AMRITSAR, India — For seven decades, Sudarshana Rani has ached to learn her younger brother’s fate. She was just a child when the communal bloodletting that surrounded Britain’s 1947 partition of India wiped out nearly her entire extended family. But in the paddy fields that became execution grounds, there was one body she did not find: that of her 5-year-old brother, Mulk Raj.
Ms. Rani, a Hindu, and an older brother were sheltered by a Muslim classmate’s family before they abandoned their home near Lahore, which became part of the new Muslim nation of Pakistan. In India, they built anew. The brother, Piara Lal Duggal, retired as a senior officer in India’s state bank. Ms. Rani raised children who are now doctors and bankers.
Yet her mind remained with the brother left behind. Had Mulk Raj made a run for it and survived? She has imagined him searching for her; she saw him everywhere and in everything. Even a family movie outing a few years ago became part of her long, quiet…
This article was written by Mujib Mashal, Hari Kumar and Zia ur-Rehman and originally published on www.nytimes.com