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Durable Link to this BlogTuesday, September 2, 2008

Bhagatsingh as seen by Kamaladevi

Excerpted From: Inner Recesses & Outer Spaces Memoirs – Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Navrang , New-Delhi, 1986.

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One morning after I finished my office work and there was still time for the House to rise for lunch, I decided to go into the gallery to listen to the debate. As I went from the Speaker's office I was able to slip in without the normal admission pass. As I sat down, my eyes caught and held for a while right across in the gallery opposite, a striking, handsome man who did not seem interested in the proceedings, but restlessly looked about as though waiting impatiently for something to happen. And it did. There was a big bang, a spurt of smoke that hid everything for a moment, then a big shower of white leaflets flying all over the House. To me, the episode was a complete mystery. As I tried to move out of the gallery I realized that all passages were barred by the security men who were asking each visitor to produce the entrance pass before the exit could be opened. I suddenly went cold inside, as I confessed I had no pass. I was asked to stand aside and wait for the others to depart. Fortunately I had asked Dr. Jayakar's driver to wait for me so that I could ride back in the car. He informed Dr. Jayakar of my plight and he rescued me after giving what seemed almost like an affidavit: that the Honourable member knew me and would stand guarantee for my good conduct. Only as I drove back with Dr. Jayakar I knew what had happened and I felt small and foolish at my small fears in the context of the grand heroics of Bhagat Singh and his sensational act.

For it was he, who had thrown the bomb! I was still rather dazed when my fingers felt the crisp paper I had picked up as it alighted on my lap which I had almost absentmindedly thrust into my handbag. "It takes a loud noise to make the deaf hear" -- said the pamphlet quoting a French anarchist, Matyr Vaillant.

The pamphlet pointed out "the irony of a Central Legislature, a hollow show, a mischievous make-believe stage which kept enacting repressive measures to enslave the people in the name of the law". "There never has been within living memory so manifestly stage-managed an exhibition of India’s helpless subjection than this."

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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