Nehru, Tiranga and the Torn Pyjama

From the Facebook wall of Professor Mohammad Aftab Alam

While idling away his time after the economics classes in the hostel room in Bihar University at Muzaffarpur, Bhola came to know about the visit of Nehru to address one election rally in 1957 general elections. 

This news filled Bhola with excitement to witness Nehru  and hear his mesmerizing speech in live form. In those days, in the absence of television and even radios were rare possessions , people had the images of their leaders in snippet forms appearing in newspapers. Deprived of the everydayness of these historic figures ,they had almost a mythical image among the masses. Nehru was one such charasmatic mythical figure:a world historic individual.

On the appointed day when Nehru was to descend on this administrative, commercial and educational headquarter of Tirhut and Mithila regions of Bihar, Muzaffarpur was teeming with people who had come from remote villages and adjoining towns . The town was totally filled and  every human soul was moving to the direction of the designated ground where Nehru was to address the teeming millions.

Bhola was one of these souls attired in his kurta pyjama moving at brisk pace to reach there early and to catch a glimpse of Nehru in his full physicality. But the rally ground was already full and filled with frantic commotion.Women and children were sitting in the front. The dais on which Nehru was standing along with other regional leaders got hidden by the upsurge of masses. This further created a disorderly push of the crowd from the behind to catch a clear view of the dais. The humungous crowd further pushed the women holding their children nearer to the dais. 

Still not loosing his hope and passion, Bhola was gathering all his physical strength moving and shearing apart in the disorderly crowd. In this attempt,his khadi pyjama got torn by the ruckus in the crowd.

Finally, that moment arrived and Bhola reached just in front of the dais which was slightly raised from the ground. With his torn pyjama, he finally got the glimpse of Nehru holding an upturned tiranga in one hand and grabbing few children in another arm who were thrown on the dais by the women getting pushed by the tumultuous crowd.

This was the sight Bhola with his torn pyjama captured of Nehru holding a tiranga in one hand and children in another. The torn pyjama was the symbolic of a country pushed to poverty and deprivation by the persistent colonial exploitation, tiranga signified the original promise of a hard won freedom, of an inclusive, pluralist, democratic, just India and children in his arm were the representative of the future of a new Republic but an old wounded civilization.

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