Subhash Chandra Dubey should have been a happy man. After all, the home affairs ministry wrote last week to the chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh to act on a memorandum sent by Dubey to the prime minister’s office for reclaiming a plot that was allotted to his late freedom fighter father.
But the 63-year-old retired bank official, who received a copy of the home ministry’s letter on Tuesday, is not even hopeful. Because this is not the first time a high office of the union government has corresponded with the state government regarding Dubey’s demand.
Rather, he considers this correspondence as another of the 100-odd replies he has received from authorities in response to over 8,000 letters he has sent over the past 12 years to press his demand.
Dubey’s demand is simple: He wants the state government to re-allot a 10.41-acre plot at Timarni in Harda district that was given to his father, Ramlal Dubey, in December 1975 in the freedom fighters’ category.
Over the years, Dubey has spent more than Rs 1.5 lakh on correspondence and maintenance of records while the plot at Jinwani village might not be worth more than Rs 30,000 at the current market rate.
Dubey said his struggle is all about reclaiming the "lost honour" of his father and not about getting possession of the land.
“It is not a plot of land I am after. It is the lost honour of my father that I want to redeem. But despite claims of different nature by different governments and authorities, I do not think the honour of freedom fighters matters anymore to the country,” said an obviously cynical Dubey.
The allotment was cancelled in 1978 by the district administration on the ground that the plot was recorded as revenue forest (land with big trees) and thus fell under the jurisdiction of the forest department.
Though later correspondence with the forest department revealed that the plot had been de-listed from the revenue forest category in September 1975 – before the allotment to Ramlal Dubey – the district administration failed to return the plot to the freedom fighter. No other plot was allotted to him.
Since 1978, the freedom fighter kept corresponding about the matter with the revenue and forest departments till he passed away at the age of 90 in 2003. His widow Tulsabai maintained the correspondence till her death in 2005, but to no avail.
After the death of both his parents, Dubey made it his sole objective to reclaim the “lost honour” of his father. Now, a specially constructed store room in his house is full of files and bags with copies of over 10,000 letters that the Dubeys have sent out in a bid to reclaim the lost plot.
Dubey has written multiple times to the president, prime minister, chief minister, chief secretary, officials of the Harda district administration and different government departments, apart from several members of parliament and MLAs. He wrote to senior BJP leaders when they were in the opposition, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and even got a reply on his behalf in 1994. But nothing has been done to address his problem, he said.
The home ministry’s latest letter to the Madhya Pradesh chief secretary, dated December 29, 2014, was in response to a letter that Dubey sent to prime minister Narendra Modi in July last year.
“I said in the letter that my hopes of transparent and good governance from him were dashed as he failed to respond to my earlier letters. The home ministry has responded now, but I don’t think anything will come out of it,” he said.
When contacted, chief secretary Anthony De Sa said several letters arrived in his office every day and he could not remember the details of the case off hand. “But I would certainly get the matter examined again before any conclusion,” he said when given the details.