Published On: Thu, Aug 13th, 2015

Fighting the British easier than fighting Indian bureaucracy, says veteran freedom fighter

Mumbai: For veteran freedom fighter Gour Hari Das (84), on whose life the Bollymood movie ”Gaur Hari Dastaan” is based, fighting the British was easier than dealing with the stubborn bureaucracy of the country.

"Fighting the British was easier than fighting the Indian bureaucracy," veteran freedom fighter Gour Hari Das said.

“Fighting the British was easier than fighting the Indian bureaucracy,” veteran freedom fighter Gour Hari Das said.

‘Gour Hari Dastaan–The Freedom File’ is based on the life of Das who had to fight a silent battle that lasted for 32 years, against the government to prove his patriotic association towards the nation.

“Fighting the British was easier than fighting the Indian bureaucracy. My struggle to get the (freedom fighter’s) certificate should be an eye-opener for the system which is riddled with (flaws) at the hands of babus,” Das said.

Speaking to reporters today ahead of the release of the film on Independence Day, the octogenarian recalled the struggle he put up with bureaucracy for the much sought-after certificate which took over three decades to arrive.

“I had filed my first application for getting the freedom fighter’s certificate at district collector’s office on March 12, 1976. And after 22 years (in 1998), I was told by the same office that since I had done my patriotic work in Orissa I should apply for the same to that government. If that is the case they should have told me to do so on the first day of filing the application,” he said.

Expressing the anguish, Das said that due to the delay in getting the document, people started casting aspersions on his integrity.

“People had started passing comments on my credibility saying I am trying to grab the certificate (anyhow),” he said.

Directed by Anant Mahadevan, the biopic stars Vinay Pathak as Gour Hari Das, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey, Tannishtha Chaterjee among others.

Das said he was a part of “Vanar Sena” (army of monkeys) of freedom fighters during pre-independence and used to transport confidential messages from one group to another.

Das, who came to Mumbai in 1954, retired from the Khadi and Villages Industries Commission in 1989.

However, the experience has not made Das relinquish the service to nation.

He donates 80 per cent of the pension he receives as a freedom fighter to nearby Navneet Hospital in suburban Dahisar where he lives with his wife and sons.

Navneet Hospital trustee Rajiv Singal, who helped Das during his struggle for the certificate, said, “It was really painful and shameful to find Gaurji running from pillar to post, but finally hard work accompanied by faith paid off.

PTI

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