Students of Bright Academy with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur on Raksha Bandhan at the Prime Minister’s residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
Siliguri, Aug. 22: Four students of Bright Academy, Khalpara, here were among the chosen few from the country to meet the Prime Minister on Raksha Bandhan and tie rakhis on his wrist at his residence in New Delhi yesterday.
Harshita Periwal along with Kalika Agarwal, Samriddhi Singh and Mahek Agarwal, students of Classes II and III at Bright Academy, Khalpara, all aged between seven and eight years were selected from Siliguri.
They were among the 200 students from different schools across the country who spent an hour on Seven Race Course road, celebrating Raksha Bandhan with the Prime Minister and his wife Gursharan Kaur.
“I celebrate Raksha Bandan every year by tying rakhi on the wrist of my brothers. Yesterday, for the first time, I was away from home to tie rakhi on the Prime Minister’s wrist at his home in New Delhi. I felt very happy to celebrate the festival with him and his wife,” said Harshita after arriving at the Bagdogra airport this afternoon.
This is the second such opportunity for students of Bright Academy in the past one year. Last year, on Children’s Day, some of them had met President Pranab Mukherjee in Rashtrapati Bhawan.
“After some students met the President last year, many students as well as their parents requested us that the school should keep providing such opportunities. We searched the internet for more such chances and got to know that the Prime Minister accepts rakhi from girl students on Raksha Bandhan. We had applied at the Prime Minister’s office earlier this year and were informed last Monday that we were invited to celebrate Raksha Bandhan at the Prime Minister’s residence,” said Sandeep Ghosal, director of the school.
“The teachers selected four girls from Classes II and III and sought permission for the trip from their parents. On Tuesday, I and two other teachers with the children flew to New Delhi. The entire trip was funded by the school,” he added.
At Singh’s residence yesterday, the programme started at 10am and within 15 minutes, Bright Academy girls’ came to tie the rakhis and interact with the Prime Minister and his wife.
“Our school was the seventh on the list of 40 institutions and our turn came within 15 minutes. The representatives at the Prime Minister’s office had stipulated that only one child would get to tie rakhi while others would interact with the Prime Minister and his wife. We let Harshita do the honour of tying the rakhi while the others took part in the interaction,” Ghosal said.
“I had seen the Prime Minister on television at home and also in school where our teachers often showed us his pictures. Yesterday I met him in person. He asked me my name,” eight-year-old Mahek said.
While Kalika can’t wait to share the experience with her parents and relatives, Samriddhi wants to show pictures she clicked.
“I will go home and tell my parents and relatives about our Raksha Bandhan celebration in New Delhi. They are all waiting for me to get home,” seven-year-old Kalika said.
Ghosal said Kaur was quite surprised to know that they had come all the way from Siliguri.
“When I told them that we had come from Siliguri, Mrs. Kaur remarked ‘aap log itni dur se ayein hain’. The meeting was brief but it is memorable for us. For the children it was a fun-filled experience and they will realise its significance and cherish it as they grow older,” Ghosal said.