Indian-origin artist gifts Modi his painting

Abu Dhabi, Aug 18 (IANS) An Indian-origin artist’s dream came true when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 17-18 and presented a portrait of the prime minister to him, media reported.

Earlier, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had denied Dubai-based painter Akbar Saheb’s request to hold an exhibition on the life of Modi in the mission.

But on August 17, he received a call from T.P. Seetharam, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, who asked him to come to Emirates Palace – a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi – to meet Modi, The National reported on Monday.

“It was totally unexpected with such a short deadline, and considering the traffic between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I thought I would not be able to make it,” Saheb was quoted as saying.

Saheb met Modi around 2.30 p.m. (local time) on August 17.

“I saw him coming from the corridor towards the meeting room,” Saheb said.

“And the moment he saw me, he called my name and said in Hindi, ‘Mujhe sab pata hai aap ke baare main’ (I know everything about you),” he said.

“When he entered the room, we not only shook hands but he also hugged me warmly as if I was his long-lost friend,” Saheb said.

Saheb presented his painting and the prime minister thanked him for his efforts.

“When I read about Akbar Saheb’s painting, ‘Mother Blessings’, dedicated to my mother, I was really keen to meet him. I got to do so today,” Modi wrote on Twitter later.

“I am thankful to Akbar Saheb for this touching gesture. It was great meeting him,” Modi said.

Originally from Kolkata, Saheb works as an illustrator in Dubai and had brushed 14 paintings of Modi.

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