Date: 5/6/2006


IN THE COOLIE COLONY CALLED HINDUSTAN, WHEN ANYONE FROM DIRTY DYNASTY DIES, THEY SET UP A FOUNDATION. /////// THERE IS A JAWAHARLAL NEHRU FOUNDATION. THERE IS AN INDIRA GANDHI FOUNDATION. THERE IS A RAJIV GANDHI FOUNDATION. THERE WILL BE A RAHUL GANDHI FOUNDATION. THERE WILL BE A SONIA KHAN FOUNDATION AND THERE WILL BE A PRIYENKA WADRA FOUNDATION. ////// FINALLY THERE WILL BE A FOUNDATION AFTER THE POODLE THAT RAHUL GANDHI'S IMPORTED FEMALE HAS BROUGHT FROM COLOMBIA.////// BUT WILL THERE BE A FOUNDATION FOR MR. MAHAJAN?/////// XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX/////// Title: Tricolour and tears at Mahajanís funeral ////// Author: TN Raghunatha/////// Publication: The Daily Pioneer/////// Date: May 5, 2006 //////// //////// / Tricolour and tears at Mahajan's funeral////// TN Raghunatha | Mumbai/////// He was magnetic and lustrous even in his death. The immense popularity that senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan had enjoyed across the country's political spectrum and among various sections of society was very much in evidence, as he was cremated with State honours at the Shivaji Park grounds here on Thursday. /////// Pramod Mahajan's son, Rahul Mahajan (centre) holds his sister Poonam Mahajan during the cremation of Pramod Mahajan in Mumbai on Thursday - AP ////// Led by Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, prominent politicians of different hues and thousands of mourners turned out at the Shivaji Park cremation grounds to accord an affectionate farewell to Mahajan, one of the most promising and charismatic political leaders during his life time. /////// Amid the chants of Vedic hymns, sounding of the last post, reversing of arms and firing in the air by the Maharashtra police personnel as a mark of respect by the Maharashtra Government to the departed leader, Mahajan's son Rahul lit his father's funeral pyre at 1.30 pm. As the flames leapt up, his tearful supporters raised slogans like "Pramod Mahajan Amar Rahe" and "Jab tak sooraj chand rahega, Mahajan tera naam rahega" . /////// There were some touching moments as the leader's mortal remains went up in flames. Rahul, who had put up a brave face all through, was seen hugging and consoling his sobbing sister Poonam. Also in tears were Mahajan's brother-in-law-cum-friend Gopinath Munde and brother Prakash. /////// Pramod Mahajan passed away on Wednesday, 12 days after he was shot thrice by his youngest brother Pravin at point blank range. /////// The funeral procession, which began at 11 am, reached the cremation grounds at 12.45 pm. Accompanying the body were son Rahul, BJP president Rajnath Singh, senior party leader Venkaiah Naidu and State party chief Nitin Gadkari. //////// Not normally given to emotions, Rajnath Singh broke down on seeing Mahajan's coffin. Earlier, Mahajan's aged mother Prabhavati, daughter Poonam, wife Rekha, sisters Pratibha and Pragnya, and brother-in-law Gopinath Munde wept uncontrollably. Only Rahul, kept his cool all through and was seen consoling his uncle Munde and the BJP president. ////// Mahajan's body, which had been kept for public darshan at the State BJP headquarters in south Mumbai on Wednesday night, was brought to his Worli residence shortly after midnight. After keeping it for public darshan at the Purna-Godavari apartments on Thursday morning, his body was later taken to the Shivaji Park cremation grounds. /////// Besides the aam janata from all over the State, the who's who of Indian politics, corporate and glamour world turned out to pay their last respects both at the Purna-Godavari apartments and later at the Shivaji Park grounds. //////// Senior BJP leader LK Advani and his family were among the first to pay tributes, followed by RSS chief KS Sudarshan, BJP president Rajnath Singh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his son. /////// An inconsolable Rekha, the departed leader's wife, broke down on seeing the body which was brought to their residence from the State BJP headquarters in the morning. /////// Mahajan's daughter Poonam tried to console her mother but broke down too and was comforted by her uncle and BJP leader Gopinath Munde. The tragedy appeared enormous for Mahajan's mother, Prabhavati who clung to the body of her eldest son, though her daughters and son Prakash tried to console her. //////// The body, received by Prakash, Munde and BJP leader Prakash Javdekar at the residence, was kept on a flower decked platform in the premises where huge cut-outs of Mahajan with caption "Pramod Mahajan amar rahe" were put up. /////// Mahajan's body was brought to the cremation grounds in a funeral procession which wound its way through the streets of Mumbai from his Worli residence, where he was shot at and injured by Pravin on April 22. //////// Along the route to the crematorium, hundreds of people joined the procession, while a large number of people lined up along the road and threw petals as a mark of respect. ///////// Shops and establishments also remained closed along the route. Since the procession went along Annie Beasant Road, the arterial road linking south Mumbai with the suburbs, traffic of office-goers was closed and diverted on alternate route. //////// Politics, in fact, took a back seat, when it came to saying good-bye to Mahajan. Leading the galaxy of VIPs and VVIPs out to pay homage to the departed BJP leader were Vice-President Shekhawat, Vajpayee and LK Advani. //////// A wreath on behalf of President APJ Abdul Kalam was placed on the casket containing Mahajan's body. Maharashtra Governor SM Krishna made it to the funeral and paid his last tributes to the latter. ///////// Stalwarts and senior political leaders like Union Ministers Sharad Pawar, Shivraj Patil, Praful Patel, Murli Deora, Dayanidhi Maran, RSS chief KS Sudarshan, NDA convener George Fernandes, Chief Ministers Vilarao Deshmukh, Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, Vasundraraje Scindia, Raman Singh, Arjun Munda, Shivraj Chauhan, former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi and Shiv Sena's executive president Uddhav Thackeray, paid their last respect. //////// Mahajan was also paid homage by senior BJP leaders Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Sahib Singh Verma, Najma Heptullah, senior Congress leader Motilal Vora, VHP leader Praveen Togadia, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra deputy chief minister RR Patil, State Ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane, Ajit Pawar and State NCP chief Arun Gujarathi. //////// The list of prominent mourners proved to be long enough. Industrialists Anil, Mukesh Ambani, Naresh Goyal, media baron and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda, cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Siddhu, Bollywood personalities Dharmendra, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Poonam Dhillon, Madhur Bhandarkar, Ashok Pandit and Janmorcha president Raj Babbar were among others who paid their respect. ///////// Describing Mahajan as a "dynamic" personality, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said he has lost a "close friend" whom he had seen growing up since childhood. //////// "Pramod Mahajan's family live in Latur in Maharashtra (from where Patil belongs) for several years. His father was my English teacher...I had seen him growing up as a child," he said. ///////// 000000000