Day to remember forgotten heroes | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Day to remember forgotten heroes

punjab Updated: Aug 15, 2012 02:23 IST
Raghbir Singh Brar

After all what the 14 freedom fighters of this village near Kotkpaura achieved, their contribution lies forgotten. In numbers of exceptional freedom fighters, only two other villages in the erstwhile Faridkot estate, Wander Jatana and Quila Naun, can compete with Koharwala. "The brave men are dead," says Harminder Singh, a retired teacher from Koharwala, who has all the memories of the long-forgotten heroes, "but their families still live in the village."

Dalip Kaur, 85, widow of freedom fighter Ganga Singh has received no reward, except a small pension for the sacrifices her husband. "My son, Kuldeep Singh, 56, a graduate, was never offered any job," she said. "Now his son and daughter-in-law have also graduated, but found no employment."

Disrespected at I-Day functions: families
"My mother only gets a monthly pension and invitation to the Independence Day function, where too we are harassed at the gates," said Kuldeep Singh. "The families of freedom fighters get no special treatment. Now, mother is tool old to attend the function. Father never even accepted a cup of tea from anybody for his services to the country, unlike the new politicians who want credit for just doing their duty.

They quit their well-paid jobs
"Among Koharwala's 14 freedom fighters, Najar Singh, Dalip Singh and Wazir Singh were from Backwards Classes," remembered Harminder Singh, 71. "Some of the freedom fighters from our village even quit their well-paid jobs to join the struggle for Independence."

The man who took on the state for farmers’ rights
Taking on the Faridkot princely estate, Nambardar Anokh Singh had filed a claim in the Lahore high court for farmers' ownership rights of their land. The farmers cultivated the land for only a fourth part of the crop and had no right over the land.

Jailed for daring to welcome Nehru
The village deployed 21 decorated pairs of oxen to welcome Jawaharlal Nehru even when princes ruled Faridkot and Nabha. Nehru cancelled his visit but the freedom fighters received a sentence of three years and six months in prison for their defiance of the ruler. None of the 14 ever got any benefits for their contribution, and half of them even failed to get any pension

"The village hasn't got due recognition for the contribution of our elders," said Kuldeep Singh. "Their dreams have not come true even after 65 years of freedom. Their sacrifices mean little to the leaders.”