A line from a famous Gujarati poem will forever be etched in the mind of Dhwanil Parekh, one of the three writers chosen for Rashtrapati Bhavan in-residence programme. “Jai Jai Garvee Gujarat (Hail Proud Gujarat)” is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi scribbled while signing Parekh’s book, in Gujarati.
Talking about his experience, Parekh said, “This was an experience I will never forget. The prime minister signed my book in Gujarati and also wrote this line by Narmad, the first modern Gujarati poet.”
As the in-residence programme comes to an end, this and many other such memories of the serene Rashtrapati Bhavan and its elegant lifestyle will remain with the 11 writers and innovators who were a part of the programme.
Mushtaq Ahmed Dar, a school dropout from Kashmir who was selected for his innovation of a walnut cracker, said programmes like these can go a long way in removing the alienation of the youth from his state.
“I am the first person from my state to be selected; when I go back and tell my experience, it will have a very good effect. I will tell them how beautiful our country is and how well cared we were here,” he said.
Demonstrating his bamboo slicing machine, Lalbiakzuala Ralte said his machine, which he plans to sell for Rs 5,000 per piece when he returns to Mizoram, can reduce the time it currently takes to do the job manually. Among the grassroots innovations on display were an anti-molestation device worn on the wrist, a bus or auto rickshaw alert switch for safety of women, to a posture correcting chair. There was also a rain water syringe for water conservation and a simple flushing mechanism for public urinals.