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Rahul Gandhi’s visit would be ‘like God coming’, says 79-yr-old Dehradun woman who made him heir

79-year-old Pushpa Munjiyal has left gold & money worth about Rs 50 lakhs to Congress president impressed by his 'honesty'. Says Nehru convinced her father to stay on in India after Partition.

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Dehradun: Weeks after Dehradun-based septuagenarian, Pushpa Munjiyal, took the nation by surprise by naming former Congess president Rahul Gandhi in her will, the 79-year-old is yet to hear from the leader, but bears him no ill will for as yet failing to acknowledge her gift.

“I know he is a big leader and must be busy. I do not expect him to leave all his work and come here. I made my will in Rahul’s name because of his honesty and my faith in his honest politics. If Rahul ever meets me I will only bless him for a long life and to lead India,” Munjiyal told ThePrint.

But though today the former teacher harbours no hopes of meeting Gandhi, her family shares an old connect with that of the Congress leader’s — it was Gandhi’s great-grandfather and India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had persuaded Munjiyal’s father to stay back in India after the country was partitioned in 1947, recalled the 79-year-old.

“We migrated to India from Quetta, in Baluchistan province of Pakistan, during the pre-partition riots. My father Meghraj Munjiyal was a freedom fighter in Pakistan, but had to run for his life with his family during partition. We came here along with 100 other Hindus,” Munjiyal told ThePrint.

She added: “In Delhi my father met Jawaharlal Nehru and told him how we had lost everything in Quetta and had to leave our home empty-handed. My father wanted to go back to Quetta after the riots, as we had a lot of property there. He told Nehru that we had nothing in India and will return to Baluchistan. My family had built a huge Lakshmi Narayan temple there, near our home. But Nehru said don’t go back, for your ladies and daughters will not be safe there. This made us stay back in India and my father came to Dehradun with his six daughters and one son.”

Munjiyal herself has never met anyone from the Nehru-Gandhi family, however.

For over two decades now, Munjiyal’s world has been restricted to the small one room of a paid old-age home in Dehradun, Prem Dham, where she has been living since 1999. The years have also robbed her of her eyesight.

A retired school teacher, Munjiyal had never married, and her family never owned any house in Dehradun — choosing to live in rented accommodations — despite having a flourishing tea business.

“My elder brother Girdharilal Munjiyal, who died of cancer, always believed why own a house when it’s not going to stay with us, particularly after we lost our property during the partition riots in Quetta” explained Munjiyal.

For more than a decade, however, Munjiyal has been taking steps to ensure that what she leaves behind goes to the Congress president, exhibiting the same care and diligence that a parent or grandparent displays while planning their young one’s inheritance.

Talking to ThePrint, Munjiyal said she had been making Gandhi a nominee in all her 16 fixed deposit accounts across different banks for the past 10 years which, according to her will, has a total deposit of over Rs 18,00,000. Gandhi will also inherit 10 tolas (over 115 grams) of gold owned by her, as well as investments made in NSE certificates and monthly interest schemes. Munjiyal has also quashed an earlier will which bequeathed Rs 25 lakh owned by her to the Doon Hospital Management.

The inheritance she leaves for Gandhi, totaling about Rs 50 lakhs, is the result of Munjiyal’s “savings made while she was working and from her post retirement pensions,” she said. The will, a copy of which is with ThePrint, also mentions that if in future she is found to be the owner of any other movable or immovable property, not mentioned in this will, that too will be inherited by Gandhi.

‘Influenced by his views’

Stating her reasons for making Gandhi her heir, Munjiyal mentions in the will that she is extremely influenced by Gandhi’s views and principles and hopes that “Rahul will use the money for the welfare of the poor and hapless people. However she has no objection even if he doesn’t follow her wish.”

Iterating the same while talking to ThePrint, Munjiyal said she made her will in favour of Gandhi because of his “honesty and truthfulness”, his “honest politics” and because his family had “always given something” to the nation.

Although she maintains that she does not expect to Gandhi to visit her or even acknowledge her gift, she added, “why should Rahul Gandhi spare time for me? However if fortune favours me and he comes here, it will be like a God coming to me. My will has nothing to do with the Congress party.”

Munjiyal who registered her will last month, clarified, however, that she had neither heard from Gandhi, nor from local Congress leader Pritam Singh since the latter was handed over the papers to pass on to Gandhi.

Meanwhile, talking to ThePrint Wednesday MLA and former Pradesh Congress Committee chief Pritam Singh said he had already passed on Munjiyal’s will to Gandhi at his 10 Janpath residence, but is yet to get any feedback on it.

“Rahul Gandhi is perhaps too occupied in the organisational activities at present, but will respond as soon as he gets time, and we will communicate the same to Munjiyal” said Singh.

Read Pushpa Munjiyal’s will here.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

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