At the age of 110, Sarwan Singh, a resident of Bassian Bet, Ludhiana, stood tall to cast his vote. With his striking memory, he still reminisces how he voted for the first time in 1960 by putting a mark on the candidate’s name on the ballot paper.
Singh claims to be the oldest voter in Ludhiana constituency and probably in the entire state. He was first among his family to vote. One of his great grandsons got married recently and Sarwan wished to see his fifth generation as well.
He said the village had seen a lot since he was born. “I worked on the crucial Sidhwan canal in 1947. I used to earn four annas (25 paise) a day to work on this canal. I have also seen the time when I used to earn 10 per month as a daily wager.”
Sarwan has seen his village transfor m from a completely bar ren land to a prosperous area. Most of the inhabitants of the village now have fields.
“I have voted to see a change in my village. I want that youths of the village become more educated and literate. Education should not be a right of only rich, but even of poor people,” he said.
“There was a time when very less wheat was grown in Punjab. At that time we used to mix little wheat in gram flour. We could get one quintal of corn of 1” Sarwan recalls.
Sarwan’s house is located in Dakha assembly seat of Ludhiana, near Khanjerwal village where a golf course is coming up in a township with ultra-modern villas.
Sarwan has also seen the Partition of India and Pakistan. He remembers as to how people used to tell the tales of gory acts committed by religious zealots in Pakistan.
Sarwan also has a brother, who is 100-year-old and is bed ridden due to illness. The youngest member in his family is his great grand-daughter 17-yearold Jaswinder Kaur.
Sarwan’s son Harnek Singh, 72, helps his father to walk from one place to another. “My father went to cast his vote early in the morning, along with my son. He started telling since morning that he wants to go to vote as early as possible,” Harnek said.
While sipping tea, Sarwan said, “When I was young, no one used to drink tea. We used to have sweet water when we visited someone’s house.”