Birthday boy Manmohan says he’s indebted to Indians

By Arvind Padmanabhan,

On Board Air India One, Sep 26 (IANS) Ever so shy when it comes to his personal life and plaudits, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who turned 77 Saturday, said he was indebted to the people of India for the faith they have reposed in him, even as he treated the accompanying delegation to a cake.

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“I am grateful to the people of India, who have given me this unique opportunity to serve them,” the prime minister said amid birthday wishes from journalists.

“They (Indians) let me serve them for five years and reposed confidence in me for another term and that is a debt I can never repay. The only way I can redeem myself to an extent is by rededicating myself to the service of the nation,” he said.

“I would pray to god to give me enough strength to keep serving the people,” said the prime minister, who was looking rather tired due to the lack of sleep because of his hectic schedule in Pittsburgh.

Born on Sep 26, 1932, in Gah village in what is now known as Chakwal district in Punjab, Pakistan, the prime minister celebrated his birthday in Geneva on way to New Delhi after attending the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.

Manmohan Singh’s spouse Gursharan Kaur, whom he married in 1958, and their second daughter Daman Singh are accompanying him on this tour. Daman is a social worker and writer.

In Pittsburgh their US-based youngest daughter Amrit Singh spent some time with the family. Amrit Singh is a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City.

His eldest daughter Upinder Singh is a professor of history at Delhi University.