Official unites with brother after 20 years with Facebook help

A Delhi-based central government employee’s 20-year-long search for his younger sibling finally ended on a happy note last week with help from social networking site Facebook.

Vijay in orange T-shirt with his younger brother Hansraj
Vijay in orange T-shirt with his younger brother Hansraj

The story, akin to a Bollywood drama, had its twists and turns before Vijay Nitnaware finally met his brother Hansraj.

Vijay Nitnaware, 48, who works in the library of Press Information Bureau here, last saw his younger brother Hansraj Nitnaware in May 1996, when he left the family without informing anyone as he was under stress after failing his matriculation examination.

“Hansraj was a good student in his childhood, but he felt disturbed after death of my mother in 1995. He left the house at the age of 15, days after he failed in the matric exam,” Vijay Nitnaware told media persons

Vijay Nitnaware said his father died when Hansraj, the youngest among the three brothers and a sister, was only nine months old.

The family, with Vijay as the eldest among siblings, hails from Wardha district of Maharashtra and was staying there when Hansraj left them.

Vijay said he registered a complaint with the police about Hansraj having gone missing. To his surprise, Vijay got a letter from his missing brother after 15 days. “Please don’t search for me. I am fine and will return only after doing something big,” the letter said.

Vijay said he was happy to know that his brother was alive but his hope to trace him dimmed a bit as the last two digits of the pin code of the place of origin of letter were not clearly visible.

“Through the first four digits, I got confirmation that the letter was sent from Gujarat. I then went to Gujarat, contacted some of my local friends and gave advertisements about his having gone missing in the local newspapers and some television channels. But all my efforts went in vain,” Vijay said.

Though saddened, Vijay did not lose his patience and went on searching for his brother. The family’s search for Hansraj continued even after Vijay and his other siblings got married.

Vijay also took to the internet and the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to search for his brother. In 2016, he contacted Facebook to seek its help in locating his brother.

Vijay said Facebook found one Hansraj in Pune, Maharashtra, and contacted him with his messages but the person refused to recognize him (Vijay) as his brother.

Despite the refusal to identify him as his elder brother, Vijay persisted with his search and requested Facebook to provide him details of some of Hansraj’s Facbook friends.

Vijay said the social networking site provided him details of six of Hansraj’s friends. While looking at the details, Vijay found three of them working with Toyota company at Bhosari in Pune.

Vijay contacted one of them through e-mail. The person contacted Hansraj and shared Vijay’s feelings but he again refused to acknowledge Vijay as his brother.

Vijay said he was confident that the Pune man was his brother.

“It was the evening of April 5. I was writing a mail to the manager of the Toyota company requesting him for details about Hansraj. I was just about to send the mail when my phone rang,” Vijay said.

“When I picked up the phone, it was Hansraj on the other end. There were not many words we exchanged… mostly we cried,” he added.

Vijay reached Pune on April 12 and returned to Delhi happily with Hansraj’s family.

Hansraj told Vijay that he went to Gujarat after leaving home. He said one day he jumped into a well to kill himself but was saved by a passerby who also helped in bringing him up over the next five years.

Hansraj later moved to Mumbai in search of a job and worked there at a Mahindra company showroom. At the work place, he fell in love with a colleague and married her despite her family’s objections to Hansraj’s background.

Hansraj told Vijay he had once worked as a driver of a Mumbai Police Commissioner and an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

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