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War hero's widow beseeches President for a stamp

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
Last updated on: September 24, 2008 01:29 IST
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Param Vir Chakra Awardee and hero of the 1965 Indo-Pak war Abdul Hameed's widow Rasoolan Bibi on Tuesday urged President Pratibha Patil to get a postage stamp issued in her husband's name .

Rasoolan Bibi was allowed an audience with the President only at the latter's personal intervention . Her request had earlier been turned down.

Patil was in Lucknow on a day's visit to attend the convocation of Lucknow University.

What seemed to pain the war hero's wife was that Adbul Hameed's widely known feat of blowing off some half a dozen Pakistani tanks in the 1965 war , was now forgotten.

"Please issue a postage stamp in Hameed's name and also rename our village's (Dullapur) railway station after my husband", she said with moist eyes as she handed over a 12-point memorandum to President Patil at the Raj Bhawan in Lucknow on Tuesday evening.

The frail old woman accompanied by her grandsons was happy at the assurance from the President that her requests would not be ignored any more.

Among other things, the memorandum sought the construction of a 'Musafirkhana' in the name of Abdul Hamid in Lucknow, creation of a military recruitment center in the war hero's native village, conversion of his home in Dullapur into the Abdul Hamid Memorial and observation of his martyrdom on December 10 at the national level.

Besides asking for a 20-bed hospital in her vilage, Rasoolan Bibi urged the President to help her grandchildren to get government jobs under a special quota, while also seeking her consent to release a book written on the life and achievements of Abdul Hamid. The defence minister and army chief had already sent their respective messages for the book, she told the President.

"I always wanted to have an audience with the President, but could never make it Delhi ; now that the President was coming to Lucknow, I did not wish to miss this opportunity of coming down from Ghazipur to see her," she told officials after meeting Patil.

That she sees greater hope from the first lady president was clearly spelt out in her parting remarks, "I am sure that being a lady, this President will understand my feelings and emotions. I hope I will see my long cherished dreams coming true at the fag end of my life."

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow