Eleven-year-old Shaheen Parveen and her cousin Anam Parveen are besotted by the latest entrant at Jamia Millia Islamia. So is 68-year-old Shamsher Hassan.
The newest addition, a MiG 23 aircraft, to the Department of Engineering at the university, is proving to be the biggest draw for the residents of Jamia Nagar and neighbouring Okhla.
“We love to come here and see the plane. Everyone in our family comes here during the day to catch a glimpse at least once,” said Shaheen.
Ten-year-old Samia Rizvi and her seven-year-old brother, Aslam Rizvi, were hanging onto the fence to see the aircraft clearly. “Our father has gone to buy petrol. We wanted to see the plane so he left us here. He will pick us up on his way back,” Saima said.
“College ke bahar toh pure din logon ka tanta laga rehta hai, ekdum mele ki tarah (people crowd around the college fence all day long, just like a fair),” said Hassan, a vendor outside the varsity.
The discarded aircraft was presented to the university last week by the Jalandhar Air Force Station.
“We got the aircraft from the Air Force after a long wait of two years. One of our former students had asked us to apply for it,” said Sayed Sikander Nabi, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology.
The fighter plane was brought to the campus in three parts. It took five days and 20 people to assemble it outside the Engineering Department.
The aircraft is guarded round the clock by three guards. “People keep coming to see the plane all day long. Children try to touch it and climb on it,” said Sumer Singh, a guard.