Mon, 01 Nov 2010 04:00:10 GMT

Michelle Obama’s uncle worked in Punjab in ’60s

Bathinda: While the Golden Temple in Amritsar is no longer on their itinerary, US President Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle Obama, can trace her links to Punjab back to 1961 when her uncle, Nomenee Robinson, worked in the state as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Michelle Obama’s uncle worked in Punjab in ’60s

Robinson, an architect, was sent to Punjab to assist in building projects. Based at the Punjab Engineering College, he was associated with the institute's rural housing wing. He worked under then Punjab Financial Commissioner for Development Anthony Fletcher (ICS officer).

During his field work, Robinson stayed in Nasirpur village near Patiala, where he helped the residents in fabricating structures using a Cinva-Ram machine to make bricks from soil, sand, straw and a fraction of cement. In the course of his two-year stay in Punjab, Robinson travelled extensively with Indian engineers throughout the state, visiting Ludhiana, Sangrur, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Asked about his Punjab stay, Robinson, now 73 and a Peace Corps recruiter, said in an e-mail to The Indian Express: "It crosses my mind every year since I left. I would love to be involved in some way with strategic and economic planning for regions of India."

Robinson, who went on to do his MBA from Harvard Business School after returning from India, said he enjoyed Punjabi food and hospitality. His best friends were a mix of Sikhs and Hindus, he said, recalling some names like Muktiah Singh, Jugdesh, Tunji, Vir, Raju and Sohan Lal.

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