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PM's wife visits gurdwara and KV school in Teheran

August 30, 2012 16:51 IST

Bollywood songs, item numbers and folk music reverberated in the air on Wednesday as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur was given a warm welcome at a gurdwara and Kendriya Vidyalaya in Teheran which was extended a grant of Rs 2  crore by the Indian government.

The school children, including a Bangladeshi and an Iraqi girl, left the audience including Kaur mesmerised with their songs and dance sequences.

The prime minister's wife was seen tapping her feet and clapping softly, enjoying every moment of her over one-and-a-half-hour stay.

A young child dressed in a traditional Punjabi red dress drew the attention of everyone with her beautiful facial expressions and confidence.

As they sang the Bollywood song 'Gun guna re', the audience went completely silent. And when they sang Punjabi numbers 'Sadi gali bhi bhool ke aaya karo' and 'Barsi barsi', the audience of largely 190 students and their parents, came alive with many of them clapping their hands in rhythm.

The school was started by the Gurdwara Management Committee under the aegis of the late Makhan Singh, who people say collected donations from door to door.

"The Hinduja brothers also donated a big sum as donation for the construction of the school which was completed in the late 1960s," school principal Jugal Kishore said.

He added that during the second half of the 20th century till the 1979 revolution in Iran, the school used to have more than 350 students on its roll and was affiliated to Punjab University and later with CBSE.

After the revolution, many Indian families left Teheran and from about 350 Indian families, only just 60-65 families were left.

Eventually, the school came under the control of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan in 2004. Though it was supposed to be a self-financing school, the Indian government had to step in with grants to keep the school floating since there were very few students.

The school, which has produced 100 per cent results since the last two years, was also extended a grant of Rs 2 crore by the Indian government which was announced during Kaur's visit. There is another Indian school in Zahidan, a place which was named after then Iranian Shah met with some Sikhs.

As per the school principal Kishore, the place was earlier named after thugs and thieves. But when Shah came over one day, he saw some Sikhs in white robes near a well and asked his staff who those Zahids were.

Zahid is a term used for learned and respectable people. Since then, the place is known as Zahidan.

Meanwhile, the prime minister's wife also visited the gurdwara next door where she offered a 'rumala'. She was also given a 'saropa' by the gurdwara.

She participated in the prayers too and also donated some books on Sikhism.
Snehesh Alex Philips in Teheran
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