A typical news story about India’s bureaucracy doesn’t necessarily evoke positive emotions, but there are exceptions, and the Better India is premised on the positives.
This story is about IAS officer Dr Preeti Goyal’s efforts, far beyond the call of her duty, to help Anita find her family. The story of Dr Preeti, the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), Arambagh (District Hooghly, West Bengal) and Anita, will leave you feeling hopeful about the world.
Anita belonged to the Angami tribe in Nagaland. She got married in 1967 to Army personnel Vakeel Chand Singh, who was then posted in Nagaland. In the year 1971 Anita moved with her husband to Punjab and has never once gone back to Nagaland – that is forty-six long years.
After Vakeel Chand retired from the Army, the couple started a small garments’ business. Later he passed away, and Anita found herself pining for the family that she had left behind all those years ago.
Sadly, she could recall anything about her past, save for her father’s name and a vague memory of a cinema hall that she remembered as being close to her house.
Her two sons also tried their best but to no avail, reported DNA.
Preeti was Anita’s neighbour and had grown up hearing about Anita’s tales and family. She could not get Anita’s wish out of her mind and took it upon herself to help re-unite Anita and her family in Nagaland.
In 2014, IAS officer Preeti initiated the search for Anita’s family members in Nagaland. Two years, many dead ends and failed attempts later, Preeti managed to establish contact with Anita’s family in Nagaland.
“Preeti used all her resources and her entire network to find Anita’s family.”
“The first breakthrough came about a month ago when a batchmate of hers in Nagaland located the Angami tribe through a police inspector.”
She immediately mobilised people, located the family, and arranged for a phone call and then a video call. After both sides were satisfied, Anita set off from Punjab,” Kamini Singla, Anita’s granddaughter told DNA over the phone from Punjab.
At an age when everything is available at the click of a button, but people usually do not lift a finger to help their neighbours, stories like these truly are special.
Explaining her sense of happiness and gratitude, Anita told a local daily that for almost 15-minutes after the phone was handed over to her, she had no idea what to say to her brother. She couldn’t stop crying and thanking everyone for making this dream of hers a reality.
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