The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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He says he’s 132, but 125 will do

Jaipur, May 30: Officially, Rahim Khan is 125. Unofficially, 132.

But he can’t lay claim to the extra seven years he’s spent on earth because those are not on paper. Never mind. Even at 125, he’s possibly the world’s oldest man, living or dead — no one has lived to be that old, that is.

Possibly, because the Guinness Book of World Records still recognises Jeane Louise Calment of France as the oldest. She died at the age of 122 in 1997.

Rahim Khan, alias Habib Miyan, is now armed with official proof of his age to storm the Guinness record. Last week, Jaipur’s executive magistrate issued him a certificate declaring his age as 125 years based on his pension book that records May 20, 1878, as his birthday.

Counting the birthdays he has spent so far — the last 10 days ago — Khan, however, says he’s 132. “Everything is unofficial about it.”

Khan’s entry into the Guinness book should be a certainty because the oldest living person, so far known, is Kamato Hongo of Japan who is 114.

His great-grandson Chuttan Khan said he would write to Guinness shortly to certify his “daddu” (great-grandfather) as the man who’s seen the most moons.

Khan lives with two dozen relatives, including a 90-year-old daughter-in-law, in a small house in a shanty in Jaipur’s Ghat ki Guni.

He was a clarinet player in the official band of the former princely state of Jaipur, which, after Independence, was merged into what is today Rajasthan.

The royal connection, however, continues as Rajmata Gayatri Devi pays him a pension of Rs 300 every month. Another Rs 1,900 is given by the state government. When he retired in June 1938, the first pension he collected was worth one and three-fourths of a rupee.

That’s not the only fantastic tale he has to tell. Khan lost all his teeth long ago, but of late he has had “teething trouble”. New teeth have grown, he says. “Now I eat everything.” But he lost his eyesight 53 years ago.

After such a long life, he has only one unfulfilled desire: to go to Mecca. “I want to be called Haji Habib Miyan,” he says sadly.

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