Sangli (Maharashtra), Dec 2 : Elated after his brother was elected Upa-Sarpanch (Deputy Headman) of Kargani village, a Haryana businessman decided to give him a unique gift – a helicopter joy-ride of 20 minutes over their village.
The event also marked the end of a 20-year-old ‘vow-cum-sweet revenge’ against their sister who had “betrayed” the family by voting against a cousin for the post of Sarpanch then.
Ankush D.Khilare, 37, who runs the Mahalaxmi Hallmark Centre in Hisar, Haryana, was virtually on cloud nine when he heard that his elder brother Sahebrao D.Khilar, 50, a Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) leader, who got elected as the new Deputy Sarpanch of their village in Nov.2023.
Ankush rushed from Haryana to his native place here this week and on a cool Thursday (Nov.30) afternoon sponsored his two older siblings – Sahebrao and Hindurao – for a memorable flight over the Kargani village, surroundings, and most importantly, circum-ambulating the famed Lord Ram Temple here as ‘thanksgiving’.
Almost the entire village, along with a beaming Ankush, remained present to witness the unique helicopter celebrations – the flying machine never seen by most of the 15,000-folks – and billed as an unprecedented event in the state’s local politics.
Ankush recalled that 20 years ago in the Kargani Sarpanch elections, his elder sister and the then Gram Panchayat Member, Shalan Karande, 39, of the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde group now) had cast her decisive vote to topple her own cousin, the late Duryodhan Khilare and ruined his opportunity to become the powerful village head.
“Our father Dnyanu Khilare was furious and the family broke all relations with Shalan Karande.She was barred from entering her ‘maika’ (parental home) and not invited to any family events or functions for 20 years,” said Ankush.
At that time, the teenage Ankush took an oath before his father that “whenever anybody from the Khilare family becomes a Sarpanch or Upa-Sarpanch”, he would announce it to the entire region with a helicopter ride.
“Finally, after two decades, I could fulfil my vow and take the family’s vengeance against my own sister for her political treachery.However, my father has still not forgiven her and the ban on her continues,” Ankush told IANS.
Through some businessmen friends, Ankush managed to hire out the chopper from a Pune company and the 20-minute ride burnt a Rs 100,000 hole in his pocket, but he smiled and said “it was worth every rupee”.
For the momentous occasion, the entire Khilare clan – father Dnyanu, mother Bana, brothers Sahebrao and Hindurao, another sister Lata, and uncles and aunts plus their grandchildren, were present in full strength to cheer at the family event, with excitement levels running sky-high as the chopper gracefully flew over around the village and its temple.
A farmer, Rajendra Patil from an adjoining village said the locals were open-mouthed seeing the helicopter noisily whirring over the region and some delirious kids clapped joyously and even tried to ‘chase’ it on the ground before it disappeared.
“It has become a hot topic in the entire district now… people discuss and debate the memorable event in groups in the village square, at bus stops and in the fields…” gushed Patil.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected] )
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