He is his father’s son — concerned about his constituency and its people. But unfortunately for Muhammed Hamdulla Sayeed A.B., his father P.M. Sayeed is no longer around to savour his success.
Aware of ‘the legacy and inheritance’ from his father, Hamdulla minces no words when he analyses his father’s surprise defeat by a novice in 2004. “A little over confidence and lack of performance at the grass root level.”
A lesson learnt a very hard way, which possibly prompts this law graduate from Pune to speak of ‘development’ as the first thing on his agenda. He has plans for health, education, tackling unemployment, and sustainable tourism as he believes Lakshadweep needs tourism but “not at the cost of the sabotage of culture and traditions”.
Asserting that namaz brings discipline in his life and helps in concentration, the only son among seven daughters — all highly educated like him — calls himself a practising Muslim and says in a heavy Malayali accent that he tries not to miss any prayer.
A travel buff, the still single Hamdulla travels with friends and sometimes with family to the higher reaches of the Himalayas. “I like to go to the hills, specially Mussorie. I also like Srinagar,” he says and quickly adds, “But nothing is more beautiful than my Lakshadweep… clear azure water, pristine sands not to mention the coral reef.”
His opponents made an issue saying he could not speak the local dialect, Jarsi, similar to Malayalam. “If I had not been fluent in Jarsi, how do you think I interacted with people in the remote areas,” he asks sitting in a room filled with mementoes collected by his father over the years. Apart from Jarsi, Malayalam and Urdu, Hamdulla is fluent in English, thanks to his schooling from a reputed south Delhi school, and of course Hindi, which he is not very comfortable speaking.