Monday, 30th October 2017

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Missing: The eighth fighter

The unsung hero of Quit India Movement

By Dipak Mishra
  • Published 11.08.17
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The Shahid Smarak or the Seven Martyrs statue in Patna. The foundation of the sculpture was laid on August 15, 1947, by then Governor Jairam Das Daulatram

The seven martyrs whose sculptures stand tall in front of the Assembly gate had an eighth partner whom consecutive governments have forgotten to recognise.

The city's landmark - a reminder of seven youths who laid their lives trying to hoist the Tricolour in the Secretariat on August 11, 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi gave the Quit India call - was garlanded and honoured yesterday on the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement.

Ram Krishna Sinha

But the eighth partner who had actually hoisted the flag inside the Secretariat was not even recalled.

Ram Krishna Sinha, a third-year student of Patna College in 1942, had disguised himself as a gardener and had entered the Secretariat to hoist the Tricolour on top of the Secretariat.

He was arrested and sent to jail where he spent more than a year as an undertrial and a convict.

A letter issued from the office of Patna district magistrate on September 22, 1948, acknowledged Sinha's accomplishment.

"He was arrested when he was a student of III year class of Patna College at the secretariat on 11.8.42. Lodged in Bankipore Jail and while escorted to Phulwari camp jail mobs attacked on the escorting party and was let loose. His house and other belongings were attached for a period of another two months.

Was again arrested on the 29th November, 1942 and kept undertrial up to 30.8.42 and convicted section 225B IPC on 31.9.43 and sentenced for four months. Thus he suffered terribly on account of his participation," the certificate reads.

"My father never spoke about his contribution to the Quit India Movement publicly. But throughout his life he wore khadi. We made an effort to get his statue installed in a park near our house in Kankerbagh. But nothing happened and the statue of another person was installed there," said the late freedom fighter's son Navendu Sharma, recalling chief minister Nitish Kumar's visit to his house when his mother passed away in 2010.

Incidentally, the late freedom fighter also played a role in saving many Muslim women and children when communal violence broke out in 1947 and brought them safely from Mokama to Patna.

JDU MLC Neeraj Kumar had raised the issue of installing a statue of the late freedom fighter at the state Legislative Council.

"The government gave an assurance in the House that they would get a statue installed. They acknowledged the contribution made by late Ram Krishna Sharma in the Quit India Movement. But nothing happened.

A statute of the freedom fighter should be installed in Patna. His role is a vital contribution of Bihar in the Quit India Movement," said Neeraj.

The foundation of the sculpture was laid on August 15, 1947, by then governor Jairam Das Daulatram.

Sculptor Devi Prasad Roy Choudhary built the bronze statue of the seven students with the national flag and were cast in Italy before being shifted to Patna. On August 11, 1942, there was another youth who managed to hoist the national flag inside the secretariat and some old timers in Patna say that the eighth statue is missing.

A man, who actually hoisted the flag, spent his life in obscurity before he died in 1984 after retiring from government service. His family still unable to get a life statue of him installed in Patna. He remains forgotten in the Quit India Movement.