Village remembers his days hard and easy
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Ilol stands by the river Sabarmati, a village of 15,000 dominated by Muslims and untouched by the 2002 riots.
It is a Muslim family who helped D G Vanzara through hard times. "The family was quite poor and Sharif Bhat of the village helped him pursue higher studies," says the sarpanch, Ashrafbhai Dantreliya, who recalls the respect commanded by Vanzara's father Gobarji, a farmer who also worked as a sand supplier and was so fond of animals that he often treated them free.
The deputy sarpanch, Natvarlal Patel, agrees the Bhat family helped Vanzara. And Bhat's son, Migdadali, recounts, "My father and Dahyaji's father were good friends. When Dahyaji came to my father and sought money for his education, my father did not have any but gave him a gold chain of my mother's to sell."
Dantreliya believes Vanzara has done little for the village after his rise. "He has done very little even for his own community (the village has some 25 Vanazara families)," he says. "Dahyaji has only helped people of his family. We approached him once to get us a donor for the Ilol High School, where he had studied. He never did."
Deputy sarpanch Patel, who claims to be a friend of Vanzara's and that he was associated with the Jana Sangh, cannot recount an example of Vazara having done anything for the village either. But he adds, "I don't think Vanzara would have refused to help any villager had he been approached."
Vanzara's most striking contribution to the village is a bungalow he has built for his family, and where his sister now lives. It was at this bungalow that Kauser Bi's body was allegedly brought before being burnt by the river. Teams of the Gujarat police and CBI investigated the site, but could not find the evidence.