Lucknow, Aug 19: Uttar Pradesh Urdu Akademi head Asifa Zamani will keep the Bakrid celebrations next week low-key at her household as a mark of respect for Atal Bihari Vajpayee, with whom she says her family shared a special bond.
Her late husband, former UP minister Aijaz Rizvi and Vajpayee knew each other from the days when the BJP was a fledgling party, Zamani told PTI.
If the BJP leader happened to be in Lucknow around Eid, he used to drop in. Rizvi, who was an advocate, used to handle the paperwork when Vajpayee contested the Lok Sabha elections from Lucknow. "We are deeply pained and anguished by the death of Atalji,” her son Asif Zama Rizvi said. "The friendship between Atalji and my husband can be traced back to the days when the BJP was a party with two MPs. Both of them knew each other even before that,” she said. “So, whenever Atalji came to Lucknow from Delhi, my husband would go the Charbagh railway station to receive him,” she said. Her husband became a member of the UP Legislative Council thrice, and she credits this to Vajpayee.
Asifa Zamani, who has been head of department of Persian at Lucknow University, said the former prime minister had immense trust in her husband. “He used to phone Aijaz in advance and tell him that all papers should be ready so that he can come and file his nomination papers," she said. If Vajpayee happened to be in Lucknow around Eid, he would turn up at her house to have the kimami sewai’.
“The moment he entered the house, he would ask, 'Where is the sewai? Bring it quickly’,” she said. “Keeping his health in mind, I used to make separate kimami sewai for him, which would be less sweet,” she recalled. Vajpayee would complain about the sweetness.
“But he would eat it with a smile,” she said. "While leaving the house, he would give a silver coin to my son Asif and daughter Sheema as an Eid gift," the 75-year-old said. After Rizvi’s sudden death in 1998, their daughter Sheema Rizvi stepped into her father's shoes
. Vajpayee helped the family then too, Asifa Zamani’s son Asif Zama Rizvi said. Sheema Rizvi was a member of the UP Legislative Council for two terms, and served as a minister under chief ministers Ram Prakash Gupta, Rajnath Singh and Mayawati. Sheema Rizvi died in 2009.
Asif Rizvi said, "We are deeply pained and anguished by the death of Atalji. Hence, we have decided that Bakri Eid celebrations in our home will be a low-key affair this time as a mark of respect for the departed soul."