BY DEEPAK SHARMA
New Delhi, Aug 15 | Even as the nation celebrates its 74th Independence Day on Saturday, the descendants of the forgotten heroes of the freedom movement continue to live in pathetic conditions.
Some of the descendants of our martyrs are reduced to performing menial jobs for paltry wages, while a few are virtually begging on the streets.
Jeet Singh, the great grand nephew of martyr Udham Singh, was spotted near a construction site in Punjab’s Sangrur district. Jeet Singh has been serving as a daily wage labourer.
Udham Singh went to London in 1940 and assassinated Michael O’Dwyer, the then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, to avenge the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh.
The martyr’s family has been facing extreme poverty. However, subsequent governments in Punjab did not take care of the family.
Similarly, the descendants of Tatya Tope, one of the heroes of the 1857 rebellion, have been struggling in Bithoor, Kanpur.
“I found Tatya’s great grandson, Vinayak Rao Tope, running a small grocery shop in Bithur. I also discovered Anita Bose, great grand daughter-in-law of martyr Satyendranath Bosu, living in pathetic condition in Midnapore,” said Shivnath Jha, a former journalist who has written four books on the bloodlines of more than 73 forgotten heroes of the Indian freedom movement.
Satyendranath Bosu and Khudiram Bose were involved in the Alipore bomb case. Both were hanged in 1908. While Satyendranath was 26, Khudiram was just 18 years old when he was hanged by the Britishers.
“We traced Satyendranath’s bedridden great grandson who was in his mid 80s and in a paralytic condition. We spoke to Anita Bose, who was able to converse. Now we are trying to rehabilitate this old couple,” said Jha, who earlier collected Rs 5 lakh for Vinayak Rao Tope.
Jeet Singh was also given financial assistance.
Jha and his friends run an NGO and publish books detailing the living descendants of freedom fighters. Their organisation is coming up with a new 800-page pictorial book “1857-1947 Martyrs’ Bloodlines” that is likely to be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The book comprises pictorial details of living descendants of the Queen of Jhansi, Jaspal Singh (Babu Kunwar Singh commander-in-chief), Wajid Ali Shah, Mangal Pandey, Jabardast Khan, Tatya Tope, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Durga Singh, Surendra Sai, Udham Singh, Ashfaqullah Khan, Khudiram Bose, Bhagat Singh, Satyendra Nath Bosu, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Raj Guru, Sukhdev, Batukeshwar Datt, Jatindranath Mukherjee or Bagha Jatin, Kushal Konwar, Sachindra Nath Sanyal and many more.
Besides helping the descendents of Udham Singh and Tatya Tope, the organisation has succeeded in rehabilitating the descendents of Bahadur Shah Zafar and Ram Prasad, who were leading a life of deprivation, despite the existing government programmes to aid the families of freedom fighters.
The idea of paying tribute to the forgotten revolutionaries and martyrs who rebelled against the tyrannical British rule and laid their lives for the motherland does not include posting quotes, garlanding photos or making a biopics about the martyrs, Jha said, adding that, “We wish to bring a smile on their faces, we wish to perform marriages of their daughters, we wish to provide them financial support to send their children to school. This will be the real tribute.”