A Facebook post mentioning a village in Pakistan has led to two communities sharing their history.

The video features Bhagwan Singh who is talking about his childhood and youth in Pakistan.

He hailed from a small village called Bahowal, near the city of Gujrat in Pakistan and after partition he joined his family and other villagers as they left their home and headed across into India. Families settled in Ghuram just outside Patiala City and in Manewal, near Ludhiana.

In the video shared by his nephew Jatinder Singh Patiala, Bhagwan Singh can be heard talking about the village and surrounding landmarks. He also goes on to mention some of his friends from pre-partition India.

He had hoped that someone somewhere would see the video and it would help to bring two communities together separated by partition.

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Some of the Sikhs settled in Ghuram (Image provided by Jatinder Singh Patiala)

Bhagwan Singh was believed to be 88 when he died on February 17 and was a teenager growing up in 1940s India. His funeral took place on February 26.

Jatinder said, "He was my uncle and was known as 'Bahowalia Rab' and a much loved man.

"One day he started talking about a village named Bahowal. I said I don't know of any Bahowal but I will Google it. But we couldn't find any major details on it. So he mentioned other villages around it and still we had no idea if this was the one he was mentioning.

"So, I said Baba can you tell me something about the pind (village) and we can make a video and hopefully someone somewhere will recognise it and we can make contact with people from the village.”

Jatinder said the video was filmed two months ago and Baba kept asking if anyone had been in touch.

Jatinder said, "I had no idea if anyone would see it. Sadly he passed away recently. Just a few days later it seemed to have been picked up by someone from Bahowal.

"Then all of a sudden I started getting phone calls from across the world."

Soon after the post, the name ‘Bahowal’ had been recognised by Hamzah Sultan (the great grandson of Sultan Ahmed) who alerted others who had family in the village but living in the UK and America. They had been told by their parents and grandparents that many Sikhs had resided in the village and had for decades wondered what became of their former compatriots. 

Freedom fighters and military officers

Remnants of an old Gurdwara can still be found on the outskirts of the village the contents we have now learned were taken to the Gurdwara in Manewal.

Jatinder said, “Many of our ancestors travelled across India and we believe they hailed from Rajastan.”

They would trace their ancestry further back to those who lived under the reign of Amar Singh Rathore who was a Rajput nobleman affiliated with the royal house of Marwar.

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The journey the families would have made after partition

Among them was Gurdit Singh, military officer and freedom fighter Gurmukh Singh who fought to gain independence from the British empire long before 1947. Both ended up in Ambala jail and their lands taken by the British.

Jatinder also told of the famous Sikh Pehalwans (wrestlers), Harnam Singh and Barkat Singh.

Those who made the journey across the Punjab included Baba Bachittar Singh, Bhagwan Singh, Tarlok Singh. Gurmukh Singh, Molkha Singh, Chana Singh, Tara Singh, Hazara Singh, Barkat Singh and Mohinder Singh Lambardar.

Others travelled to Manewal, near Ludhiana and they included the families of Baba Sukhdev Singh Bedi, Beaunt Singh, Sudhager Singh, Rohar Singh, Bakhshi Singh and Bhaga Singh.

Soon contact was made from relatives in Blackburn, England and Jatinder, a history student who was researching his Rajput clan, told how those who had moved from the village were actually known as ‘Bahowalia’s,’ the very same term used to describe others in Pakistan who had moved away to Britain and the US!

Among those groups in Pakistan who were recollected were the Zaildars, Subedaars, Mehars, Bhagi Bharas, Baba Mhannis, the descendants of Baba Koda and the descendants of Sharaf Ali. Many reside in Blackburn, Lancashire whilst others in London and New York.

Images, of course, were hard to come by in an age when memories were shared through oral tradition.

One image of Ahmed Khan, a Blackburn bus conductor who came to the UK in the 1950s, was sent over in the hope someone would recognise him. Earlier, Ahmed Khan had joined the navy.

He was recognised and known to the Sikhs as one who had gone off to join the navy. And also someone who knew of the knowledge of the Sikhs history.

From Pakistan, one of the last surviving women from the era, Sardar Begum now aged 92, filmed a short message to be sent across the border. In it she describes some of her Sikh friends she played with as a child and her favourite store run by a Sikh family.

Another video from the village filmed by Riaz Ahmed gave a short tour of the village and through the narrow alleyways. Here, an old section of the Gurdwara remains still standing next to the Mosque.

The video was played to those who still remembered the village as children and they were said to be overwhelmed by the footage they saw.

Video of Bahowal

Among those being mentioned was the grandad and great grandad of many Lancashire based descendants of those hailing from the village of Bahowal - Muhammed Ali whose grave reads was buried in 1949.

His grandsons (Aftab Ahmed, Nayab Ahmed, Riaz Ahmed and Nowaz Khan) would live in Blackburn and New York.

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Following the death of Bhagwan Singh a traditional gathering took place to mark his passing where others who had lived in Bahowal shared their memories. (Image provided by Jatinder Singh Patiala)

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In another fascinating video shared by Jatinder he speaks to Mohinder Singh who remembers some of the people he knew from the village when he was growing up.

Mohinder Singh also told of how Sikhs and Muslims would play together, farm together and eat together. He tells of the heart wrenching moment families had to lock up their homes and make the 14-day journey across to reach India.

It is now hoped that both communities and families will visit each village in the near future.

Jatinder said, “The point of sharing the news was we wanted to have some links with the village. And secondly, for this generation and the one to come will know about their history and ancestry here and across the border.”