Birsa Munda
Birsa Munda Freedom Fighter Museum at Ranchi

The freedom movement of India is a highly inspiring chapter of world history. With their deeds and not just their words, year after year so many freedom fighters gave highly inspiring examples of facing very tough challenges in highly courageous ways, often making big sacrifices with a smile and freedom movement slogans and songs on their lips.

The broad message of these freedom fighters was of liberty, justice, equality, unity, harmony and dignity for all. How much more can our country achieve if only we can keep alive this spirit of the freedom movement in the context of the needs of our present times? At a time when the NDA government has been steadily increasing the onslaught on civil liberties and human rights, and has been steadily moving away from the objectives of economic equality, it is all the more important to increase public consciousness about the great commitment of an overwhelming majority of our freedom fighters towards equality, justice and dignity, unity and harmony among all sections of society, apart from their great yearning for the freedom of India.

To achieve this objective, people’s organizations to keep alive the memory of freedom fighters should be started in all districts and these should also be centers of commitment to civil liberties and human rights, equality, justice and dignity of all. Almost all districts and regions have their own local heroes among freedom fighters. These centers should also keep alive their memory and message along with the message of great national level freedom fighters. In addition they should remember the work of great social reformers who contributed so much to the spirit of equality and justice, whether at the level of gender or caste or other levels. Similarly the peasant, worker, adivasi and anti-exploitation movements of those times should also be remembered. The broad thrust should be to remember not just the freedom movement but also activities of social reform and justice as these were sometimes a part of the freedom movement   or else complemented the freedom movement in important ways by advancing similar aims of justice, equality and non-discrimination.

These groups should also set up libraries which have books on not just the freedom movement but also on contemporary issues of equality, justice and  dignity, communal harmony and national unity, peace and  international solidarity ( as well as opposition of neo-colonialism and imperialism), also on increasingly more important issues of our times such as the protection of environment. These groups as well as these libraries should also organize talks and lectures on such issues by learned persons and social activists. An effort should be made to encourage public discussions on such important issues, and involving local educational institutions also in this.

Sudhir Vidyarthi has made a valuable contribution by writing extensively about the life and work of several freedom fighters, including those who have not received due recognition. In a recent series he has written for Amar Ujala newspaper titled Shaheedon Ke Gaon, he has written about his experiences of visiting the ancestral villages as well as living and working places of many freedom fighters. In this series he has frequently mentioned how the memory of these freedom fighters is fast fading even in places where they were born or where they worked. In some places busts or statues that were created in their memory have not been maintained properly.

If people’s groups and organizations to keep alive memory of freedom fighters, local as well as national, can come up in various districts and towns, these can act as living memorials for the contributions and commitments of freedom fighters. In addition it is also of crucial importance that in the current context, these organizations and groups should raise their voice for civil liberties and human rights, equality and non-discrimination, justice and dignity for all, communal harmony and national unity.

If they can fulfill this role then these organizations and groups can become living memorials of our freedom fighters as well as their ideas and ideals, as seen and understood in the context of present times.

Bharat Dogra has contributed several books and booklets on the freedom movement, the latest being When the Two Streams Met and Azadi Ke Deewanon Kee Daastaan.


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


Comments are closed.