My salute to all the freedom fighters of India on this auspicious day of India’s Independence!
I make it a point to stress the ‘all’ for I salute everyone: the revolutionaries, the soldiers and officers of the Indian National Army (INA), and indeed every heart that panted for freedom, every soul who shed his or her blood that Mother India be free of her shackles.
Unfortunately, the Indian multitude has been largely brainwashed into considering almost all of the above freedom fighters beyond the pale. Those who did not follow the dictate of Gandhi and Congress, those who spilled their blood for their motherland, are the ones to suffer this fate particularly.
There is one glaring exception: The rioters of the Moplah
One will be hard put to it to find a more gruesome rioting. They did spill blood; not their own, but that of the Hindus and the Europeans; they fought, not for the freedom of India, but for Khilafat and “Muslim Raj”—yet the Government of Kerala graciously allowed them into the officially recognized “freedom fighters” clique in 1971.
I have sworn to find out why, one of these days.
I had a very telling conversation with one whom we shall call A.
“Oh, anyway, there was no struggle for freedom after the Quit India Movement in ’42, as such! So how many freedom fighters can still be around?” says A.
What a shocker! Quit India Movement was an ineffective, unorganized, badly-timed Congress Movement which did not even have United India as a goal. I gobbled like a turkey—metaphorically speaking—at this preposterous statement, but did manage to blurt out:
“Do you not count the INA . . .! Those soldiers were freedom fighters!”
He managed to crown his previous gaffe:
“Oh, the INA soldiers are not mentioned as freedom fighters.”
They who went to war fighting for India’s freedom, whom the Indians adored as their Symbol of Freedom, whom the British quote as a reason for getting out of India for good—they are not to be mentioned as freedom fighters—by whom?
The Congress?—the same Congress who came to power in free India by championing these patriots to win the elections and then stabbed them in the back when freedom was won? By that Congress?
It was obvious to me that A was supremely unaware of belonging to the “brainwashed multitude” of India.
“You,” I cried, “are making the grave error of assuming that the history of the Congress is the history of India!”
Fact of the matter is that he is not alone in making this error. This “error” has been insidiously percolated in the national and international psyche.
How does one counteract such brainwashing? A feeling of helplessness was washing over me. It was at that time I connected with Mr. Vishnu Pandya. And I realized that as long as there are people like him around, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Vishnuji is an eminent personality of Gujarat, India. He is a noted journalist, biographer, poet, novelist, historian—really, you name any facet of writing and he has a command of it! He is an author of an astounding 92 books . . . ! Fifteen of those are biographies of Revolutionaries of Gujarat.
On Independence Day Eve, there was a mega-show in Junagadh, Gujarat, especially honoring those freedom fighters who are in danger of being lost in obscurity. He has written the script for it.
Dr. Shreerang Godbole is another eminent personality. He boldly and forthrightly champions the cause of the Revolutionaries. Do read his gripping article on them on this link:
Hats off to them both!
I do hope there are many more people like Vishnuji and Shreerang, that every freedom fighter of India will get deserved recognition and be evergreen in the Indian memory.