LUCKNOW: They say age is just a number. Meet Kanhaiya Lal Gupta. At 106, he was elected to the post of general secretary of North Eastern Railway Mazdoor Union (NERMU) for a whopping 61st time.
The centenarian hails from Gorakhpur and is still active in the trade union.
Members of the NERMU are preparing to get his name entered in the Limca Book of Records and Guinness Book as the world’s oldest active trade union leader.
Ask him what keeps him going and Gupta says, discipline and the “inspiration and moral strength” he draws from his past association with social activist Jayaprakash Narayan.
He says he gets energised when he finds himself in the middle of NERMU members. “NERMU office is my only residence and NERMU members are my family,” he adds.
Gupta joined the Railways in 1946 and was soon associated with NERMU, contesting its general secretary election every year. He retired in 1981 but continued to be the voice of NERMU members.
During his career, Gupta was dismissed from service four times and was even sent to jail once for about a month. But this did not stop him from pursuing his trade union activities.
NERMU members say he has a sharp memory and has a tried and tested routine he follows without fail. It involves getting up early, working through the day and sleeping around midnight.
“He eats two chappatis with a bit of dal twice a day with no spices,” a NREMU member says.