When I came across her in 2008, the 56-year-old woman who lives in a
slum of gold panners - an impoverished community from Bihar which
sifts waste water used by the goldsmiths to produce traces of the
metal - looked like just another squatter, Jha told IANS.
Her 8 ft by 8 ft dwelling in the slums of Cowies Ghat belied the
fact that her forefathers once ruled the subcontinent. She had
nothing left. I decided to help her make a better life, Jha said.
The journalist and his wife, who had earlier helped raise funds for
shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan and legendary Maratha freedom fighter
Tantiya Tope's descendants Vinayak Rao Tope, hit upon the idea to
profile the prime ministers of India with a group of like-minded
friends and politicians.
I intend to raise Rs.500,000 for her and deposit it in a bank so
that she has a steady income. A school in Kolkata has also agreed to
give her a job and the owner of a pharmaceutical company will donate
an apartment to Sultana Begum, Jha said.
Her youngest daughter will be married in March with the money raised
by the benefactors.
The book chronicles regimes of Indian prime ministers, including
Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh, Chandra
Shekhar, P.V. Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, H.D. Deve Gowda,
I.K. Gujral and Manmohan Singh, through texts and photographs.
The text throws light on the personalities of the prime ministers,
their achievements and political developments during their rule.
The photographs were shot by Vijender Tyagi and several other