Baliapal: Niranjan Mohapatra, a freedom fighter of Baliapal in Balasore, weighed down with age, can’t move out, can hardly see and hear anything. But still he nurtures a lot of dreams for the country.
At 83 with a weak physique, Mohapatra still bubbles with youthful enthusiasm to work for the country. He grieves over still-existent social maladies like poverty, racial discrimination, regional disparities, communalism, and corruption.
“The country became independent from the British yoke. All hoped socialism will prevail, there will be no discrimination between the haves and have-nots, no regional disparities, economic equality will be ensured, no appeasement politics, no communalism, no alcoholism and no corruption. But all such dreams are yet to be fulfilled. We are far from the prime goal of freedom,” he bemoaned.
Born to Khitishchandra Mohapatra and Munima Devi at Bolang village, Niranjan was moved by the call of Mahatma Gandhi. He dropped out of Class V and took a plunge into the freedom struggle by joining the Banara Sena, even though his parents were insisting on his education.
He had taken part in the Quit India Movement of 1942 and moved from village to village, propagating Swadeshi message. He had persuaded people not to pay revenue to landlords, give up British-made clothes and use Khadi clothes.
As it was his routine job, police had arrested him thrice and sent him to jail. He said, “Dr Harekrushna Mahatab, Nilamani Routray, Nilambar Das, Sardar Surendra Nayak, Gopabandhu Choudhry and Malati Devi had put their lives at stake in the freedom struggle.”
Niranjan still recalls the torture meted out to him by the British police. “There was joy in moving in villages with Tricolours in hands and shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jay. But what we see today. Political parties vie for appeasement to grab votes while the government has induced sloth among people by introducing one rupee-a-kg rice. This is not good at all for the next generation of the country,” he lamented.
He has been honoured by the government. However, he wished that the hard earned freedom be intact and utilised for the welfare of all.