At the ripe old age of 91, when one is expected to enjoy moments of joy with grandchildren, Radha Krishan is an unhappy man.
The nonagenarian, who had been to prison for over six months during the Quit India movement, is still awaiting pension as a freedom fighter.
“Are they (the government officials) going to wait till I die?” asked Krishan, whose life has taken many twists and turns since 1942.
His father Sobh Raj, the then Collector and District Magistrate of Hyderabad, Sindh (now in Pakistan), threw him out of the house for taking part in the freedom struggle after which he was jailed for more than six months in Central Jail in Hyderabad and Sukkur before returning to Hyderabad in 1943.
“I went to Bombay via Karachi only 1948, sans my certificates and other belongings … only with clothes I had on me,” the agile and fit-as-a-fiddle Krishan added.
After a brief stint in Bombay, he shifted to Delhi in 1952 and worked for as a manager with a private homeopath practitioner before joining a consumer durable company.
It was in 1957 that a government advertisement prompted him to register as a freedom fighter and then again apply for pension in response to a notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1972.
Showing a huge pile of correspondence with various government departments, the beleaguered grandfather of six, claimed, “A few years ago, it came to light that a namesake in Indore is drawing pension in my name (order no I-195/86/1/1/FF dated 26/7/1986) and here I am waiting for so many years. The authorities later told me that my case file (No 85/MP/87-FF (EZ-II) is not traceable. They finally closed the case saying my pension has been sanctioned.”
“The papers for two of us (his and the namesake) got mixed.”
When HT contacted Home Ministry, the officials responded in a similar manner.
“How can he not get any pension? Our records show his pension was sanctioned long back,” said a senior ministry official. When his attention was drawn to the problem, he said, “We have not received any complaint in this regard.”