in his endeavors on several occasions in the past. A few days ago, he spotted Bir Bahadur Singh and gave him shelter. The Nepali old man spoke and gave Ghosh the names of several locations, including districts, towns, and villages. Ghosh searched the network. All names were correct, but they are not related to each other.

Finally, he reached out to Ambaresh Nag Biswas, Secretary of the West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC) – an organization of dedicated radio operators who use their contacts and skills to reunite people with their families.

Once Biswas realized that the man was of Nepalese descent, he activated HAMs in Nepal. It didn’t take long to track down his village. Unfortunately, his home there was found locked up. The villagers recognized him but had no idea where his family was.

We have contacted the Nepal Consulate. The Consul General was very helpful and sent two officials to Hingalganj. After questioning him, the officials were certain that he was a Nepali citizen but that his family could not be traced. We went back to our friends from the HAM fraternity in Nepal again and they stepped up the search. Finally, his wife was traced. She recognized her husband immediately from the photo we distributed and told us how he disappeared,” Nag Biswas said.

Bir Bahadur Singh used to work in Delhi where he used to live with his son. The boy studied at a school in Delhi. More than 30 years ago, Singh fell ill and started in Kathmandu with his son. On the way, he apparently disappeared, leaving his son alone to fend for himself. His son told people the name of his school, and with their help, he was reunited with his mother. The boy is now working in Delhi. His wife and children live in Nepal with his mother.

“Pir Bahadur’s son was overjoyed when he learned that his father was still alive. He never doubted his father and always knew that the man must have suffered from some kind of mental illness so he left him alone. He applied for leave immediately and now he is The Nepalese consulate is also making arrangements for Bir Bahadur Singh to be taken to Kathmandu and reunited with his family,” Nag Biswas said, after completing another mission of mercy.

– Jans

jayanta / arm

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