Saturday, 13 September 2014

Our Forgotten Freedom Fighters : Do We Really Care?

Our Forgotten Freedom Fighters
Do We Really Care?

Place : Nagpur
Location : Zenda Chowk, Mahaal

I was visiting a prospective business partner in the Central Indian city of Nagpur, when my eyes chanced upon a well-constructed building lying nearly vacant unvisited, with a statue. In a spare moment I walked upto the statue : that of a freedom figher, inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Interesting part is, the featured person in the statue is Shahid Shankar Maahle, about whom there is no detail; only that the statue has been inaugurated by Pandit Nehru!



I asked around the shops nearby; apparently this building - The Shaheed Smaarak - was one of 4 such memorials made to freedom fighters in India {I have not been able to find internet resources to support these 4 buildings; I can only report what I have seen with my own eyes}. The lament in the people nearby was that people have forgotten about this, and the building now lies unvisited, and is used for Ganapati Pandals. The unvisited part I know for a fact, for I saw precisely no one visit there in the 3 plus hours I spent in front of the building. This was also supported by the caretaker, who showed me around the building. 

Well done, India.  This is how you value your freedom fighters, Keep it up. You cannot even spare a few minutes to visit such monuments {I have written another such memoir about a monument in Juhu Beach, Mumbai about a police officer}, even when you pass by it. How long does it take to stroll through such a building? These are the people who gave their lives, and their freedom so that we can have ours. And they lie forgotten 

Take a look at these photographs, at least... spare that much time for your saviours, people who gave their all for you!



























The Building is a 2-storied structure laid with photographs and oil paintings on the freedom struggle; could it have been better? Decidedly so. But fact remains that there is zero interest in memories of the brave fighters for our freedom. It isnt my contention that giving attention to monuments and visiting them is a litmus test of patriotism; one can be equally patriotic without visiting them. 

But that does in no way mean that we totally ignore these people and their memories... we can surely spare a few minutes from our schedule; or take an hour on a Sunday; or organise a school visit for the students... then and only then can we demand a better more modern and technically superior memorial; then and only then will there be an interest in creating modern memorials to our freedom fighters.

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