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Indore’s first collector: Centenarian recalls ‘days of development’

indore Updated: Mar 27, 2016 18:30 IST
Divya Raje Bhonsale
Divya Raje Bhonsale
Hindustan Times
Indore’s first collector

While Thakur Narayan Singh supports change, what saddens the centenarian is the way Indore has evolved. (Shankar Mourya/ HT photo)

It is not every day that you meet a person who has completed a 100 years of his life and remembers everything clearly, right from the day when he was a young collector.

Meet centenarian Thakur Narayan Singh, the first collector of Indore.

On his big century, Thursday, Singh spoke with Hindustan Times about Indore, corruption and women’s empowerment since his days as a collector.

Reminiscing the days of his youth when he went abroad to study law and returned as a law graduate to become the first collector of Indore, Singh speaks of change as he looked around the room full of his grandchildren.

“Change will always go on. People change, ideas change, even political affiliations change. There is nothing that can stop change from occurring. It is the essence of life,” the former collector said sipping on whisky.

“Things were a lot different in that era. The areas under a collector were much larger than they are now,” he said.

“Collector was a person of great importance, and still is, but the jurisdiction and power were far more than they are today.”

While Singh supports change, what saddens the centenarian is the way Indore has evolved.

“There is nothing to be proud of (with the way Indore has changed). They call it (Indore), a smart city. It is all a play of words. Soon, you will hear somebody calling it as a super smart city,” he said with disappointment as he attacked the root of growing corruption in the country.

“Corruption is nothing but a reflection of the people’s morals. It (corruption) is the most talked about topic; it will never end. In my day, the scope of corruption was negligible. The focus used to be on development and upliftment of the city and the country.”

Sharing revolutionary ideas and ideals of people who have influenced his life, Singh spoke of women’s empowerment and his father.

“My father was an outstanding person and a visionary. In that pre-independence era, he sent me abroad to study law. But what is more important is that he gave equal importance to my sister’s education as well,” the centenarian said.

“My sister completed her postgraduation and became the first lady faculty at the Daly College. I was taught to treat women as equals and I have passed that to my children and grandchildren,” said the centenarian.