For them one daily meal is a luxury
Revelries of Republic Day have no meaning for the destitute sons of freedom fighters who have been shunned away by the State and Central governments. During the pre-Independence era, these sons of lesser God were deprived of their due affection and parental care as their fathers were lodged behind bars in the freedom struggle.india Updated: Feb 20, 2013 18:50 IST
Revelries of Republic Day have no meaning for the destitute sons of freedom fighters who have been shunned away by the State and Central governments.
During the pre-Independence era, these sons of lesser God were deprived of their due affection and parental care as their fathers were lodged behind bars in the freedom struggle. And in the post-Independence era it is Government Order (GO), issued way back in 1972 by the Union government, which is responsible for their miseries. This GO was later also issued by the State government. The Go issued by the Central government is also now famously known as ‘Swatantrata Senani Samman Pension’.
These impoverished sons of freedom fighters are not able to make their two ends meet. Even a daily meal has become a luxury for these unfortunate sons.
Cases abound in Kanpur city, which played a pivotal role in the Independence struggle, where sons of freedom fighters are working as labourers, daily wage workers and rickshaw -pullers to earn their livelihood.
One such glaring example is that of Srikrishna Verma (58 years), son of late freedom fighter Kedar Nath Verma. On any given day Srikrishna could be seen at Toopibazar, Moolganj along with other labourers searching for a work or pulling a cart. Sacrifice of Kedar Nath Verma has gone in vein because his son Srikrishna did not secure a job for himself.
However, Srikrishna’s case is not an isolated one and there are many like him who are facing the apathy of both Central and State governments.
The GO issued by the government in 1972 has a major role to play in accentuating the miseries of these underprivileged sons. As per the GO issued 25 years after the Independence, only the wife of a freedom fighter is directly entitled for her husband’s pension. His son is entitled till he is minor (18 years) and while the daughter is eligible until she is unmarried. The day son became a major he remained no more eligible for his father’s pension.
The irony is that before issuing the GO Union government did not realise the fact that after the freedom struggle spanning from 1914 to 1947 and the day GO was issued in 1972 there was hardly any minor son of a freedom fighter left in the country. By that time all had become major and were technically debarred from the pension of their fathers, according to the GO.
All India Freedom Fighters Association has aptly dubbed these unfortunate sons as ‘political sufferers’ of the Independent struggle.
Mukti Kumar Mishra (55 years) son of a legendary poet and late freedom fighter Sudershan Chakra, whose poems imbibed nationalism and patriotic fervour in youths during the Independent struggle is yet another glaring example of an impoverished son of a freedom fighter becoming victim of GO issued in 1972 and the government apathy.
The day Mishra gets meal twice in a day, he considers the day lucky for himself. “Everyone know about my father and the role played by him in the freedom struggle. But I have not received even a single penny of my father’s pension after he died only because I was no more a minor at that time,” stated Mishra.
“People like me are political sufferers who were first neglected by their fathers due to political turmoil in the country and later by the successive governments,” added Mishra.
Another such example is that of Shiv Ram Nishad (68 years), son of late freedom fighter Jagan Nath Nishad, who is jobless and is at the mercy of his neighbours for his daily meal.
“The government must think about giving some financial assistance to the jobless sons of freedom fighters,” Nishad said. This is not the end of the story as the two sons of late freedom fighters Madan Mohan Gupta and Raj Kumari Gupta are in pitiable condition due to financial crisis.
Padamkant and Srikant Gupta, the two brothers, are on the verge of starvation and there is no one to look after them. Both of them are deprived of the pension of their parents, as they are major and did not qualify the norms of GO issued by the Union government. Vishnu Avatar Tripathi son of late freedom fighter Ram Avatar Tripathi ‘Tyagi’ has taken up the case on behalf of the destitute sons of freedom fighters.
“A prolonged battle will be fought with the Union government on the issue of financial assistance to jobless children of freedom fighters,” Tripathi said.
First Published: Jan 26, 2006 00:21 IST