Sunday, 26 January 2014

Forgotten Heroes.. Its time we remember them

Today is a very important date in the history of independent India. On this day in 1950, our constitution came into effect, and the dominion status that was given to India from 1947 ceased. India became a sovereign, secular democratic republic.

This seems like general knowledge to all of us. However, I came across a Youtube video in the channel "The Viral Fever", where youth in Delhi and Mumbai are asked some general knowledge questions about India's freedom struggle, and Republic Day. To my shock, there were quite a few who did not know these answers. Just have a look at the video below:

I  just hope that this was a publicity stunt, and that they were purposefully giving wrong answers. Its high time we remember our freedom fighters and leaders who sacrificed their life and career, to give us the India we have today. I will point out a few such souls who have faded in memory.

All of us celebrate 14th November as Children's Day, the birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. But very few of us know that 5 days later, 19th November is the birth anniversary of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, one of the famous heroes in the first war of Independence of 1857. She was only 30 when she died in the battle. To commemorate 100 years of the 1857 revolt, a 15 paise stamp was issued in her name in 1957. Cut to 2014, what value does 15 paise have? Zilch !! I feel they should release another stamp, of a decent denomination in her name this year. This year also marks 400 years since the construction of the Jhansi Fort.

Coming to the more recent past, I will mention another leader who, inspite of making large contributions to Indian contemporary history, has not been given due recognition.

Three days ago, on January 23, was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's birth anniversary. He was a prominent leader in the freedom struggle who chose to make friends with Britain's enemies at that time, ie the Soviets, the Nazis and the Japanese to seek help for India's freedom. While in Japan, he trained a small army of soldiers called the Indian National Army (INA). With their help, his army attacked British India from the North East. Their plans, however were foiled. Netaji tried to escape to Japan but it is said that he was killed in a plane crash in 1945. However, this theory is widely speculated, and the mystery of his death has still not been solved. The Indian Government maintains a stubborn silence over it. Many inquiry commissions have come and gone, but the truth is still unknown. The Government must make all information and files related to the mystery of his death public so that the matter can once and for all be settled. It is sad that he could not be a part of post-independence nation building.

The Bharat Ratna, the most prestigious award in India, was conferred to him posthumously in 1992. However, the Supreme Court withdrew it later since it could not conclusively prove the fact that whether he was alive or not, Now, its been more than 110 years since he was born. Hence the probability of him being alive is highly unlikely. Keeping this in mind, I am of the opinion that we should award him posthumously and give him the recognition he deserves. 

Undoubtedly, there are many many more such heroes that deserve mention like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashkekar Azad, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak etc. However, for the sake of space constraints, I could to elaborate on these two leaders.

I came across these two movies on Youtube. The first one is a 1956 movie called "Jhansi Ki Rani", 

and the other one is a 3 hour movie made in 2004, called "Bose: The forgotten Hero". 

A book by Anuj Dhar , "India's biggest cover up" discusses in detail about the mystery surrounding Bose's death.

I would like to conclude this write up with a final video. This song is what India symbolizes, "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara" or "Unity in Diversity". The original video was created by Doordarshan in 1989. In this video, famous guitarist Baiju Dharmajan creates a Carnatic Rock instrumental version of the same.

"Mile Sur Mera Tumhara,
Jo Sur Bane Humara

Jaya He ! Jaya He ! Jaya He ! Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya He ~!"