The old woman who gave birth to eight sons and daughters, heads a huge family that lives in Kho Nagorian locality of Jaipur.
Family members say that Munni Begum was born in August 1890. She has 52 grandsons and granddaughters apart from 96-odd great grandsons and great granddaughters other than two dozen great-great-grandchildren [and even their kids].
The elderly woman has seen three centuries. And now she is all set for the pilgrimage she has waited for all her life. On Saturday she reached the office of Haj Committee to fill the form. The Central Haj Committee officials from Delhi gave her special permission.
The Rajasthan Haj Welfare Society has requested the Saudia Arabia government that special attention should be paid to her because of Munni's age.
Munni Begum is perhaps the oldest woman on record to embark for the holy journey. She says that she had the wish to go for Haj ever since she was married in her teenage, and thus her wish is going to be fulfilled after over a century.
Earlier, Habib Miyan had gone for Haj at the age of 134. He had suddenly drawn international attention after it was found that he had been drawing pension for over 65 years.
Habib Miyan had retired in 1938. He went for Haj in 2004 when he was 134. Though birth certificates were unknown in the olden days, the bank records proved his age.
As per the pension papers, Habib Miyan was drawing pension since 1938. The documents clearly showed him as born in 1878 and this made him the world's oldest man alive until his death at the age of 138 in 2008. The bank officers delivered his pension at his home.
Now it's Munni Begum's turn though she is not a 'Munni' in the literary sense. [Munni means little in Urdu] In India, it was the tradition that mostly older persons went for Haj, after they had fulfilled their worldly responsibilities.
In recent years the pilgrims have begun going at a comparatively younger age, still a large number of Indians who go to Hejaz [Arabia] are over sixty. And Munni Begum clearly beats them as well. One hopes that along with other Hajis, she also manages to perform the Haj and returns safely. Amen.