Monday, March 5, 2012

They took 6 years to recognise Rajguru’s heroics

Dear Comrades,

Postal Department agrees to issue commemorative stamp in the honour of Shivram Hari Rajguru but tells Maval MP to foot the bill.

What's left of the wada in Rajgurunagar, 45 km from Pune, where freedom fighter Rajguru lived before he moved to Varanasi

The communications department seems to think postage stamps with the images of filmstars are worth it, but refused to recognise one of India’s martyrs who played a role in the country’s freedom struggle.

A Member of Parliament who pursued the postal department to issue a stamp in the memory of Shivram Hari Rajguru was told that the department did not deem him worthy enough. Six years and four ministers later, the department is finally set to issue the commemorative stamp. It is due to be released in 2013.

Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, an MP from Maval constituency, had been pursuing the matter with the communications department since 2005. He started by submitting a proposal to the authorities in New Delhi, who rejected the idea. Not satisfied, Patil then requested the department to provide him with a list of persons who they thought were worthy of appearing on stamps. What he learnt was that the department had Raj Kapoor and Vaijayantimala on the list, but not this revolutionary.

He then approached the now infamous A Raja, who was then heading the communications ministry. “I asked him whether he knew who Rajguru was and without any remorse, he said he did not,” Patil told Mirror.

Then Patil followed the matter up with successive ministers like Dayanidhi Maran and Gurudas Kamat. Finally, it was the current communications minister Sachin Pilot who approved the proposal.

However, the department has asked Patil to foot the bill for the blow up of the stamp, deluxe albums and first day covers which are issued on the release day. This is expected to cost between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh and will have to be borne by Patil.

“The personal stamps are to be sold for Rs 5 and I have to bear the cost of the publicity and release function. The department has asked for some information in the prescribed form. It is expected that it will take a year to complete the process,” he said.

  About Rajguru 
Rajguru was born on August 24, 1908 to the Deshastha Brahmin community in Khed near Pune.  It was later renamed as Rajgurunagar in his honour.  As a freedom fighter Rajguru was a member of Hindustan socialist republican army. He believed that violence against oppression was far more effective against British rule than the non-violent ways of Mahatma Gandhi.

Rajguru along with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev had murdered British police officer J P Saunders at Lahore in 1928 to take revenge for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. All three were convicted of the crime and hanged on March 23, 1931 in Lahore jail.

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