July 7th, 2015
Will his story bring a change?
There are many more heroes on which our history never spoke about, Gour Hari Das is one of them. Gour Hari Das in himself is a living story who got his share of lime light after struggling for 32 years against his own government to prove his patriotic association. Many people are unaware of his name, his story has a lesser chance.
Gour Hari Das is a freedom fighter who made his way through a long battle of silent war. It all started with a small incident when Gour Hari Das’s son was declined admission in a Polytechnic Institute in Mumbai. He was asked to show a certificate that proved his father was a freedom fighter. This event changed and indirectly questioned his struggle for this nation.
Das was 14 when he took his first step towards the freedom struggle. Many years later, the same pair of legs tirelessly carried him up and down the stairs of government offices in our country.
He never knew he had to prove his struggle until his son had to fight for a college seat.
During a move to create records of freedom fighters in Odisha, Das had applied for identification but the endeavour never took off. Das persisted, travelling in turns to the collector’s office and Mantralaya. The procedure was slowed by a decision of the then Maharashtra government to not support freedom fighters from outside the state.
To all this, Das says- it was easier to fight the British than getting his due from his own people. He spent all his childhood fighting for a free India and later took 32 years in the same free country to prove that he actually fought for it.
At 84 years, the much sought-after certificate, when it was ultimately awarded, was a bittersweet victory. Instead of an engraved copper plaque issued for such honours, he received a statement on paper.
The message behind this is not how he had to prove his struggle but the very notion of our system and the way it works is questioned. At the end, the only picture we see is how Gour Hari Das fought for identity in a country that he helped to free.