CHENNAI: M K M Ameer Hamza, freedom fighter and a soldier of Netaji’s INA, had a peaceful death at his modest accommodation on Veerasamy Street at Seven Wells on Friday night. He was 99.
Hamza ‘bhai’ as he was fondly referred to in the locality was already a legend of sorts in his community. As a teenager, Hamza travelled to Burma (present day Myanmar) to assist his father in his trade.
Over a period of time, circumstances forced the cornered young man to become part of the Indian Independence League first and laterNetaji Subash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA).
Hamza’s younger brother, 88-year-old M K M Abdul Arif who was also in Burma recalled the events which unfolded there.
“My father and my brother went first as traders. We manufactured and sold biscuits on the outskirts of Rangoon,” Arif told Express at the Ameerunisha Burial ground in Royapettah where his brother’s final rites were held.
“The year was 1942, if I remember right. Rangoon was bombed day and night and we had to flee. We shifted to Thingangyun then and continued our business there,” Arif said.
According to him, Thingangyun had a considerable Indian and Muslim population which helped them to regroup.
A year later, the family shifted back to Mughal street, the main street in Rangoon where they set up a jewellery store.
“Mohammad Khayath Khan, a member of the Indian National Army used to visit our shop and my brother and I used to listen to his stories.”
Netaji’s speech at the city square ignited a spark in the brothers after which they joined the INA.
After the war, the family stayed in Burma and returned to India in the 1960’s repatriation of Burmese refugees.