40 years later, a 66-year-old Manipuri man has finally returned home and reunited with his family in Imphal on Thursday.
Khomdram Gambhir, who is now 66, left his home in Imphal in 1978 when he was just 26-year-old. His family and friends hadn’t heard from him for nearly four decades until they saw a YouTube video of him singing some old Hindi songs.
The video of him singing was recorded on the streets of Mumbai by Firoz Shakir, who shot the video and uploaded it to Youtube in October last year. In the video, Mr. Khomdram introduces himself as Khomdram Gambhir from Imphal, Manipur, which caught the attention of the neighbor.
The family members thought it could be their missing Khomdan and approached the Imphal police, which got in touch with their counterparts in Mumbai.
“They sent a photo of the young Singh to us. Based on that, we located the person at the Bandra railway station and brought him to the police station,” said a police official.
“He was making money as a beggar singing old Hindi songs,” photographer Firoze Shakir told news agency AFP. Mr. Khomdram had also told him he was a construction worker and turned to alcohol after a couple of accidents.
“I began shooting him more as a case study than anything else…children would tease him on the streets calling him a Nepali and he would shout back at them, saying he was a Manipuri, an Indian and not a Nepali,” Shakir told PTI earlier.
“He would regale the people on the streets with old Hindi songs. I would sometime buy him snacks or give him money…He took a liking to me as I shot his pictures,” he said.
Shakir said: “He once told me he was in the Army which he left when his father died. He came back to his hometown to till their farms. Due to some misunderstanding with his brothers, he left Manipur,” the photographer added.
Mr. Shakir’s video, which has gone viral, has now led him back home. The Mumbai photographer even posted a video and photos of Mr. Singh’s emotional homecoming. “I have received all his pictures videos from his well-wisher fans they want me to be a part of an unending story called Gambhir Singh Lost and Found Ghar Wapsi,” he said on Facebook.
“This story is a ray of hope. If a video can change a man’s life there can be no bigger miracle than this,” said Mr. Shakir.