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World Carla Bruni Seeks Chishti's Blessings For Son


Apr 3, 2005

AGRA: Romance, apparently, was not the only fixation with the French first couple during their Agra-Fatehpur Sikri sortie. If Pirzada Raees Miyan Chishti, the sajdanashin (religious head) of the Sheikh Salim Chishti dargah, is to be believed, President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife, Carla Bruni, asked for a son in blessing at the famed 16th century shrine.

Raees Miyan spoke glowingly about "Begum Sarkozy". "Very kind, warm-hearted and extremely family-oriented mohitarma (lady)," said the Pir about the French first lady. He says he spent 15 minutes with the President and his wife on Sunday afternoon during which Bruni made a specific request for a son. " Maine begum sahiba ko phoonk ke dhaga diya (I breathed into sacred thread and gave it to the begum)," Raees told TOI. Bruni, said eyewitnesses, tied the customary red thread round her wrist.

Bruni was apparently moved by the story of Emperor Akbar visiting the historic shrine to pray for a son, with the pir telling her through the interpreter that owing to Chishti's blessings he fathered not one but four children. Thereupon, Bruni, too, made a wish for a son. "Inshallah, her wish will come true," the old man prophesied. Before that, the couple offered separate ceremonial 'chador' to the pir amid Sufi music by qawwals.

The Sarkozys skipped a second visit to Taj on Sunday and emerged from their deluxe hotel suite after lunch and siesta to visit Fatehpur Sikri. Their companion included Bruni's mother. Looking relaxed, the cosy couple spent about an hour in the ghost town admiring the architecture of Buland Darwaza, Jodha Bai Ka Mahal and the dargah. When ASI officers requested Sarkozy to inscribe the visitors' book, he turned to Bruni saying, "Ladies first."

"A wonderful visit to Sikri, goodbye," she wrote in English while Sarkozy singed under her signature. On Saturday, she had signed the Taj visitors' book under her husband's remark in French, "'Taj represents the rich civilisation of the east. Unforgettable, thank you and goodbye."
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