When I heard the demise of Pranab Da, it felt to me that several children especially girls lost their fatherly figure who cared for them and wanted to see them touching heights in their life.
Team Haryana First
I come from a small village of Haryana’s rural district-Jind.
My name is Sunil Jaglan who remained village head for one complete tenure.
The sheer passion to work for the upliftment of the village landed me several opportunities to meet celebrities and VVIPs including ex-President late Pranab Mukherjee.
It was the year of 2016. At that time, when government was talking of smart city Pranab Da resolved to create Smart villages.
And fortunately enough, Pranab Da decided to take off the project from the land of Haryana and Uttarakhand.
And in that connection, I had happened to meet him for the first time to become his admirer for the rest of my life.
Who could image that a young sarpanch of a village is roped in for the ambitious Smart Village program for Pranab Mukherjee Foundation?
Interestingly, when I got the opportunity to meet Pranab Da at Rastrapati Bhawan, I was not heading any NGO or having any registered body with diverse experience.
My claim to fame was of simply turning my village panchayat Bibipur completely digital. He probably was impressed by my passion and experiment of digital literacy in a rural area without any big support.
Thanks to media that it highlighted the development works of my village.
When I got to meet Pranab Da, I only had the experience of working in a village panchayat setup but he was kind enough to invest faith in me.
His excellency wanted to setup a foundation post his presidency period-Pranab Mukherjee Foundation with its headquarters in Gurugram.
He entrusted me the responsibilty to be part of his NGO with the aim of replicating ‘Bibipur village’ Development Model in the entire country through his Foundation.
Pranab Da would say the the path of progress of country passes from the village lanes and by turning them smart would mean making the country smart.
To begin with, he invited me and my family members to the Rastrapati Bhawan as special guest making Jaglan family incredible moment of lives.
When we went to Rastrapati Bhawan, my little daughter also accompanied me but protocol there prevented the entry. Upon a small request, Pranab Da was kind enough to give a written order to have the entire Jaglan family invited inside. Such Great was the Pranab Da.
My experience working with him found him to be a man rooted to the ground who always think about common man. Despite having achieved such heights, he was aware about the pains and sufferings of a layman.
Post retirement from Presidency, he used to take feedback of the developmental works being done in village on his own. When I invited him to visit a village in Gurugram to see the transformation, he did come to witness the change himself. He would meet common man with warmth and smile on his face.
Once I told Pranab Da that I have authored a book ‘Lado Rights’ after taking inspiration from him. He generously agreed to release it from his hands in Gurugram. On seeing the transformation and work pacing up, he announced to extend the reach of his Foundation to 80 villages in Gurugram and 20 villages of Mewat district. His foundation is working in delivering free education for children who drop out midway due to various reasons.
When I heard the demise of Pranab Da, it felt to me that several children especially girls lost their fatherly figure who care for them and wanted to see them touching heights in their life.
As told to Sat Singh by Sunil Jaglan, Advisor of Pranab Mukherjee Foundation.