Nearly 67 years after she travelled with her uncle Abid Hasan Safrani to Bern to complete her education, Ismat Mehdi received the Netaji Award conferred on the latter by the Netaji Research Foundation.
“Netaji award 2021, posthumously offered by Netaji Research Bureau to Major Abid Hasan, Indian National Army, for his outstanding contribution to the freedom and unity of India under the leadership of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Jai Hind,” reads the citation which was handed over to Ms Mehdi on Saturday.
Educated in St George’s Grammar School in Hyderabad and pursuing engineering in Berlin, Germany, Abid Hasan joined the fight for Indian freedom when Bose gave the famous call to liberate India from the British yoke.
“When my uncle met Subhash Chandra Bose in Berlin, he was asked to join the freedom struggle immediately. But my uncle had a small plea: ‘I have one semester left. Let me complete it and then I will join the freedom struggle’. At this point, Netaji became angry with Abid Hasan,” recounts Ms. Mehdi about her uncle’s heroic life.
“I have no need for selfish people. You think of yourself and your family without thinking about the country. I have no need for selfish people. Either you join now or never,” were the words of Netaji as recounted by Abid Hasan to his family members. “He tossed and turned all night. By morning, he made the decision to join the Indian National Army (INA),” informs Ms. Mehdi who has helped promote Gandhian ideals in her life.
According to lore, it was Abid Hasan who was instrumental in INA adopting the salute ‘Jai Hind’. He also translated Rabindranath Tagore’s Jana Gana Mana into Urdu as Sabh Sukh Chain which was the anthem of provisional Government of Free India.