How would you feel, when you meet your heroes directly from History books’ pages ? Especially when you worship them !
Some such thing happened to me, on 29th December, 2017.
Study of India’s freedom struggle is my passion, and so is an ambitious project, to write a historical fiction on Kakori Conspiracy. I have been travelling often to Lucknow in that respect, but always feeling that something still needs to be explored, something yet to unearth !
There is a theory which says that “ When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Well, this time around, it happened with me again and I could sense that the cascading effect from the Universe had started !
Before I could realize, I was reaching Lucknow, on a pleasantly cold day, to enjoy Lajawab food, Lajawab mehman nawazi, and an experience that I could never have imagined !
As I reached the hotel, soon a Government officer came to invite me for tomorrow's program – and lo and behold ! This contained the list of freedom fighters’names which we all have been reading only in History books..!
The program was organized to honour the 101th year of legendary Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s visit to Lucknow in 1916. Not only his grandchildren were invited to be felicitated and honoured, but also many unsung heroes and martyrs’ family members !!
While talking to this kind gentleman, I could not resist requesting to meet the families personally that evening, and agreeing to my request, he helped me reach the hotel where the guests were going to stay.
Lucknow was experiencing too much cold that evening, with heavy fog everywhere.
There was no possibility of stepping out from my hotel then.
But miraculously, a kind taxiwallah took me to the Government Hotel.
I was going to meet a completely different group of people here..
Here the guests were dignitaries who belonged to the families of heroes who had played an important role during the British Raj, and had ended by giving away their own lives after India’s freedom.
A group of volunteers were sitting in the lounge deputed to look after the guests as they arrived.
I appeared like an ambitious journalist, wanting to know everything in one hour, about the freedom struggle, and lives of ancestors of each one of them !
The Reception person helped me talk to the guests on phone, and get a permission to meet many of them personally.
I realized then, what it takes to have even a name written in the books of Indian history with their own blood, which can never be erased when one speaks of India’s freedom fighters.
While having dinner with these dignitaries, I was spellbound in awe and gratitude.
I felt as if I was witnessing India’s freedom struggle, with all of them around, that took place from 1857 to 1947 !
They had the genes of none less than Rana Pratap, Tatya Tope, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Mangal Pandey, Chapekar Bandhu, Pandit Din Dayal Upadhyay, Bhagat Singh, Thakur Roshan Singh, Ashfaq-Ulla-Khan, Ramkrishna Khatri, Shachindranath Bakshi, ChandraShekhar Azad, Vir Savarkar, UdhamSingh, Rajguru, Mahavir Singh, S.R.Rana and so many others.
As I attended their felicitation the next day, which was organized by the UP Government, tears rolled down from my eyes.
The program was full of fervor, and flavor of Patriotism ! There was a spellbinding Sanskrit shlok recital by children from the local schools followed by equally powerful elocution competition !
It was a happy moment to witness that citizens of tomorrow’s India were full of enthusiasm and patriotism !
The great leader and Guru of Gandhiji as well as of the whole of India, Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilakji was remembered after 70 years of freedom in this gathering, and so were many other unsung heroes !
It was very heartwarming to see the respect given by Chief Ministers of UP and Maharashtra to the freedom fighters and their families.
How to describe people who had fought for India’s freedom in today’s world ?
India has belonged to millions of people, but only their blood had boiled and soul stirred to give a fight to the invaders!
It was natural that people whom I met inherited the traits of their forefathers. They were as humble, as composed, as simple and as unassuming !
I assured myself, that having faith in them and worshiping their forefathers was indeed the right thing to do, and every Indian should learn about their lives and their sacrifices !
None of them came in a BMW or a Mercedes car.
None of them wore expensive clothes or diamonds.
None of them stayed at a costly hotel.
But that did not matter to them.
They were happy and proud of their lineage which is India’s greatest heritage !
It is only them, who had endured the brunt of losing earning members from their families who in turn gave away their lives for the Country’s good, and starved and lived in poverty without a single word of complaint.
Yes, and irony is that all along we have conveniently forgotten to acknowledge their sacrifices !
Do you know how Chandrashekhar Azad took beatings at the court at the young age of 15 years?
Do you know that MahavirSingh was forcibly given milk by a tube which went into his lungs during his fasting at the jail, causing his death ?
Do you know that Bhagat Singh fasted for 163 days, before he went to gallows ?
Do you know how Chapekar Bandhus were cheated by their own friend ?
Do you know that Barrister Vir Savarkar was tied to the oil extracting unit, in place of an ox (Kolhu ka Bail ) every morning at the Cellular jails ?
Do you know that Shachindranath Bakshi has written memoires about his life and how he trapped a CID by his cleverness ?
Do you know that Ram Prasad Bismil used to starve for days since his team mates could not afford to buy food ?
The list is ENDLESS !
On this 67th Republic Day, let us remember these bravehearts and learn more about the lives they lived !
Let us take a pledge to do only good for our country, as our land is soiled with blood of these martyrs, these saints and these higher souls !
My koti koti pranams to those who died unknown, unsung for India’s Glorious future !