Ananta Nath Chatterji, 93, declines government pension meant for freedom fighters

While the country has made rapid strides in various spheres, some of its freedom fighters in the twilight of their life lament the “poor governance” and “corruption” in high places.

Ananta Nath Chatterji, 93, who turned down the government pension meant for freedom fighters, regrets the hollowness of current day society and its politicians.

There is a need for another movement of the magnitude of the freedom struggle of 1947 to tide over the moral and political bankruptcy that the country finds itself in, he said.

Family of patriots

Mr Chatterji, who is now battling old age-related ailments, is among the few patriots of the State who has shunned the pension doles.

“Patriotism still runs in my blood. My elder brother Amar Nath Chatterji was also a freedom fighter. We fought for the motherland. I declined the monthly pension as I am of the view that it should not be compensated monetarily,” he said.

The two brothers were arrested by the British during the 1942 Quit India movement in Kendrapara and were dumped in the Patna central jail. “I spent two years in jail. I lost my mother as she could not withstand the shock following our arrest,” he said.

Most cherished moment

The spirit of Swadeshi and the zeal to lay down one’s life for the country was at its peak at that time, Mr Chatterjee recalled, adding that there was a touch of spontaneity as people inspired mostly by Mahatma Gandhi plunged into the freedom struggle. “I was one of them. The Mahatma’s visit to Kendrapara in May 1934 was a momentous event that created a lasting impact. Then I was a school student of hardly 13 and dreamt of seeing Bapu one day. I saw the father of the nation from close distance and it was the most cherished moment of my life,” the aging freedom fighter added.

“Moral values and truthfulness were the order of the day then. But that has fast vanished. Though the country has attained independence, the dream of a wealthy, prosperous country lies shattered,” he said.

Decries greed for wealth

“It really hurts me that to see that people, mostly politicians and bureaucrats, have now turned self-seekers. There is a mad rush to accumulate ill-gotten wealth. The State exchequer is being robbed by these people on a daily basis. As a result, a select group of affluent gentry gets richer, while the poor are getting poorer,” he said.

“This is not the India that we had dreamt and envisioned of while fighting against the mighty British,” he said.

- PTI


  • Need for another freedom struggle to tide over moral and political bankruptcy that the country finds itself in, says freedom fighter

  • “Though the country has attained independence, the dream of a wealthy, prosperous country lies shattered”