All of 130 years old, India’s oldest man is dead

August 19th, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, Aug 19 (IANS) He was born in the year of Andre Citroen and Louis Chevrolet 130 years ago. The two men immortalised by the cars they branded with their names died decades ago. But Habib Mian, clarinet player to the maharajahs, bid his final adieu in his Rajasthan home Tuesday, content in the belief that he was the world’s oldest man. Since Monday, the 130-year-old had been suffering from nausea and an upset stomach. On Tuesday, Habib Mian breathed his last in a congested locality near Transport Nagar in this Rajasthan capital where he lived with a great grandson and 24 other family members.

Habib Mian, who had not been recognised by either the Guinness Book of World Records or the Limca Book of Records, believed he was 139 years old. But he had no proof and obtained a certificate from Jaipur’s assistant collector and executive magistrate in May 2003 that he was 125 years. The certificate based on his pension book stated that he was born on May 20, 1878.

However, he was indisputably one of the world’s longest-registered old age pensioners. He started earning his pension in 1938 with a monthly sum of less than Rs.2.

Age had not dimmed his enthusiasm for life or his concern for others around him. This May 20, he did not celebrate his birthday because of the serial bombings in the city that had killed over 60 people.

With the passion for the present went the nostalgia for the past.

“I used to play the clarinet with the Jaipur state band and have seen British rule and three rulers reigning over Jaipur,” Habib Mian told IANS some time ago.

Except for losing his vision 50 years ago, Habib Mian, who went on the Haj pilgrimage only four years ago, had the requisite strength to look after his own needs.

Always dressed in a white lungi and kurta, Habib Mian spent most of his time in prayers and stayed away from tobacco and alcohol.

He always said the secret of his long life lay in his dietary habits.

“He was not a very demanding great grandfather,” Chuttan Bhai, his great grandson said, describing him as jovial.

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