Saroo Brierley is an Indian-born Australian businessman, author, and public speaker who gained notoriety after publishing his autobiography, A Long Way Home. Lion, an Oscar-nominated Australian biographical drama film starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Sunny Pawar, and Rooney Mara, was based on this book.
Five-year-old Brierley was placed in an adoption home for missing children in Kolkata after becoming separated from his family in Madhya Pradesh, India. Sue and John Brierley, an Australian couple, later adopted him and brought him up in Tasmania.
Using Google Earth satellite photographs, he was able to locate his homeland in India 25 years later and was reunited with his family. He frequently tells his motivational narrative in front of sizable crowds at famous institutions and organizations all over the world.
- Also Known As Sheru Munshi Khan
- Age: 41 Years
- Mother: Fatima Munshi
- Siblings: Kallu, Shekila, Sheru
- Born Country: India
- Height: 5’10” (178 cm), 5’10” Males
Five Family Deaths
Sheru Munshi Khan, Saroo Brierley’s birth name, was Sheru Munshi Khan on May 22, 1981, in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, India. When his father moved in with his second wife, the boy was three years old.
His mother Kamala, a construction worker who subsequently adopted the Muslim name Fatima, barely managed to make enough money to support her three sons, Guddu, Kallu, and Sheru, as well as her lone daughter, Shekila.
By the time he was five years old, Brierley was going to the train station with his brothers to beg and scavenge for food scraps. On a crucial day, he pestered his 14-year-old brother Guddu to accompany him on a train ride to the 70-kilometer city of Burhanpur.
After arriving there, he was so exhausted that his brother left him to rest on a bench at the station before departing for a bit. But unbeknownst to him, his brother never came back and was murdered in a railway accident.
Finally, he boarded a train and traveled about 1500 kilometers from his home to the Howrah railway station near Calcutta (now Kolkata). Brierley was sent to the Indian Society for Sponsorship and Adoption after failing to return home, during which time he was able to count to 10 and learn neither his surname nor his place of birth.
More distance from home
Saroo Brierley was adopted by Sue and John Brierley, an Australian couple who had the option of having children of their own but chose to adopt instead. As luck would have it, Saroo Brierley relocated further away from home.
They brought him to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where he was raised alongside Mantosh, another Indian youngster who the Brierleys also adopted. He lost track of the little Hindi he knew as he began his study in English. But in 2007, he acquired a number of Indian acquaintances and started looking for his hometown while attending the Australian International Hotel School in Canberra to study management and hospitality.
Google Earth trace of his hometown
Saroo Brierley, an adult, developed a fascination for Google Earth and spent many hours over the course of three years retracing his steps from the Howrah station, frequently making use of his Australian girlfriend Lisa’s fast internet connection.
He just recalled playing at a fountain near the railroad lines in his village and that the station where he got lost had a first letter that began with “B.” Finally, on March 31, 2011, he was able to locate Khandwa through satellite pictures. He then joined a Facebook page for Khandwa to corroborate additional information.
He visited his homeland in India in February 2012 and asked about his missing family while displaying photos from his youth in Hobart. The locals soon succeeded in reuniting him with his mother, sister Shekila, a schoolteacher, and brother Kallu, a manufacturing manager, who had survived.
A Farewell to Home
In his memoir A Long Way Home, published in 2013, Saroo Brierley chronicled his quest to reunite with his long-lost family after 25 years. The book was well-received in India and Australia. The novel became an international hit and was even nominated for six “Academy Awards” categories when it was made into the 2016 movie Lion (which is based on his birth name, “Sheru”).
In the movie, the Brierleys were portrayed by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham, while Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar played adult and younger versions of Saroo, respectively. Brierley normally sees his relatives in India twice a year and maintains contact with them online, even though he later returned to Australia due to obligations to his adoptive parents.
He also sends his birth mother money frequently and bought her the house she had been renting. His adoptive mother once traveled to his homeland in India, although his biological mother preferred not to live in Australia owing to the stark cultural differences. Additionally, he once took the Kolkata Mail in first-class to Howrah to retrace his childhood route.
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