I owe coveted award to 'gau seva': Padma Shri nominee

I owe the coveted award to 'gau seva': Padma Shri nominee Ramzan Khan

 Bhajan singer Ramzan Khan, who has been named as a Padma Shri nominee, has given the credit for the award to the 'gau seva' he has been doing for the past 15 years at his village Bagru near here.

Khan and his dedication to cows and Krishna-bhakti came into the limelight amid a row which erupted over the appointment of his son Feroze Khan as assistant professor at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in November last year.

"I had never imagined even in my dreams that I will be chosen for this coveted award. I have spent most of my time doing 'gau seva' for the past 15-16 years in a gaushala besides singing bhajans. I believe this award is the result of 'gau seva'," Khan told PTI.

Khan is among the five people who will be honoured with the Padma Shri award for 2020 by the President. He lives in a small three-room house in Bagru, around 35 kms from here, and is fondly known in the village as Munna Master.

A follower of Islam, Khan not only goes to mosques and offers the namaz but also holds the degree of 'Shashtri' in Sanskrit language, composes and sings bhajans, dedicatedly performs 'gau seva' at the gaushala.

He attends the evening aarti and sings religious songs while playing the harmonium in the temple of Shree Ramdev Gaushala Chetanya Dham, Bagru, where people turn up to listen to him. Singing is his only source of income.

"Serving cows and singing bhajans are an integral part of my daily routine. Singing is my family tradition. Like me, my son Feroze too wanted to learn Sanskrit and therefore I got him admission in school. He was appointed as assistant professor in BHU which was a big achievement," he said.

However, he said when the controversy erupted over his son's appointment at the university's Sanskrit faculty, he asked him to stay away from the row and then he switched to another faculty in BHU itself.

After the announcement of the Padma Shri award, locals have congratulated Khan and felicitated him on Republic Day on Sunday at a local school in Bagru.

Having earned the respect of local people, Khan says he has cordial relationships with other members of the community and relatives as well.

His son Feroze Khan was appointed to teach at BHU's Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan Department in November last year when a section of students had protested against the appointment on the grounds of his religion. Feroze later shifted to teach at the University's Arts Faculty.