Prime Minister Narendra Modi today recollected from his childhood days a Muslim character, a locksmith, from Aligarh who would visit his village in Gujarat’s Vadnagar every three months. Addressing a gathering in Aligarh, the prime minister said he vividly remembers the black jacket-wearing salesman who did business in nearby villages and had a good relationship with his father, Damodardas Modi.
“When he used to come, he used to stay in the village for two or four days. He used to do business also in the surrounding villages. He used to leave the money with my father that he collected from other shopkeepers. My father kept his money. While leaving the village, he used to take his money with him,” he recalled.
Narrating the story of the Muslim salesman, the prime minister said that the villagers in Gujarat knew about Sitapur and Aligarh for different reasons. While Sitapur was known for eye specialists, the villagers remembered Aligarh due to the salesman and his locks, he said.
“But friends, the Aligarh that provided security to houses and shops through its locks is the Aligarh that will secure the Indian borders in this 21st century,” he said, referring to the Aligarh node of the Uttar Pradesh defence industrial corridor.
Prime Minister Modi was in Aligarh to lay the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University. To be set up in over 92 acres of land, the university will provide affiliation to 395 colleges of the Aligarh division.
The Uttar Pradesh government has named the university after Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, a freedom fighter, educationist and social reformer. Political observers say the decision is part of the BJP’s attempt to win over Jats, as a section of the caste community appears aggrieved with the ruling party either over farmers’ issues or because the Yogi Adityanath government did not come to the legal rescue of some boys from the community who were accused of indulging in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
“Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh not only fought for the freedom of India but also played an active role in building a foundation for India’s development in the future,” PM Modi told the gathering.