101-year-old Pakistani Hindu becomes oldest person to get Indian citizenship
On Friday, a centenarian Pakistani Hindu was awarded Indian citizenship after a 12-year-long wait. At 101 years of age, Jamuna Mai became the oldest person of either sex to have been granted citizenship in India. She had moved to India in 2006, and had been living in a small hamlet in Jodhpur, awaiting her citizenship in the country. Here's more on her incredible journey.
A bit about India's newest citizen
Mai was born in 1918 in the Punjab province of undivided India. For the longest time, her family's only source of livelihood had been farming on a zamindar's land in the Rahim Yar Khan district of the Punjab province in Pakistan. For decades, her family suffered the exploitation landless laborers usually go through - long working hours, low wages, and no holidays.
The demolition of the Babri Masjid made life hell
Despite the dismal working conditions, her family continued to live and work in Pakistan. However, in 1992, the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya altered her family's relationship with Muslim landowners and neighbors overnight, and living in Pakistan became increasingly difficult for the Hindu family. In 2000, they decided to leave Pakistan, and in August 2006, Mai's family arrived in India on a religious visa.
Even after moving to India, Mai's family suffered a lot
Even after moving to India, the family's troubles did not stop. Their hopes of being accepted by their community, the Meghwals, proved only a pipe dream - they were denied work or accommodation in the initial years after migrating. Law enforcement agencies in India, too, had never-ending questions for them. In fact, at one point, they even considered going back to Pakistan.
Mai is now hopeful about her family getting Indian citizenship
However, when her Indian citizenship got cleared and came through on Friday, Mai and her family could not contain their happiness. She danced with one of her sons (the other is still in Pakistan) and shared sweets with her family to celebrate the momentous occasion. Speaking to TOI, she expressed hope about the rest of her family receiving Indian citizenship soon.