1. Have an Interesting Snippet to Share : Click Here
    Dismiss Notice

Cook Who Saved Mahathma In 1917

Discussion in 'Interesting Shares' started by jayasala42, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    5,379
    Likes Received:
    10,592
    Trophy Points:
    438
    Gender:
    Female
    A resident of Motihari district in Bihar, Batak Mian saved the legendary leader from being poisoned in 1917. Here’s his forgotten story.
    [​IMG]

    Photo Source

    The year was 1917. On the afternoon of April 15, thousands had gathered at Motihari railway station (in Bihar’s East Champaran) to wait for a man who was destined to lift their lives out of misery.

    It was 3 pm when Gandhi alighted at the station from a train coming from Muzaffarpur. He had come to probe the appalling conditions under which local farmers were being forced by the landlords to grow indigo.

    Nobody knew it then but this fact-finding mission would snowball into the first satyagraha (policy of passive political resistance) that Gandhi would lead in the country and begin a new chapter in India’s independence struggle.

    According to the book Champaran ke Swatantatra Senani, during this visit, Gandhi got a dinner invitation from a British manager of an indigo plantation named Erwin.

    Aggravated by Gandhi’s interference in the workings of exploitative tinkathia system, the Englishman planned to assassinate Gandhi during this dinner.
    [​IMG]

    Photo Source

    So Erwin told his cook, Batak Mian, to serve Gandhi a glass of milk laced with poison. To ensure that this was done, he offered substantial inducements as well as issued threats of dire punishment.

    When the time came, the deeply patriotic cook did present the glass of milk to Gandhi, but also warned him of its contents and revealed Erwin’s sinister intentions behind it. Dr Rajendra Prasad, who would later go on to become India’s first president, witnessed the entire episode.

    Promotion

    While Gandhi escaped the assassination attempt to successfully lead the Champaran Satyagraha, the man who had saved his life had to pay dearly for it. Dismissed from work, Batak Mian was thrown behind bars and tortured. His house was turned into a crematorium and his family was driven out of their village (Siswa Ajgari, a hamlet near Motihari).

    With time, his act of bravery was erased from public memory, until 1950, when Dr Rajendra Prasad visited Motihari ( the then-headquarters of an undivided Champaran). As India’s first president alighted at the railway station, he was greeted by a huge crowd that had gathered to welcome him.

    Just then, he witnessed a commotion near the entrance as a haggard old man tried to make his way towards him. Recognising him instantly as Batak Mian, Prasad walked up to him, hugged him and escorted him to the dais where he gave him a chair next to his.
    [​IMG]
    Mahatma Gandhi and Rajendra Prasad (left) on their way to meet Viceroy Lord Linlithgow after the outbreak of World War II.
    Photo Source

    To the surprised and curious crowd, the President introduced the man sitting next to him as the person who had saved Mahatma Gandhi’s life. He then narrated the story of how the impoverished cook had turned down all kinds of inducements to poison Gandhi and faced brutal punishment as a result.

    Had it not been for Batak Mian, Gandhi would have died, Prasad exclaimed, before wondering aloud what impact such a tragedy might have had on India’s independence. On learning about the hardships faced by the cook’s family, he also ordered the collector of the region to give 24 acres of land to Batak Mian and his three sons as a token of appreciation from the nation.

    This incident seared Batak Mian’s story into the memories of Champaran’s residents. However, nearly a century after the Champaran Satyagraha, his grandchildren are still waiting for the government to honour its promise.

    In 2010, after reading a report in the Hindustan Times on the plight of the family, then president Pratibha Patil had ordered the district magistrates of East and West Champaran to submit a report on action taken to fulfil Rajendra Prasad’s promise. But thanks to government apathy, the move did not lead to any action.

    Today, the tombs of Batak Mian and his wife lie unattended in the nondescript village of Siswa Ajgari. His grandchildren live on a patch of land near the Valmiki Tiger Reserve forest and make a living as labourers.

    It’s time India acknowledges the debt it owes to Batak Mian for saving the leader who would play a pivotal role in its hard-won independence. It’s time India gives this unsung hero the respect and recognition he deserves. For as actor Farooq Sheikh wrote in a letter to his family in 1996,

    “If it weren’t for Batak Mian, India’s history would have been different.”
    Jayasala42
     
    umaakumar and Thyagarajan like this.
    Loading...

  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

    Messages:
    11,847
    Likes Received:
    12,679
    Trophy Points:
    615
    Gender:
    Male
    @jayasala42
    :hello:Many generations fed with all about British officers and Moghul emperors but present Government syllabi’s includes many stories of sons of Indian soil, patriots and those who sacrificed their life.

    But then am not sure whether the sacrifice of that cook you had mentioned here of saving father of Nation from an attempt of assassination, finds a place in the new syllabi.
    But they wanted only wise clerks knowing English and Macaulay just did that. I heard ministry of Education gathered collected such stories of dare devilry adventure courage of Indians during Moghul rule and in British India.
    Thanks and Regards.
     
  3. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    5,379
    Likes Received:
    10,592
    Trophy Points:
    438
    Gender:
    Female
    many things go out of syllabi. In 1985, my cousin was the chief Engineer(civil) in CPWD ,UP. When a mega project was to commence, my cousin was examining the tenders and offering comments. One particular Contractor had made all the arrangements to go in his favour.His appln was
    rejected by my cousin on valid grounds.Somehow the inf was leaked.That contractor arranged for a party inviting all the family members of all the officers.My cousin alone belonged to South. Last item of the dinner was curd rice, which was served to my my brother, his wife and two sons only,overlookong all others-unnoticed by one and all. On reaching home my cousin, his wife and the elder son got hazy and became unconscious.The younger son had a miraculous escape as he used to regular Praanaayaamam.He admitted them in the hospital. On being treated in a private nursing home for a week, all the three survived. From the blood results and scan it was noticed to be poisoning.As it was a common dinner, no action could be taken, though they could identify the crime.Very easily they would have become victims.
    So many crimes and accusations do take place and they thrive long too.
    As my brother was about to retire within a year, he resigned and settled in madras.No action could be taken, though the victim's brother was holding a lucrative post
    in the centre.
    World is like that.
    Jayasala42
     

Share This Page