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How this woman IAS officer became the real-life 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' for a family

Think Change India
19th Dec 2017
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IAS officer Preeti Goyal has become the real life ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ for a family, reinstating the faith of many in the power of the bureaucratic system. She has reunited a woman Anita with her family after 50 years of separation.

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Preeti, who is the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of Hooghly district in West Bengal, had heard from her neighbour Anita how the latter got married in 1967 to an officer from the Nagaland Army and came to Punjab. Anita belongs to the Angami Naga tribe and was only 14 years old when the wedding took place.

She got married to army officer Vakil Chand in 1967 who was then posted in Nagaland. In 1971, Anita came to Punjab along with her husband. After that, she never went back to Nagaland and her husband started a small business post his retirement. Unfortunately, he died and Anita got very lonely and began to miss her family in Nagaland. However, she could only remember her father’s name, and had a vague memory of a cinema hall close to her house.

Anita has two sons who made tremendous efforts to locate her family, but were unsuccessful. Preeti, who was Anita’s neighbour, had heard her stories many a time. To realise Anita’s dream and reunite her with her family, Preeti began her mission in 2014 to locate Anita’s parents in Nagaland.

After two years of failed attempts, Preeti was finally successful in reaching out to Anita’s family members in 2016. To achieve her mission, this IAS officer used all her resources and contacts in her network.

The first success was attained when Preeti got in touch with the police officer in charge of the Angami Naga tribe. The police officer got together with his team, and immediately arranged for a phone call followed by a video call for both parties.

When Anita talked to her family after 50 years, she kept crying for the first 15 minutes, and struggled to find words since it had been so long. Anita eventually decided to return to Nagaland to stay with her family. Anita’s granddaughter, Kamini Singla, considers Preeti to be their real life ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’.


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