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Saddam Hussein in Rajkot?
Haresh Pandya in Rajkot | January 05, 2007 09:05 IST
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein may have been executed but in Rajkot, he is thought of extremely often. Bharat Amlani, 47, is the cynosure of all eyes as the resident has a striking resemblance to the late Saddam.
Tall and well-built, his face and hairstyle extremely similar to Saddam's, Amlani has always savoured every moment of his fame.
"I enjoy the attention and feel happy when my acquaintances, friends and other people call me Saddam, though my wife feels embarrassed by all this because she simply hated him," he told this correspondent.
"My friends always compliment me saying there are striking similarities between Saddam and me. Initially I used to laugh at all this, but after closely examining our physical appearances, I also began to feel the same way. Of course, never
"It's all right that Bharat looks like Saddam. But I don't like it. Saddam was a despot who killed thousands with his tyranny," said Amlani's wife Raju, a former badminton player.
Amlani, a businessman dealing in raw wool, has found many things worth admiring in Saddam.
"Not because I'm his lookalike," he hastened to add. "Saddam may have made millions of enemies across the world, but I've the highest possible regard for certain admirable qualities as a leader and warrior. He always had tremendous self-confidence, determination and a never-say-die attitude, virtues with which he took on even the mighty US almost single-handedly. He was a man of pride. He could easily have committed suicide when he knew he was going to be executed. To me, he has been victorious even in death."
Amlani and Raju were classmates in Kundaliya Commerce College of Rajkot. They have been married 24 years and their two sons -- Rohan and Ronak -- study in Pune and Baltimore respectively.
"The first time we began addressing Bharat as Saddam was during the first Gulf War when the dictator's pictures were shown on television and in newspapers. The name has stuck ever since and Bharat has always been our dear beloved Saddam," said his friend Piyush Mehta.
"Whenever we are all together, it's only Bharat who is the star attraction for others around us. Bharat is a very good tennis player, but I've a feeling that rather than his game, it's his resemblance to Saddam that compels people to watch him," quipped another friend.