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Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Sulabh International’s founder grants Rs 200,000/- for marriage of Priyanka. Former Maharashtra Chief Justice Dharmadhikari hails efforts of a scribe-couple, ask people to follow..
It was on August 9, 1925. The 8Dn train travelling from Saharanpur to Lucknow was approaching Kakori town (between Alamnagar and Kakori) near Uttar Pradesh, when one of the revolutionaries pulled the chain to stop the train and over-powered the guard. The train was carrying the money-bags belonging to the British government treasury in the guard’s cabin.
Ms Priyanka, 4th generation descendant of Ram Prasad Bismil
Altogether 40 persons were arrested in this historic case. Despite protests by the defence committee, chaired by Govind Ballabh Pant, four revolutionaries – Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Roshan Singh – were sentenced to death by the court. Bismil was hanged on December 19, 1927 at Gorakhpur jail while Ashfaqullah Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri at the Faizabad, Naini (Allahabad) and Gonda jails respectively.
Almost 86-year later, the one and only bloodline of Martyr Bismil, Mr Bijendra Singh Tomar, was forced to work as a “labourer” at the ancestral village in Murena district of Madhya Pradesh to protect his 55-year old wife Mrs Munni Devi, 22-year son Sonu and 20-year-old marriageable daughter Ms Priyanka. Not only that, more than 70-bigha of lands that were allotted to Bismil’s family by the government of India in 1947, were grabbed by the white collar politicians, policemen and the local goons on various “flimsy ground”.
3rd gen of Bismil – Bijendra singh tomar and family
But his fate took a U-turn on June 24, 2013 at a function chaired by a noted Gandhian and the former Chief Justice of Maharashtra High Court Justice Chandra Shekhar Dharmadhikari and chairman-cum-managing director of General Insurance Corporation (GIC-Re) Mr Ashok K Roy, when Founder of Sulabh International Dr Bindeshwar Pathak granted Rs 200,000/- for the marriage of Bijendra Singh Tomar’s daughter Ms Priyanka.
The function was “Meet the Martyrs & their Descendants” of freedom movement of India. On this occasion Justice (retd) Dharmadhikari also launched a first-ever coffee-table book “1857-1947 Forgotten Heroes & MARTYRS of India’s Freedom Movement”. The book, comprises pictorial details of as many as 200 martyrs and forgotten heroes and their 30 descendants (located so far), was compiled, edited and published by SBS Radio Australia’s reporter Shivnath Jha and his wife Neena Jha under the aegis of Aandolan Ek Pustak Se.
Over dozen descendants families of the martyrs including Mangal Pandey, Chapekar brothers, Udham Singh, Rajguru were present on the occasion.
The book is the fifth in the series launched by the ‘Andolan Ek Pustak Se’ movement, which began in the year 2006 under which the husband wife duo aimed to publish one book per year in order to honour and help ‘those who have brought laurels to the country.’
The series began with a ‘Monograph on Ustad Bismillah Khan,’ that was aimed at drawing attention to the plight of the ailing shahnai maestro.
Other books in the series include one on former Union Railway minister Lalu Prasad, – ‘Lalu Prasad: India’s Miracle,’ and ‘Prime Ministers of India: Bharat Bhagya Vidhata,’ and “Forgotten Heroes and Their Neglected Descendants”. It was the fourth attempt by the author to rehabilitate descendants of the forgotten freedom fighters from the proceeds of the books.
Earlier, he helped Vinayak Rao Tope, the fourth generation descendant of frontline leader of 1857 mutiny Tatya Tope and Sultana Begum, the great granddaughter-in-law of India’s last emperor and commander-in-chief of the 1857 mutiny Bahadur Shah Zafar and Udham Singh, who had killed Michael O Dwyer to avenge the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
‘The family feels sad due to the fact that despite its ancestors dying for the country the Government even after more than more than 66 years after the independence continues to ignore them.,’
According to the book, the adopted son of the legendary Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Damodar Rao did survive the first war of independence of 1857 in which his mother died. Today Rao’s third generation descendants are living in anonymity in India.’Damodar Rao lives on as a small footnote in history of India and in popular imagination as a little boy tied to a fearless heroine’s back, and the historians also ignored finding out about his next generation.
He lived the rest of his days in penury begging the British government to restore to him some of his rights without avail,’ says the book.To be released in November, the book comprises the 35 descendants of martyrs from 1857 to 1947, including Rani Laxminbai, Tatya Tope, Thakur Durga Singh, Azimullah Khan, Jaipal Singh (who fought with Babu Kunwar Singh in Bihar), Mangal Pandey, Jabardast Khan, Surendra Sai, Udham Singh, Khudiram Bose, Bhagat Singh, Ras Behari Bose, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Rajguru, Surya Sen, Batukeshwar Dutt and Baikunth Shukla.
‘We have the example of Chapekar brothers of Pune, where all three brothers were killed by the Britishers. Nobody knows what their families are doing for a survival,’ says Jha.
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