Panimara’s foot soldiers of freedom – 1

“Take back all these petitions and tear them up,” said Chamaru. “They are not valid. This court will not entertain them.”

He was really beginning to enjoy being a magistrate.

It was August 1942 and the country was in ferment. The court in Sambalpur certainly was. Chamaru Parida and his comrades had just captured it. Chamaru had declared himself the judge. Jitendra Pradhan was his “orderly.” Purnachandra Pradhan had opted to be a peshkar or court clerk.

The capture of the court was part of their contribution to the Quit India movement.

“These petitions are addressed to the Raj,” Chamaru told the astonished gathering in the court. “We live in free India. If you want these cases considered, take them back. Re-do your petitions. Address them to Mahatma Gandhi and we’ll give them due attention.”

Sixty years later, almost to the day, Chamaru still tells the story with delight. He is now 91 years old. Jitendra, 81, is seated beside him. Purnachandra, though, is no more. They still live in Panimara village in Odisha’s Bargarh district. At the height of the freedom struggle, this village sent a surprising number of its sons and daughters to

— source ruralindiaonline.org | P. Sainath | Jul 22, 2014

Nullius in verba


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