BENGALURU: The Rural Development and Panchayath Raj Department has issued a circular to all panchayaths across Karnataka to make it mandatory to remember martyrs from their areas on Independence and Republic days; but wives of martyrs are not impressed.
The wives say that the government should instead focus on rehabilitating martyrs’ families, helping them have an independent income by employing them or providing a platform to run small businesses.The remembrance was initiated when HK Patil was the RDPR minister. He had received a memorandum from a freedom fighter who stated that freedom fighters who died in pre-independence era or fighting for the nation should be remembered at all respective gram panchayaths on days such as Independence Day (August 15), Republic Day (January 26) and Martyr’s day (January 30).
Later, officials decided to extend the same to soldiers who died fighting for the nation. The RDPR department issued the circular after the elections.M K Kempegowda, Director (Panchayath Raj), who issued the circular, told The New Indian Express that there is a considerable number of martyred soldiers from rural areas in the state. “We have sent a circular to all 6,025 gram panchayaths in the state to invite family members of martyrs and honour them,” he said.But the idea has not gone down well with family members of martyrs.
Subhashini Vasanth, widow of Col V Vasanth, who was martyred on July 31, 2007, in the Uri sector of North Kashmir while fighting militants, said that by inviting martyrs’ family members, they would only make them relive the trauma. She said the family members — especially the wife — struggles as single parent. Here, the state government has a bigger role to play such as helping them with getting micro-finance for their business or, if the wife is inadequately educated, supporting her educational pursuits.
What the circular says
The recently issued circular to all Panchayath Chairmen and Panchayath Development Officers says: “Thousands of people died in the pre-independence era; because of their sacrifice, India got independence. It is our responsibility to remember them. Similarly, many soldiers died for the nation post-independence. One has to remember their sacrifices, too, which has to reach people.”