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Shabana lights up abba’s village

Shabana Azmi is upset over ‘mischievous reporting’ that she is going to Delhi to support Baba Ramdev.

entertainment Updated: Jun 04, 2011 15:33 IST
Hindustan Times

Shabana Azmi is upset over ‘mischievous reporting’ that she is going to Delhi to support Baba Ramdev. “All I said was that any public figure who addresses the issue of corruption should be welcomed, including Ramdev,” she clarifies.

The internationally- acclaimed actor is currently upbeat to be part of NDTV’s annual Greenathon initiative, ‘To light a billion lamps’, in father Kaifi Azmi’s native village, Mijwan. The village has been included by TERI, an organisation powered by Nobel laureate RK Pachauri, and will soon be shining bright in the light of solar lamps. Shabana will be on the channel at 10 pm tonight, making an appeal to donate generously to the ‘green’ cause.

Ask her about her memories of Mijwan and Shabana recalls the dark nights on the terrace or the lawn, with abba, ammi (Shaukat Kaifi) and the jugnus (glow worms), lying on a bed smelling sweetly of mogras (jasmine flowers) her mother had strewn on them. The only light came from flickering kerosene lanterns and the bright stars in the sky.https://www.hindustantimes.com//Images/edstoryImg/271009/shabana-azmi-big.jpg

“It’s easy to romanticise those memories, but I know how important electricity is to the farmers of this village of 540 people in UP. They got their first tubewell when abba retired there, after his paralytic stroke, and installed one,” she says.

The farmers need electricity to operate tubewells as they can’t be dependent completely on the rains. Solar power is a good option in a country that ranks 14th in the world as per individual consumption per unit of electricity. “If we moved one up, the ozone layer would be depleted. Solar lamps are cost effective and easy to control on an individual level,” reasons Shabana.

A few days ago, she presented a redevelopment programme to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to open up a 10 kilometre space around the Juhu nallah (gutter), the way it had been done at Bandra’s Carter Road and Bandstand. “Open spaces are the lungs of the city and we need to prevent them from getting polluted. Eco-friendly is no longer a buzzword, it’s a mantra for survival. So whether it is green Mumbai or brightening up Mijwan with solar power, it’s all for a just cause.”

Shabana remembers being carried in a doli (palanquin) through the farmlands of Mijwan even as late as the 1980s. “It was only thanks to abbas’s initiative that roads were built, along with a girls’ school, an intermediate college, computer centre and a sewing and embroidery school that empowered the girl child and turned her from a liability to an asset,” she says. “The darkness has been dispelled. It’s time the solar lamps shone bright.”

First Published: Jun 04, 2011 13:30 IST