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Family History

The Story of Sharf Din
And Roots of the Chohan Family

Anjum Chohan and Sameer Zulqurnain passionately delve into our family’s historical journey, tracing back to the Indian subcontinent from the early 1800s. Their mission centers on digitizing our expansive family tree, meticulously gathering precise biographical details for each member. This rich archive navigates our sprawling family landscape, now scattered across great distances.

Realizing the irreplaceable loss of wisdom with each passing generation, we stand at a pivotal moment. Safeguarding this treasure trove of information becomes imperative for the coming generations’ benefit.

Our family’s narrative intertwines deeply with maritime life. Early ancestors served as ‘Lascars,’ Indian subcontinent sailors on European ships from the 16th to the mid-20th century. Their return with newfound wealth inspired successive generations to seek fortunes at sea.

Our Heritage is rooted in the villages of the Dadyal region of Azad Kashmir. Villages like Old Dadyal, Mora Heeran, Siakh, Arra Jaatan, and Ratta were the primary place of residence for most of our family. Our ancestral landscape shifted dramatically in the 1960s with the construction of the Mangla Dam. The dam project would place these villages under water and the people had to shift to other areas. The dam, situated on the Jhelum River and managed by Binnie & Partners of London, compelled our families to relocate predominantly to the urban areas of Mirpur in Azad Kashmir and the Dina region of Punjab. This shift came with compensation that fueled dreams of foreign travels.

The Mangla Dam Project also created opportunities for the people of Azad Kashmir to migrate to the UK. The lure of opportunities in the UK, especially in the textile and cotton industry, prompted a mass migration, initially planned as a temporary endeavor. However, settling in Birmingham and Oldham became permanent, marking a bittersweet farewell to our homeland, though visits to remaining family persisted.

A smaller faction of relatives set sail for the US, primarily settling in Chicago, while some maintained their ties to Pakistan. This global migration weaves a tapestry of our family’s history, reflecting worldwide shifts and personal ambitions that sculpted our lineage.

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