Volume 9 : Issue 2

Published : April - June 2010

Group : And Life Goes On

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At Ulhasnagar, they’re all born on June 1!

By Yogesh Sadhwani

Children of the Partition, more than 10,000 people back then wrote June 1 as their birth dates so they could be admitted to school immediately

June 1 is a joyous occasion in Ulhasnagar. Over 10,000 residents in this area celebrated their birthdays on Monday. It’s no coincidence either.

While many must have been born on June 1 (in different years of course), for most of those who came to India after the Partition, it was just a matter of convenience.

During school admissions parents would mention the birth date of their children as June 1, as most documents had been left behind in their hometowns.

Businessman Laxman Bhambani said, “Back then we had all fled from our homes and come to several refugee camps all over the country. We did not have any documents to prove our birth dates.

When our mother went to school to get us admitted, the teachers there asked our birth dates. Since June 1 was the cut off date for age and hence most mothers or teachers wrote down that day as the child’s birthday

Bhambani celebrated his birthday on Monday. For him June 1 is not merely his official birthday, but also the day when his family comes together to celebrate it. “It has been my birthday ever since I was a child,” he said.

Hardas Makhija, ex-mayor of Ulhasnagar explained, “In any case, very few people had documents to prove their claims and not many school officials bothered to verify it.”

However, those born on June 1 get offended when asked what their ‘real birth date’ is.

“I was truly born on this day in 1958. I don't really know how and why so many birthdays are on the same day,” said Tarachand Jhamnani, a businessman.

Jhamnani celebrated his birthday with his spiritual leader Meherban Singh, who was also born on the same day. “My followers have always celebrated June 1 as my birthday. It is indeed my real birth date,” said Singh, who heads the Sant Baba Thaira Singh Darbar in Ulhasnagar.

Meanwhile, bakery owners in the area are not complaining.