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Long-standing service

Meet Sayyed Mir who has served 16 Governors in Andhra Pradesh as Daffedar and later Jammedar.



DEDICATED SERVICE: Jammedar Sayyed Mir being felicitated on his retirement by the former Governor Dr. C. Rangarajan.

"YEARS OF standing has taken a toll on his legs. Father cannot walk much now," rues Fehmida Sultana. But for the man who stood 44 long years with unfailing loyalty by the Head of the State, "life was worth the stand".

Meet Jammedar Sayyed Mir who perhaps holds the national record for serving the maximum number of State Governors, 16 to a precise total. "The knee pain has come with my age," says the 60-year old retired Jammedar (a person who stands and waits by the Governor in red turban and white clothes).

"How many people are as lucky as me to see Jawaharlal Nehru, Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and others, from such close quarters," prides Mir.



LOYAL TO THE CORE: Sayyed Mir

Recently retired during the tenure of the previous Andhra Pradesh Governor, Dr. C. Rangarajan, Mir's stint with A.P Raj Bhavan began way back in 1957 as Daffedar (a rank lower than a Jammedar) to Bhimsen Sachar, the then Governor of the State.

"My memory has become weak. I don't seem to remember the names of all the 16 A.P governors off-hand," he says.

A few governors, however whom Mir can never forget are, Bhimsen Sachar, Krishan Kant, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, Kumudben Manishankar Joshi and Dr. Rangarajan. "I was really close to these governors and their families and have travelled widely with them," the retired Jammedar remembers nostalgically.

Krishan Kant, when he was the vice-president of India, had even come on Mir's invitation for his daughter Fehmida's wedding. "And Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, when he was the president of India, sent a very expensive radio set, as a present to my younger daughter Fatima on her wedding," Mir says ecstatically.



IN HIGH COMPANY: The Jammedar looks on as Bill Clinton is being received.

Kumudben Joshi would always invite me to her native house in Changa village in Gujarat. "I have been to her house perhaps more than a dozen times. She herself, would always serve the food on my plate every time I ate in her house." Having come from a small village Nandgaon in Mehboobnagar district, did he ever dream of all this? "Well no," he says flatly with a meek addition, "That is why I feel that all these four and a half decade of standing beside the head of the state, was rewarding in more than one way."

All these years of dedicated service has entitled him a residential quarter, besides the monthly pension now.

"And of course, so many tales for my grand children and imperishable memories of the Raj Bhavan for me," Mir is quick to add.

After great insistence to share some of his memories and tales, Mir relents, "Two experiences I can share with you."

"I still cannot forget the inexplicable feeling when Mother Teresa touched my head and blessed me during her visit to Raj Bhavan as a state guest. It was as if somebody was blowing cool air through me... indeed a divine experience."

"Another memory that comes to my mind right now is of, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma - when I saw him angry for the first time during my stint with him.

A strict disciplinarian he was, who liked things to be kept at their right places. Once a particular agarbatti was missing from his Puja room and the otherwise relaxed and composed, Sharma ji was wild with anger. I was really shaken up with fear that day. But then, Sharma madam (Vimla Sharma) calmed him down and later they had a hearty laugh over prasadam, at my condition," Jammedar Mir smiles and wraps up.

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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