Ida Wilde was just 11 when 6-year-old Asgar Patel came to live with her family. The young boy and his older sister Kulsom travelled thousands of miles away from their parents in India and arrived on the doorstep of Ida’s family, in Glasgow, Scotland—cold and scared to be in a strange country.
Ida’s mom and dad, Greta and Jack Moreland, took the Indian children into foster care in their home.
“When they came at first we thought, how can any mum and dad send four kids like this to Scotland?” Ida told STV News.
Ida soon found out the reason and was shocked.
The children were escaping the violence during the Partition of India. The British split the territory into two separate countries divided by religions—the Hindus in India and Muslims in Pakistan—and then quickly left them to independent rule. That was in 1947.
Families that had lived peacefully together for hundreds of years while following their own religion, turned viciously against each other in the huge upheaval—it was a bloodbath that saw up to 2 million killed and millions more migrated to the new countries.
Asgar’s father was a successful businessman during the days of the British Raj in India, accumulating his own wealth before the fighting began. He feared it was too dangerous for his children in India. He sent his children to safety in Scotland—hoping they would be safe until he could bring them back home.
When Ida found out what Asgar had left behind, she knew his parents had done the right thing to send him to Scotland.
“You could see it a bit more when you saw all the horrible things that were happening in India and Pakistan,” Ida said, according to the Daily Record.
Asgar’s two other older brothers went to live with Ida’s elderly great-aunt, who was originally asked to foster all four children, but couldn’t take care of them all due to her old age, STV News reported.
Asgar stayed in Ida’s home for five years—the two became inseparable like brother and sister. He was one of the family.
“Kulsom got homesick and wanted to go home. Asgar would have lived here forever. Even when he went down south to go to school, he kept coming up at the holidays,” Ida told STV News.
“It was great having them to stay and they were happy kids,” Ida said, according to the Daily Record.
At last, it was safe for the Patel children to return to India. They left their adoptive families and went home.
It was a dreadful moment when Ida said goodbye to Asgar.
“We were heartbroken when he left. For five years we had been brought up as brother and sister and it was sad to lose him.
“We kept in touch for a while but we moved around and so did his family. Soon the cards stopped but I often wondered where he ended up,” Ida told STV News.
Ida lost contact with Asgar. She spent 60 years wondering what could have happened to her adoptive brother.
She was 83 when a Facebook message changed everything.
“Are you Ida Moreland?” it asked, coming from a 78-year-old Indian businessman. It was Asgar himself.
“It was just lovely to hear from him again. I couldn’t believe he had spotted my photograph after all these years—it was a miracle really,” Ida told STV News.
Asgar had been searching for Ida just as hard as she had been searching for him, but hadn’t been able to track down an address for her and her family.
It took a chance discovery on Facebook, when he recognized a picture of her in a family wedding photo, to finally discover how to reach out and reconnect—more than 60 years after he last saw her.
The two were overjoyed to find each other again.
It turned out to be a happy ending for the Patel family, as Asgar went on to meet with plenty of success in his own right after the fighting. Now 78 and living in Dubai, he is one of the richest men in India. He founded a transport company, Patel Roadways in his early years, and his estimated worth by 2013 (via Arabian Business) was around $615 million.
Ida was too thrilled to care, both about her brother’s riches and about how long it took to finally find him.
Asgar jumped on a flight to see Ida, now living in Irvine, Scotland.
“I hadn’t seen Asgar in so long,” Ida told the Daily Record.
The pair shared happy memories of their time as children together. And now as adults, they hope to keep in touch. Asgar has invited Ida to Dubai to meet his family.
Now Ida has reunited with her long-lost brother, there’s another happy ending to boot.
Watch the video of this happy reunion here: