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The exact date of his birth is not known even to his family.His children never addressed him as 'father'(rather called him 'elder uncle') for the whole of his life and even after.He fought with his father without any personal reasons.He is no more today.He breathed his last in 1985.
I'm talking about a freedom fighter who actively participated in Indian freedom struggle against British rule.His name was Vivekananda Rath and he is my great-grandfather.A native of Athgarh(Orissa),he joined Congress in the initial stages of his 'career'.He went to jail several times.As a result,his own children took him to be a criminal and began to address him 'uncle' .When he had his grandchildren(1970s),he used to tell them the story of the country's struggle-his own struggle.In jails, they were served 'khichdi'
(rice with pulses-but for them it was rice with a bit of turmeric powder).A red chilly in the radish curry was a treat for them.
Vivekananda's father was a police officer under British Raj.The only rebel against this strict father was his eldest son,Vivekananda.World War II was at its peak.Prices of essential commodities were sky-high.The Congress party held meetings to discuss the issue.Vivekananda chipped in ,"There is no such shortage in our house".Someone replied,"You are a police officer's son."The former came home and had a debate with his father.At last,
the father declared,"No milk,sugar and kerosene will be provided to you and your children.I shall see how you handle matters yourself."A short while later,
Vivekananda went to jail.His daughter was a few months old then.His wife wrote to him,"There is nothing to feed our daughter".The father's reply was,"Ensure that she survives on water.If my children die out of hunger,I will consider them as martyrs."The wife obeyed the orders.A generous neighbour came to the childrens' aid but the young mother stood with her husband.Eight days later,the police officer conceded defeat and freedom won.Such was the man's courage and patriotism.
I am sure each freedom fighter must have such poignant stories to tell.
But did they sacrifice their present to see the country in its present state?We must ask this to ourselves and answer it in due time.Otherwise, it may be too late.
Signing off,


CutePooja said…
Hats off to the patriot..
anwesa, u r blessed to have such ancestors..
ANWESA said…
Thanx Pooja!

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