This is about my friend “Rajin”. Yeah, you must have developed a tendency to raise the question “What’s so great that he is going to tell us about his `friend’ ”. But, then, before doing so, you must know a little bit about me.

If you ask about me to those who “know” me, you will mostly get the answer “Oh!…That fellow?… Horrible!…Simply horrible!…..He does not recognize anybody, except perhaps for himself”. And, I really enjoy that. You know, why? Because, I know about this world better than ninety percent of the people you see around; and hence, for me (as well as may be rarely for some of you), it would not be so easy to find someone to give a correct picture of things happening around. I feel now you have started developing even marginally a different understanding about me than a few seconds’ back. Keep patience, you may further change your perspective about me after a while.

So, let’s go back to the main subject i.e. about my “friend”.

I used to meet Rajin (Muhuddin Rajin Anwar), during the early 1980s, when he occasionally came to New Delhi from Hisar, Haryana. He was at that time pursuing undergraduate programme in Haryana Agricultural University(HAU); and, I was told by one of his friends, that he used to play good cricket in that state of India.  Also, I came to know that he was the son (only son) of a powerful lady cabinet minister of Assam, Mrs. Anwara Taimur (and she became the Chief Minister of Assam in December 1980 – the first lady Chief Minister of Assam). But, none of these were any information to impress me for taking this young man more seriously than others; except, of course, I observed his simple but sincere personality.

But, then, God had something to give me a good bump – a bump to show a person that I could not even see through my “horrible” sense of giving recognition to people; and, I should admit that, this time I got thoroughly overpowered by the happening. And, I do not remember if I got overpowered in this way at any point of time in my life thereafter.

That was in the summer of 1983. As my university was declared sine die due to student unrest related activities, I temporarily shifted to Assam House at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi; and occupied a seat in the dormitory. After breakfast, I used to go to the Teen Murti House Library, for carrying out my research works. A few days’ after, Rajin also landed up at Assam House, from Hisar; and occupied another seat in the dormitory.

I and Rajin could get together in the evening hours only, and discussed things including those that we did during the day. It was real hot summer in Delhi with day-time temperature soaring to around 42 degree Celsius, supplemented by unbearable heat waves. While I used to go to the nearby Teen Murti House Library – fully air-conditioned and surrounded by lush green environment, Rajin in those days used to board crowded city buses to go to the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, located nearby the Central Secretariat. The suffocating heat waves of Delhi and the struggle for boarding crowded city buses were no great issues for Rajin – because, as I came to know gradually, something more serious was at stake for him. And that more serious issue for him was to get approval for continuation of the National Merit Scholarship which he secured by virtue of his high performance in High School Leaving Certificate Examinations – which he continued to maintain through his high performance in the Pre-University (10+2) as well as B.Sc.(Agril.) Examinations. At this time, Rajin was already selected for admission into postgraduate programme of the Y.S. Parmer Agricultural University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh; and he badly needed approval of the concerned Ministry for continuation of this scholarship for pursuing his postgraduate programme – for which he was perfectly eligible. But, then things were not moving in the expected manner and this “hapless (….hmm..)” fellow was visiting the officials of the concerned Ministry every day only to come back with a desperate mind with colour of his skin getting increasingly tanned owing to continuous exposure to severe heat wave in Delhi.  I used to observe his wiping off of the sweats from his face after arriving at the dormitory in the hot afternoons, with handkerchiefs getting completely wet. I could realize that his works were not getting done and his time for reporting for admission in the Agricultural University, at Solan, was coming nearer.

Unable to bear the situation, I told him to use the good office of the then Union Minister of Agriculture through his mother – the powerful lady cabinet minister of Assam. But, no. He flatly refused to do so, and gave me a hearty explanation about the principles he followed in life – while having cheap snacks and tea with me in a roadside (make-shift) tea-stall nearby the Assam House.

As he told me that, after passing out pre-university (10+2) examinations, he hardly took money from his parents for his education. He mostly managed his education and usual expenses out of his National Merit Scholarship – and that was continuing as the life-line of his principled life till then. He told me that he in the worst case might have to forego his coveted postgraduate admission offer at Solan, but would not go by any favour from any corner to establish himself in life. I could understand his philosophy of life and also confirmed a higher position for him in my heart.

But, then, God also decided to throw his next card i.e. to show me that he cared for his true disciple. And, Rajin’s agonizing efforts brought positive results –just one or two days before the last date for reporting for his postgraduate admission. He could get the order for continuation of the National Merit Scholarship for pursuing his postgraduate programme at Solan.

Next day, Rajin with a jubilant mind, went out for buying his much needed clothings – after all, he was to start a new innings at a new academic seat, at Solan. I also felt happy to observe his progress in the mission. At around 5.00 p.m., Rajin entered the dormitory. He proudly showed me his new possessions that he purchased from New Delhi’s Janpath footpath market – 2 or 3 cotton trousers worth Rs.40/- (or so) per piece and 2 or 3 crape cotton shirts worth Rs.20/- (or so) per piece!

He then started taking stock of his belongings viz., one very old holdall, one Maharaja trunk having latching facility with a long metal piece (very common during the 1930s and 1940s), and that legendary BOAC shoulder bag of the 1950s (and perhaps also 1960s) that used to be adored everywhere in the country. And, all his belongings, including some books, now he wanted to put systematically inside these things. Aren’t you interested to know about the Maharaja trunk, Rajin was always carrying with him? Yeah, that was one of the historic trunks which his mother brought along with her while getting married to Rajin’s father! I hope Rajin has kept his prized possession – the Maharaja trunk, with him even now; while I have kept the fond memory of my “friend” for the last 37 years even after not getting an opportunity to meet him for once. But, then, that is what “friendship” is all about! Now, you can tell me what you have to say. I have my best wishes for you!


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