BY Lalit Kumar
Hamare Do is a mere slogan for Mohammad Omar of Bawli Bakkhar and his wife
Aayesha. The couple -husband and wife are both over 60 years -is currently
expecting its 25th child after 'many years' of marriage. "We got
married when the British left India," says Omar. Five decades of
marital harmony have been marred by just one point of conflict -Omar and
Aayesha disagree on the number of children to whom they have given birth.
Currenlty, 20 of their children are alive though Aayesha puts the number
at 16. However, both agree they lost four children when they were still
young. And both aggressively block any attempts at a head count. Their
neighbours, however, claim 22 of Omar and Aayesha's children are alive.
The numbers notwithstanding, for most Dadri residents, the couple arguably
have the maximum number of children and could well enter sundry record
books for their feat, According to Dadri police station chief R.Chowdhary,
"Omar has at least 20 children." He does some cleaning and odd
jobs at the police station. After his truck met with an accident 20 years
ago, Omar sold the vehicle and settled down to domesticity and odd duties.
remember the names of all his children? Naturally not. Despite having
fathered them, Omar cannot keep track of all of them. Not only has he
forgotten the names of many of his children, he does not even know their
age. So what's the future like for the score and more? Que sera sera, for
Omar and Aayesha are not literate, nor do they believe in sending their
brood to school. "My children never went to school," says
Aayesha. "But none of them is an alcoholic, a drug addict or a
criminal," she adds with pride. The family does stand out due to its
sheer numbers, but for the parents, the size is not extraordinary. When
this correspondent visited their small, congested home, Aayesha was
visibly angry. "We do not want press reporters here. Are you going to
pay us to feed our children?" However, she agreed to be photographed
with a part of her family, but vowed "never to allow the press here
again". Five of Omar's sons sell vegetables in Dadri, while two work
with a leather unit. Two of his elder sons, Babu and Sabu, are married.
And their wives and eight children are a part of Omar's joint family. When
asked who cooked for the family, an offended Aayesha shot back, "Do I
look old? I do the cooking." And is there enough to feed all family
members? "Who thali bhi dega (God will provide the thalis too),"