Monday, September 17, 2012
This is one Somali connection any Indian city would love to flaunt.
The African country’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud trained in Bhopal to complete a Masters degree in Technical Education during 1986-88. It’s his work in education reforms that seems to have helped the 56-year-old moderate leader to get elected to the top position in the violence-scarred nation.
Twenty-four years is a long period and it took the National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (then called Technical Teachers’ Training Institute) a while to clear the dust off the old files. The records are so old that NITTTR while appropriating the illustrious alumni on its website has used his current photograph, not sure how he looked then because all those who taught him have retired.
“We can’t claim that our academic grooming helped him reach the political pinnacle. He was good at studies and was appreciated by teachers because he was regular in completing assignments,” recalls N S Kapruan (78), who was coordinator of the batch of dozen-odd students and held various top positions by the time he retired in 1994.
He remembers how he missed out being part of the group photograph when the 1988 batch was graduating.
“I was in the university collecting mark-sheets and other documents because their visas were to soon expire.” The septuagenarian says Somalia was in turmoil even then and remembers how difficult it was to send degrees because no one was sure if it would reach the correct address.
Mohamud escaped an attempt on his life immediately after taking over the new responsibility when suicide bombers struck the Mogadishu hotel where he was meeting a foreign delegation. The Bhopal institute hasn't been able to get in touch with him because after the assassination bid he has been moved to a secure location.
Mohamud did a project under Prof N K Banthiya, who is now associated with a Jaipur-based private institution after his retirement.
“He was a good student and nice person, and my wife remembers hosting him over dinner,” says Banthiya.