The present palace as you can see from the Blue Nile used to be the Governor-General’s palace. General Charles George Gordon who was the then Governor General, was decapitated on the steps of a stairway in the northwestern corner of this very palace. With the Mahdist revolt, the British had decided to abandon Sudan. But General Gordon would not give up. The Mahdi had issued orders to prevent the General being killed, but unfortunately two days before his 52nd birthday, on 26th January 1885, General Gordon was beheaded. The motley rescue expedition arrived on 28th January 1885, two days too late.
We are happy that an Indian and a Pakistani have won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Coincidentally in Khartoum, Sudan we discovered a recently refurbished ‘Pakistani Cafetaria’ on Street 60, opposite Hotel 45. Some of us from the Indian community had dinner at the newly discovered restaurant run by Mujahid Hussain and his brothers from Pakistan. Chicken Biryani@SDG20, Chicken Kadai @80SDG for 1 kg with Tanduri Rotis, Nan or Parathas. Don’t miss the sweets especially the Jalebis and Ras Malai. We remembered Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousufzay and enjoyed the food.
I used to meet him in many forums. Doctors’ conferences, Press Conferences, Tennis Tournaments. Latif Joseph Sabag was one of the founder members of Umma Party.He was also active with the Sudanese National Society of the Deaf. He used to write about many countries in his column ‘I’m Sudanese’. He had asked me to take his profile picture. He liked it and he used it in his column. Before Eid he called me saying that he wanted to meet me. I said we will ‘Baad Al Eid’. But I’m saddened to say the meeting will never happen now. He succumbed to a heart attack on the second day of Eid. May his soul rest in eternal peace in his heavenly abode. I pray for his family members to get the strength to cope with the loss.
“Mahatma Gandhi had dreamt of an India which was not only free but also clean and developed. Mahatma Gandhi secured freedom for Mother India. Now it is our duty to serve Mother India by keeping it neat and clean. I take this pledge that I will remain committed and devote time for this.
I will devote 100 hours per year that is two hours per week to voluntary work for cleanliness and devote time for this. I will neither litter nor let others litter. I will initiate the quest for cleanliness with myself, my family, my locality, my village and my work place. I believe that the countries of the world that appear clean are so because their citizens don’t indulge in littering nor do they allow it to happen.
With this firm belief, I will propagate the message of Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission in villages and towns. I will encourage 100 other persons to take this pledge which I am taking today. I will endeavor to make them devote their 100 hours for cleanliness.
I am confident that every step I take towards cleanliness will help in making my country clean”.
This was the pledge that millions of Indians read on Gandhi’s birthday 2nd October, as the new Indian Government’s campaign for a ‘Clean India’ This is an initiative taken by the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi.
On 2nd October, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday was celebrated at the Embassy of India, Khartoum. The Ambassador of India H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma first garlanded the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and then read out the above pledge which was followed by the Indian Community. Then the Blood Donation Camp was opened where both ladies and men from the Indian Community and officials from Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs donated blood. The First Lady, Ambassador’s wife Mrs. Gunjan Verma was the first to donate blood. A few more ladies donated blood. Later the Ambassador donated blood. A total of 33 units of blood were collected which will save the lives of almost 100 children at the Omdurman Hospital.