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Eager wait for Rahul Gandhi’s public rally

Hope of elusive development coming their way, makes commoners in Naxal-affected Ahraura in Mirzapur district of East UP wait eagerly for Rahul Gandhi’s today public rally.

india Updated: May 17, 2010 17:46 IST
Anuraag Singh

Hope of elusive development coming their way, makes commoners in Naxal-affected Ahraura in Mirzapur district of East UP wait eagerly for Rahul Gandhi’s today public rally.

A 67-year-old granny of five kids, however, awaits the young Amethi MP, for hooking the sweet ‘shrikhand,’ which enslaved the young Congress national general secretary’s granny Indira Gandhi, 32 years ago.

Eldest member of a long standing family of Congress loyalists, Champa Devi, still remembers the bear-hug given by Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1978, when the towering leader stayed at the house of Gupta family in Takia locality of Ahraura town for three hours and left only after relishing the lunch prepared by Champa Devi only.

“Indiraji, then unseated by Janata Party from the PM’s post was guest of our family, which is a true blue Congress parivar in 1978, after addressing a public meeting in Ahraura market. And before leaving for Robertsganj to address another public meeting aimed at bringing back Congress to rails, she relished the lunch at our house with leaders, including ex-UP CM’s Pandit Kamalapati Tripathi and Narayan Dutt Tiwari,” recounted Champa Devi, whose young son Anand is working day and night for Rahul’s maiden rally in naxal hit UP.

Reminisces the elderly lady with tears in eyes, “it was shrikhand (dessert prepared from yogurt and sugar), which won her heart. Where is the creator of this Shrikhand, please take me to her…was Indiraji’s request to my hubby Srinathji Gupta, who (despite heading a conservative family) took her to me, where she hugged me as gratitude and said thank’s for giving me the much needed sweetness in sour political times.”

With tearful eyes, Champa reminds, before leaving Indiraji promised to come back again, but sadly lived just six years thereafter.

And suddenly, Champa’s weakening vision glints as she tells the HT, “Soniaji has not visited us, but I hope Rahuli Gandhi will follow the memories of his towering granny and taste the shrikhand prepared by this old shabri (shabri was the devout who rendered Lord Ram fruits in wilderness). Please bring Rahul to me for having the taste of my shrikhand and blessings that he reaches even bigger political heights than his illustrious granny.”

Adds, Champa’s only son Anand (32), “it’s not only shrikhand which enslaved Indiraji that is etched in our memory, but also weighing Indiraji with coins equal to her weight (51 kg) which still adorns the walls of our living room.”

And it’s not only Champa and Anand, who are waiting for Rahul to land in Ahraura, but her two daughters, Sadhna and Bhawna, who have come with family from Mirzapur and Varanasi to catch Rahul’s glimpse and harbour a hope that Rahul too visits the Gupta household (big business family of Ahraura).

“I was just 15-year-old when Indiraji came to our house and hugged my mom. Now, I’m the mother of one daughter who is of same age and hope the young flag-bearer of Gandhi family also visits us,” said Sadhna.

Says Serajudding, Cong chief of Ahraura, “I’s just 20 years old when Indiraji visited and stayed with Gupta family for nearly three hours and hope Rahul too emulates his granny now to warm our hearts.”

But says Anand, Indiraji not only visited Ahraura in 1978, as my father (who died last year) often told me that she also visited Ahraura at the time of country’s partition and urged Muslims to stay in Ahraura and not leave for Pakistan.”

Seconds Serajuddin, “even we’re told by our elders about that and the result for all of us to see as Ahruara town alone houses 5,000 Muslims.”