Freedom fighter, 83, pulls rickshaw for living


Ranchi : Somar Sundi feels the bullet and baton injuries he suffered in the Quit India movement of 1942 pale in the face of his miseries today. He is 83 years old and pulls a rickshaw on the streets of Jharkhand.

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Deprived of a freedom fighter’s pension and deserted by the children from his first marriage, Sundi, a resident of Hazaribagh district, took to pulling rickshaws after suffering huge losses in the vegetable business two years ago.

Sundi had sustained two bullet wounds on the shoulder in a police firing during the Quit India movement. “I fought for freedom along with Jayaprakash Narayan,” he said.

“Those who are in power have forgotten the freedom fighters and the importance of independence.”

The emaciated Sundi does not get any pension, as he has no records to prove that he was a freedom fighter, though his neighbours vouch for it.

Sometimes he has to cut down on food to pay the house rent.

Sundi said the children from his second marriage were too young to earn a living. “There is no one who can help us. At present I have no option but to pull a rickshaw for survival,” he said.

He wishes things could change once again. “We need to launch a second movement to end corruption and poverty to fulfil the desire of Mahatma Gandhi.”

Jaswa Devi, his second wife, is also bitter: “The person who gave his youth to the country’s independence is struggling to eke out a living. This reflects the plight of the country.”