Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s pet horse, a dusky four-year-old called Pawan, has been a star attraction at the famous Sonepur fair which is currently underway. It has a price tag of Rs 1.51 lakh but many customers still think it is a good buy. But there is this little thing that puts off prospective buyers. It understands only English and Bhojpuri while those who want to buy it are only comfortable with local languages like Magahi and Vajjika.
The horse is known to be pacy though a bit restless, which is why Lalu had christened it Pawan. There was another horse in his stable called Chetak, which had created several records at horse races. When Chetak died a few years ago, it came as a big blow to the then first family of Bihar.
Both the horses had been bought at the Sonepur fair and were known as the ‘king’s horses’.
“Pawan is a fine horse. In fact the best among the 18 up for sale this year,” said a fair organiser, who hastened to add that the price was a little steep. Pawan responds to commands like ‘stand up’, ‘sit down’, ‘run’ and ‘go faster’ but a wag was heard quipping that buyers will have to take English lessons first to make the horse do their bidding.
However, Anil Kumar Yadav, caretaker of Laloo’s horse, dismisses this out of hand. Yadav says he responds better than any other horse on offer at the fair. Why then is nobody stepping forward with a serious bid? “There is no jaldi (hurry). Pawan runs 1 km in 2 minutes and can go faster than a Bolero if the road is smooth,” he says. Surendra Rai, a wrestler and ace horse rider, was found trying Saheb’s horse. “Pawan is perfect,” he said. “I wish I had the money”.