When your grandfather had fought the British to give you a free country to breathe in, there is always a story to tell. We speak to a few of such grandchildren who remember their very own freedom fighters on Independence Day
Freedom Fighter B Seshachalam
Memories of Nandith Jaisimha
Relation to the patriot: Grandson
Nandith Jaisimha works in the creative industry and is a successful filmmaker today, but he accepts that the blood of a patriot rouses the spirit of working for the masses in him. Dr B Seshachalam (L.M.P Reg Medical Practitioner no: 1280) was a philanthropist first and then a doctor. “My grandfather was a well-educated man. He attended St Josephs school as well as Pre-University College. This also happens to be the first college where the national flag was hoisted after the independence,” he says.
“In his college days, he was arrested as a Political Prisoner accused of protesting during the freedom struggle in Bangalore in 1942 and had to pay a fine of `2 during his detention in the Central Jail. I discovered my grandfather was also a member of the Free Masons and that my grandmother Kamala too was actively involved in politics since the age of 10! Even after 35 years of his demise, people in Bangalore remember the Doctor. The people of Bangalore East never fail to mention their eternal gratitude to him.
Freedom Fighter Konanur Keshavmurthy
Memories of Trupti R Koushik
Relation to the patriot Great-granddaughter
I was very young when he passed away. For me he was an old man, but someone who really enjoyed living, who liked to eat heartily and who’s happy with whatever he has. And this in spite of the fact that he was blind and deaf. I would hold his hand and lead him around. From my mother and grandmother, I came to know that he was involved in the freedom struggle and went to jail. In fact, his daughter was born when he was in jail.
Upon hearing all this my whole view of him changed. He was someone who really supported widow remarriage, which was a big deal at the time, of course. There is an incident to illustrate this more strongly. He pushed for the remarriage of his sister, who lost her husband when she was really young. This showed great foresight and a liberal point of view, especially for those times. He saw to it that she got married before his own daughter. My mom also told me he was a very sure judge of character.
Freedom Fighter Kesari Oberoi
Memories of Deepak Maini
Relation to the patriot: Son
There are so many stories that I've been listening to from my mother pertaining to the Quit India Movement. Before her marriage her name was Kesari Oberoi. In August 1942, she was about 20 years Old. Once the Call for QUIT INDIA was given by Congress, it was taken up in the Undivided Punjab by various leaders, like Fauja Singh, Chaman lal Datta and other local leaders.
Mother’s brother, Lahori Lal Oberoi, was an active Congress worker. He, along with his friends, organised non-voilent dharnas in Jhelum. In the process, they used to get beaten by the police.
These type of dharnas used to be organised on a daily basis. The overall leadership in this part of the undivided India was taken care of by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan also called the Frontier Gandhi. In fact it was he was the one who inspired the youth to take a stand against the British. Even the girls and women in the organisation were entrusted with responsibilities of cooking and nursing the injured after the Police brutalities. In those days, my mothers parents used to object to her participation. But her brother and other local leaders were instrumental in motivating and convincing the elders into allowing the women and girl meanwhile assuring their safety and dignity. Later on, she got married in 1944. Maybe that was the end of a budding politician.
Now she is Mrs Asha, who is in the twilight of her long life.
Freedom Fighter: M S Narayanan
Memories of Gautham Madhu
Relation to the patriot: Grandson
At a time when the Swadeshi movement was gaining in popularity, a young man named M S Narayanan was expelled from school for wearing a gandhi cap. But that did not affect his will. He grew up to be a strong follower of Gandhian ideology. Inspired by the Swadeshi movement, he quit his government job and joined the Khadi movement. Narayanan was one among the first few to promote Khadi in Kerala. As a part of it, he established a Gandhi Mandiram at his village Nanthyattukunnam in Ernakulam in 1952.
We spoke to Gautham Madhu, the youngest grandson of MS Narayanan. The youngster is certainly proud of his grandfather.“I remember Appuppan as someone who brought me pedas every evening,” says the 21-year-old. He certainly misses his grandfather and is sad for not being able to spend much time with him. “He used to be out during the mornings talking to people and solving their problems. But at the same time he would not miss an opportunity to play with me in the evenings,” he said.
Freedom Fighter Satyendra Nath Vidyarthi
Memories of Aprajita Vidyarthi
Relation to the patriot: Granddaughter
Aprajita Vidyarthi's friends and family often tell her — "You should have born in during the time of freedom struggle!" She is a patriot, the fierce kind, who doesn't bat an eyelid before fighting for a cause. Whenever she is praised for the same, she remembers the person whose heritage she is carrying forward — her grandfather.
"That man wasn't meant for anything but India's Independence," she says. Satyendra Nath Vidyarthi's battle ground was Abhohar, a small district in Punjab and he was arrested almost every other month for his protest against the British. "To make his jail term bearable, where the British motive was to break the moral of the fighters, my grandfather started following a difficult lifestyle even when he was at home," Aprajita tells us. "He used to sleep under heavy quilts during summers and with minimum clothing during the winters," she says. His freedom struggle was passed on as bedtime stories by her grandmother. “She tells me I am just like him," she smiles.