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Gursharan Kaur announces grant of Rs.2 crore for Kendriya Vidyalaya in Tehran

Tehran, Aug.29 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, on Wednesday announced a grant of two crore rupees for the Kendriya Vidyalaya in Tehran.
 
She also announced a grant of 20 lakh rupees for the Kendriya Vidyalaya in Zahedan. 
 
The Indian Prime Minister’s wife also gifted books to the school.


On the occasion, children of the Kendriya Vidyalaya put up a scintillating dance and music programme.
 
Young girls danced the Gidda with great gusto, and the auditorium reverberated with peppy Punjabi music, which was unusual, as music and dance is banned by law in Islamic and Muslim-dominated Iran.
 
This is a small island in Tehran where the lively Punjabi culture is celebrated against all odds.
 
Children who are born and brought up in Tehran, some with mixed parentage, speak English, Hindi, Persian, French and Punjabi.
 
At the school on Wednesday, they danced to songs such as "Kabhi Saddi Galli Khul Ke Vii Ayaa kKro", "Gun Gun Gunaa Gunaa" and Baari Barsii Khatan Gayasi.
 
Dancing with gusto, were some children who had one Bangladeshi parent and one Iranian. Some had parents who were second-generation immigrants from Punjab and Kashmir.
 
When I asked a pre-teen if she had been to Srinagar, she said she had, but added that Srinagar was nicer than Tehran because it was less polluted.
 
A Sikh teenager who played 'Sare Jahan Se Accha" on the guitar, said he would not like to leave Tehran to go to India because Tehran was his home.
 
But, he added, that if there was one city he would like to live in, it would be London.
 
Proud to be wearing a Pagdi, he said it was never an issue in Iran, and he had never felt threatened because he was a Sikh living in Tehran.
 
Being a third generation expatriate, he said he saw Iran as home, but was at a loss to explain what pulled him to his roots in India.
 
Narinder Kaur Sahani who had veiled herself despite the strict dress code, said things had changed during her life time.
 
Born and brought up in Iran, she speaks fluent Punjabi and Hindi.
 
Smiling with tears in her eyes, she says, "We will also leave one day, our kids and grandkids have gone and settled abroad. What is left here? There is no freedom to do anything. We have investments here, so we didn’t leave. We will sell that and go. Just like others."
 
Wistfully, she says, "Sab Chaley Gaye (Everyone has gone)."
 
Her husband, Santokh Singh Sahni, echoed her sentiment. He says "Sab Badal Gaya, Dekhte Dekhte (Everything has changed in front of our eyes)."
 
Shakuntala Chabbra said her family was the only Sindhi family left in Tehran.
 
"There were the Hindujas and we. Now, it is just my family and I. I come here to the gurudwara. When I miss India, I go and visit. I don’t know how long we will stay," she says.
 
Inside the school, most of the women of Indian origin took off their veils, as if in that little microcosm they were back home in India, where nobody could tell them what to wear and how to wear it.
 
Mrs. Kaur also visited the Bhai Ganga Singh Sabha Gurudwara and offered Rumala.
 
Nandini Das Srivastava, the wife of India’s Ambassador to Iran D.P. Srivastava, accompanied Kaur on her visit.

By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indiaís leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.
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