This article has been written as part of “WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere!”
As a voice representing the youth of India I often feel that the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the future of our motherland are not talked about as much as they should be. Now, I know that ideally respect and admiration must lie in one’s heart and there is no need for any ostentation.
But, why is it that I find my friends talk more about an Ernesto “Che”Guevara than a Bhagat Singh or a Rajguru or a Ram Prasad Bismil. It really irks when any mention of Bhagat Singh or Chandrashekhar Azad invariably invokes a reference to the films like “The Legend of Bhagat Singh,” “Rang De Basanti,” etc.
It’s a pity that these legends today are restricted to history books and movies. What should have been an integral part of our lives has been reduced to a subject of academic importance.
I have always been fascinated by certain figures that influenced India’s struggle for independence. Their very thought makes my heart tick faster than a clockwork. H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” remains my favorite science fiction novella till date. If only I could take possession of The Time Traveller’s machine for a few hours. Yes, only few hours… no more! Most would call it wishful thinking but I call it optimism.
Mark Twain said: “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” And yet there is only a thin line that separates the two. All we need is a powerful stimulus to convince us to “make-believe”. “WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere!” seems to serve the very purpose!
So without any further ado let’s get to the point straight. The five people with whom I would love to connect in a WeChat group are:
1). Bhagat Singh (along with Sukhdev and Rajguru)
Bhagat Singh remains a childhood hero for most Indians. In fact, he has been very much a part of the folklore. Even today I remember my grandparents narrating Bhagat Singh’s tales of heroics to me when I was a child. But, the concept of nuclear families has robbed the younger generation of this benefit.
It would indeed be a matter of great honor and privilege for me to be able to connect to Shaheed-e-Azam and express my deepest gratitude (on behalf of my fellow countrymen) for all the great sacrifices he and his comrades made for our motherland. Needless to say, I would also want to simultaneously connect to his valorous comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru and thank them as well.
I would tell them about Indian independence and how the nation has progressed since independence. At last, I would request these three legends to deliver their message for the youth of the nation.
2). Chandra Shekhar Azad
If there was one man who whose resolve was as inexorable as Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh’s, it was Chandra Shekhar Azad. He was only 15 years old when he joined the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi. He was arrested and in the court he announced his name to be Azad (The Liberated).
The resolve that he should at such a young age was truly commendable. He even died withstanding his pledge to never be captured alive as he shot himself dead with his last bullet following a long struggle in Allahabad’s Alfred Park.
Chandra Shekhar Azad is also considered to be the mentor of Bhagat Singh and chief strategist of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
Through the medium WeChat, I would like to shower this iconic personality—the paragon of courage, valor and determination—with the love, respect and admiration on the behalf of my fellow countrymen. I would also thank him for introducing the nation to the true meaning of the word “Azad” .
I would then tell him about Indian independence and the story of India’s progress as a nation of power and wealth. I would finally request him to deliver a message for the youth of the nation.
3). Subhas Chandra Bose
The third person I am most eager to connect to is the leader of Indian National Army, Subhas Chandra Bose. Bestowed with the sobriquet, “Netaji,” Bose galvanized the people of India with his famous quote: “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!”
Till date, Bose remains an enigmatic figure to most Indians. And his mysterious disappearance and alleged death in a plane crash—the fact that his body was never discovered—pretty much ensured that most questions involving Bose remain answered. I have often wished to summon Bose’s spirit by conducting a séance the same way I have dreamt of getting my hands on The Time Traveler’s machine.
But, WeChat is finally providing me with a “make-believe” opportunity to make contact with Subhas Chandra Bose and I certainly want to make the most of it.
After thanking Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose for the pivotal role he played in the India’s freedom struggle on the behalf of my fellow countrymen, I would narrate to him the tale of India’s progress after Independence and how we are fast emerging as a global superpower.
I would then question him about his mysterious disappearance (there are so many conspiracy theories that surround it). Finally we will have a concrete answer that will end all the speculations. I would end by requesting him to deliver a message to the youth of the nation from the 21st century perspective.
4). Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Jinnah has been a name that has been haunting the people of India since several decades. After all, he was the sole architect of British India’s partition into two separate states: India (A Hindu State) and Pakistan (A Muslim State). And the blood of lakhs of innocent people who died during the partition riots is on Jinnah’s hands. He is also answerable to the millions of hapless Indians whose lives were changed forever because of the endless traumas of partition.
Very few people know that long before he had proposed the scandalous two-nation theory, Barrister Jinnah used to be a top leader of the Indian National Congress. And Jinnah wasn’t even a conservative or a devout Muslim. So, what was it that had made him take such an extreme stance? Was it his suddenly found love for the Muslim fraternity? Or, was it his naked lust for absolute power and political supremacy?
While chatting with Jinnah on We Chat, I will keep this tough question for the very last. I would rather start by briefing him about the sorry state of affairs of the nation he had built jeopardizing the lives of millions. I will inform him how the so called “Land of the Pure” has become the breeding ground of terror and evil. I will ask him how content he really feels seeing the monster he has created.
And then I will go for the jugular and ask Jinnah the final question: What was his ulterior motive behind creation of a separate state? I sincerely hope he has the courage to provide a candid answer to a question that has haunted millions. I will be happy to even take a confession if he feels like making one.
5). Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
If we ask today’s youth about the teachings of the Mahatma very few will talk about “Gandhi’s Talisman” (printed on the inner cover of all NCERT books) or his autobiographical work “The story of my experiments with truth”.
On the contrary, most people will talk about the “Munna Bhai” movie starring Sanjay Dutt which propagated teachings of Gandhi using a rather controversial term “Gandhigiri”. Now, there is nothing wrong with it as long as only the right message is getting delivered, but how to ensure that?
While the Western world has managed to provide quite accurate caricatures of the Mahatma—the best example probably is Richard Attenborough’s 1982 award-winning film “Gandhi” starring Ben Kingsley in the eponymous role—Indians have often been found wanting when it comes to propagating the teachings of the Mahatma.
I will start the conversation on We Chat by first seeking his blessings. I will obviously try to make the most of the opportunity presented to me. After all, it’s not every day that you get the opportunity to talk to the Father of the Nation.
After having received his blessings, I will narrate to him the tale of India’s progress and how India is feast emerging as a force to reckon with in the international arena. I will then request him to share with me his life experiences (the not commonly known ones) that contributed to his transformation from an ordinary man to a “Mahatma”.
I will also seek his advice as to how can one remain true to his/her beliefs at all times. After that, I will beseech him to share an extract from his famous commentary on the Bhagvad Gita. At last, I will humbly request him to deliver a message to the youth of our nation—a message that will give us all the courage to continue our struggle despite the endless atrocities that serve to be roadblock. Who better than the Mahatma himself to give us all a mantra for success?