PM’s Childhood Classmate from Pakistan to visit India
………Hopes to meet PM Dr Manmohan Singh
BY RASHMI TALWAR
Amritsar May 18 , 2008————
Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh childhood classmate Raja Mohammed Ali from village Gah in Chakwal district of Pakistan has crossed his first and biggest hurdle in his dream to meet his class fellow in India .
He was recently granted a visa for a visit to India. Raja Ali talking to The Tribune here today from Pakistan said he said Allah has been kind to him and he was thrilled to be coming to India in May 2008 with a relative Mahmood Ahmed accompanying him. Earlier he had applied for visa but was refused on several occasions.
Raja Mohammed said he would be getting the ‘mitti’ (soil) , water and another “Tilley Walli Chakwali Jutti” for the Prime Minster .
Mohammed had earlier in March this year (2008) written a letter in Urdu (as he knows no other language) to Prime Minister and handed it over to a hindu jatha member visiting Katasraj Shrines in Pakistan.
In the letter to Prime Minister he wrote that he fervently desired to meet him and have a few moments to relive the memories of him and their other class fellows when they studied together in the ancestral village . He further wrote that because of him (PM) a lot of development work has been undertaken in their village and each person of village remembers him and sends their good wishes. He reminded the PM that he had earlier sent a ’tillay walli jutti’ for him and hoped that he must taken out some precious time from his busy schedule to have tried on the shoes . He acknowledged getting a letter from PM who had sent his regrets on the sad demise of their only girl classmate “Baqt Bano” and added that he was pleased that the PM had done higher studies.”God willing I will get a ticket to India in near future “, he wrote.
Recalling the time when he sent a tilley wali Jutti to the PM with the 29-member delegation of Pakistan local council that crossed over to India in August 2004, Mohammed said joyfully, “I had made the estimate of his (PM’s) foot-size from his television appearances that we collected together to watch in houses of friends and relatives in adjoining townships”.
The class mate said he studied from class I to class IV with Manmohan Singh lovingly called ‘Mohna’ by all, after which he (Mohammed) became a school drop out and took to agriculture with his father . He said that while Mohna was a studious one they were all upto tricks. He recalled a moment when ‘Mohna’ used to be deep in study and they used to quietly steal dry fruit from his pockets. “He knew our tricks but preferred to smile instead”. Mohna’s family were dry fruit agents in Gallah mandi.. “Mohna was very fond of marbles, gulli danda and often we used to play kabbadi”, recalls Mohammed.
Reminiscing the celebration in the ancestral village when Dr Manmohan Singh became the 17th PM of India, Mohammed says:” The whole village was agog with cries of sada Mohna Hindustan da wazir-e-azam ban gaya ….. The same year the blessings continued as the village was declared a model village by the
The village was doubly overjoyed when they received the first ever letter from the Indian ‘Wazir-E- Azam’ , said Mohammed and added ” The village had received the PM’s condolences through its Nazir (deputy commissioner ). The letter in Urdu was written in a very poetic style. The whole village had felt pride that a man from their village had risen so high in life but had not forgotten his roots and expressed his sympathies for one of them. The PM had written that he was moved by the present of a Tilley walli jutti sent to him by the people of his ancestral village.” .
The PM wrote :
“I am grateful to receive a copy of old school Examination result of my ancestral town along with a pair of Chakwali shoes. These traditional shoes reminded me of my childhood memories. I am very much thankful to you for sending these things which reminded me my past. A few years ago, I came to know that Ms Bakht Bano had passed away I was deeply shocked to hear this. If possible, please convey my condolence to her son Mr. Khizar Hayat.”………………………….eom