First President from Birbhum not Pranab - Close to Mirati is former Bangla President Abdus Sattar's home

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By SOUMI BHATTACHARYA
  • Published 23.07.12
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Daraka (Birbhum), July 22: Abdus Sattar, not Pranab Mukherjee, is the first President from the soil of Birbhum.

Abdus Sattar who, you may ask.

Sattar, the ninth President of Bangladesh, was from Daraka, barely 2km from Mirati which happens to be Mukherjee’s home.

Residents of Daraka said they had wanted to invite Sattar to their village after he became the President of Bangladesh on May 30, 1981. Sattar held the post till March 24, 1982.

Sattar, who was called Bhulu Mian in Daraka, was born in the village in 1906. He studied up to Class VI in the village school before shifting to Calcutta. He moved to Bangladesh in 1950.

As Mirati residents rejoiced and distributed sweets after their “bhoomiputra” became President today, Sattar’s nephew Sirajul Islam recalled that the people of Daraka had written to Indira Gandhi requesting the then Prime Minister to invite the ninth President of Bangladesh to his home village.

But it never happened as Sattar was removed in a coup by H.M. Ershad in March 1982. Daraka last saw Bhulu Mian, who died in 1985, in 1976.

“We wanted to invite kaka (uncle) to his home village in 1982. Some of his friends and well-wishers had written to Indira Gandhi, requesting her to invite kaka to Daraka. But a few days later, he was removed from the President’s post,” Sirajul said.

Sirajul said Sattar did his MA in political science and law from Calcutta University.

“My uncle left for East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1950 and settled down there. He retired as a judge of (Pakistan’s) Supreme Court in 1969. Two years later, Bangladesh was born. My uncle could not visit Daraka after 1976 “because of his failing health”.

Sirajul, in his sixties, recalled his uncle’s last visit. “He went around the village, meeting friends and acquaintances. He also visited one of his schoolteachers. The teacher, Samjad Sheikh, was 95 years old then and was ill. Everyone in the village loved my uncle. We had hoped he would visit Daraka again but he could not,” he said.

Daraka residents are happy for Mukherjee.

Quaji Mohammad Jalaluddin, a retired Calcutta Municipal Corporation employee, said: “We wanted to felicitate one bhoomiputra, but could not. We are happy that another bhoomiputra has become the President of our country. Both Sattar and Mukherjee hailed from the Labhpur block.”

In Mirati, Mukherjee’s elder sister Annapurna Devi, who is in her eighties, was close to tears when she was told that Mukherjee had been elected the thirteenth President of India. “It has already been declared? I have never felt so happy before…. He is the top-most citizen of this country?”

Annapurna said: “He was very intelligent in his childhood and we thought he would become someone great one day.”

Residents of Mirati rejoiced throughout the day. They distributed sweets and took out processions around Mirati and adjoining Kirnahar town.

The processionists, both Congress supporters and common village folk, sprinkled green and pink aabir on those who had lined up the sides of the road. Several people in the procession sang praising Mukherjee.