Patna: Temple dedicated to freedom fighters
Temples dedicated to Gods and Goddesses are a common sight, but this one is dedicated to the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the country.
Tucked away in Parna village of Begusarai district in Bihar, around 140km east of Patna, a temple complex boasts of idols of Mahatma Gandhi, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, and Veer Kunwar Singh.
While Gandhiji is with a stick, Laxmibai and Kunwar Singh have been depicted riding their horses with swords drawn out.
The same complex also has granite busts of Khudiram Bose, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Lal Bahadhur Shashtri, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and Ramchandra Singh, a local martyr of the freedom movement.
The colour combination of the temple complex is predominantly saffron, white and green which makes our national flag.
“We had a temple of Lord Shiva here since the 1940s and one dedicated to Goddess Durga was built in 1987. But then people thought to have temples and idols of freedom fighters also because we noticed that the youths were forgetting the sacrifices made by them,” Rajesh Kumar, a panchayat sevak and a resident of the village told The Telegraph.
It started with the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in 1991 and the rest were added with the passage of time.
“The entire temple complex and everything in it is an outcome of collective effort. People gave money, bricks, steel rods, cement and paint for the purpose. Many contributed labour needed in the construction work. The place has developed as a symbol of our unity and communal amity because people from different faith have contributed to it,” Kumar added. His father Shivram Mahto was the village headman and had coordinated the efforts.
The villagers also decided to appoint a full-time priest to ensure that regular rituals to worship the deities and the freedom fighters are performed.
“All the goods needed to perform the rituals and prayers are contributed by the villagers. They also make some monetary offerings. The villagers take care of whatever is needed for the place. For example, Shamsher Alam takes care of lighting and CCTV cameras,” priest Shivjyoti Jha said.
The villagers asserted that CCTV cameras were needed to ensure that no anti-social element tries to harm the place that has come up as the centre point of communal harmony in the area.
The place has been scrubbed clean to prepare for Independence Day on Monday. Flowers, garlands and sweets were purchased from the nearby town.
“Independence Day is the biggest occasion for the place. The people of the entire village assemble here to sing the national anthem and remember the freedom fighters. Prayers are said, sweets are distributed. It is like a mela (fair),” Birendra Sharma, the mukhiya of Parna, told The Telegraph.
Apart from Independence Day and Republic Day, the birth anniversaries of the freedom fighters are also celebrated with much grandeur.
“It does not matter whether we are there or not. The nation, the national flag and the memories of the men and women who laid down their lives for them should remain,” said Shiv Narayan Jha, a resident of Parna.