February 9th, 2017
After 58 years, the widow of World War II soldier will get her pending dues. Kashibai Dhondi Yadav had not received her war widow pension. For 13 years after her husband was killed in World War II, she did not get a pension at all.
Kashibai began receiving the ordinary pension of Rs. 8 per month in 1958 and after revisions over the period went up to the current Rs. 8,000. After five decades, she will be getting all her dues. It is not a war widow pension but a special family pension. This will raise her monthly pension to around Rs. 24,000.
Kashibai’s husband, Lance Naik Joti Dhondi Yadav was in the 3/5 Maratha Light Infantry (MLI). He was barely 23 when he was killed on the Western Front on January 6, 1945. Kashibai was a minor when she was married; she does not remember her wedding date. She has trouble recalling the little time she spent with her husband.
She only remembers the time when her husband had gone to fight the war under the British and never returned. She was only informed that her husband had died on the battlefield.
Kashibai would draw her pension from Bank of India in Atpadi Sangli, Maharashtra. She realised that she would not get the pension unless she furnished her husband’s death certificate. The bank stopped her pension. Kashibai’s adopted son Pandit Ramu Yadav who was illiterate took help of ex-servicemen Sharad Dere from the village to get the death certificate from the regimental centre of MLI.
“It was a daunting task to get the death certificate from the centre since it was a very old record, but luckily we got it and submitted it to the bank in October,” says Sharad Dere, retired havildar from the Army’s Armoured Corps, as reported by The Times of India.
After furnishing the documents, Kashibai briefly received a pension amount of Rs 32,000, and from the next month, the bank again stopped her pension saying that it had been held back by the Union Government.
Kashibai’s son approached the ZSWO (Zilla Sainik Welfare Officer) of Solapur, Maharashtra approximately 125 kms from their village. He submitted the documents there, and the ZSWO referred the case to SWDM (Sainik Welfare Department of Maharashtra) in Pune this January.
The secretary of DESW (Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare) Prabhu Dayal Meena said that they have verified the documents and have taken the matter up with the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pension), Allahabad. The Department has also revised Kashibai’s pension pay order and changed its status to a special family pension. She will get the renewed pension with the arrears.
The in charge of the pension cell at the DESW, Suhas Pathak drove to Kashibai’s village and took the relevant documents from her. He says that Kashibai is entitled to get either special family pension or battle casualties pension, from the first pay commission till the seventh pay commission which includes One Rank One Pension (OROP) as well.
When Kashibai’s husband died, the only thing that reached her was a trunk and some of his clothes, which she has kept as a souvenir. Kashibai went to live with her parents for more than a decade and then she returned to Khawaspur and adopted Pandit. Kashibai worked as a labourer in nearby villages to earn a living.