I am a retired principal of Airport English High School, Calcutta. As a young widow, I have had more than my fair share of duties and struggles. Right from being responsible for my four daughters to getting my private school recognised by the government, I have done umpteen events in my life all alone. So when my granddaughter asked me if I had done anything ‘all alone’ so that she could share my any unique story of my life in their blog, my mind at once went down the memory lane. Even though there are several instances befitting the blog, I have zeroed down to this one story back in 1945.
Back then, our country wasn’t a free nation. We Indians, in our own country, were slaves of the Britishers. Reading history made me aware about other countries that were already free and governing themselves. In contrast, we were still dominated by the Britishers, who had by then captured almost all important areas of public life.This injustice used to make my blood boil!
I was barely 17 years old back in ’45 and was determined to do something for my nation. One could discredit it as silly idealism of a teenager, but I always believed that if many individuals make up their minds to do something then their joint efforts can surely bring a greater change. So when most of my mates were busy thinking about their marriage, I had made up my mind to dedicate my life for the freedom struggle. With immense faith in my capabilities, I started thinking of ways in which I could contribute.
With this goal in mind, I used to attend the assembly meetings conducted by revolutionaries to support them. I would bunk my college and go alone to these meetings without the knowledge of my family or friends. There was a reason behind this secrecy– My father was an army doctor and my elder brother was in the air-force. If anyone got to know about my anti-British activities, then they would have surely lost their jobs.
My covert rebellion was not hidden for long. My father had discovered my diary and threatened to remove me from college after reading my revolutionary thoughts.
Well, then there also came a time when the British government had granted the revolutionaries to conduct elections. I was among the few ones who could read and write three languages (English, Hindi and Bengali). I helped to prepare the voter’s list in my area.
Then one day, I heard the national leaders were freed from jail and particularly Nehru called the whole nation to join hands in removing the Hallett government (the then Governor). Without giving a second thought, I went to attend his speech in Aminabad park.
It has been 70 years but I still remember the excitement in his voice when he said “Hallett government ko hum jhadu se bhagaenge”. (“We will chase away the Hallett government with a broom!”) While everyone applauded, I had tears in my eyes. I could feel the fervour in the air and knew that it will be the dawn of a new life. At that moment, I felt all the scoldings from my family members, bunking lectures and all my secret activities wasn’t in vain.
At 86, I remember that era, and that phase of my life with pride because I had to really muster courage to do those things against the knowledge of my father and brother. Deep down, I feel that even if it was just one percent, but I did play a role in our road to freedom.
Really those were the days, I can still feel the patriotic zeal of those times!
About Mrs. Malati Roy
A retired principal, she is a mother of four who at 86 stays all alone. She is a great cook and takes great interest in keeping herself updated with current affairs.
Written by Shalini Gupta
Edited by Ranjana Gupta & Tame SheWolf