PM's native village in Pak proud of him: childhood friend
Trying to relive their childhood memories, Raja Mohammed Ali has brought along a shawl said to be a 100-year-old family heirloom as a gift to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from his native village in Pakistan's Punjab province.
76-year-old Ali, who crossed the Attari border on Friday to try and meet Singh, wants to exchange notes with "Mohana" - as he was fondly called then - especially about Bakht Bano, the only girl in class during their early school days in Gah village of Chakwal district.
Singh had written a letter in Urdu to the district 'nasim' (revenue official) expressing gratitude on receiving a copy of his school exam results and a pair of Chakwali shoes.
He wrote: "A few years ago, I came to know Bakht Bano has passed away. I was deeply shocked to hear this. If possible, please convey my condolence to her son Khizar Hayat."
Interacting with students and staff of DAV Public School, Ali said "'Sara gaon ankhey bichey beetha hai unki mehman nawazi key liye'. (The whole village is eagerly waiting to accord him a royal welcome)."
He showed them a "lachcha" (shawl) that the family has had with them for 110 years, which he was carrying as a gift for Singh, besides two embroidered 'salwar-kameez' suits for his wife Gursharan Kaur and Chakwali 'jutties' for the couple.
Asked why he was bringing soil and water of Gah village, Ali said he felt the smell and feel would bring back their childhood memories.
"I am alive to fulfill this last dream. The village remembers him with pride; as a son-of-the soil who achieved the pinnacle of success".