Sunday held a surprise in store for the little bibliophiles of the Children’s Book Club.
The events, which had till then been just a part of their history textbooks, were narrated to them by two women, who experienced those events during the freedom struggle.
At the weekly session at Sanatkada, educationist Mohini Manglik, 88, and primary school teacher Kaushalya Popli, 84, shared their experiences during India’s freedom movement with the children of the club.
The children sat glued as Popli described her 18-day trek from Rangoon in Burma (now Myanmar) to Assam in 1946 to save her life and Manglik talked about her experience of cane charge by the British during her stint as part of the Quit India Movement.
One of her most cherished moments, Manglik also described her meeting with Mahatama Gandhi at the popular Hanuman temple in Hazratganj. “Most people don’t know that the father of the nation had come to Lucknow. When I saw Gandhi ji in Hazratganj, I could just smile at him. He too smiled back at me,” she recalled.
Speaking next, Popli, born in Rawalapindi (Pakistan), shared her experience of living in Burma during the Second World War. She said she clearly remembered when the first bomb exploded on December 23 1941.
“We- my three sibling, my parents and I- were trained to hear the different kinds of whistles. We had to hide in trenches whenever there was an attack expected and come out when it was over. My mother was a part of the Indian National Army formed by Subhash Chandra Bose,” she told an amazed audience.
Marvelling at the narratives, member of the Children’s Book Club Abhishek Soni, 13, said, “Earlier, I found history quite boring and lengthy. It was a tedious task having to read textbooks and memorise event. But it’s great fun to listen to history like this. Now, I would be able to relate these stories to incidents in history”.