INA veteran's family in Una faces hardships

INA veteran’s family in Una faces hardships

2022-01-19 01:31:18

Rajesh Sharma

Una, January 18

While Ganga Singh Raizada from Charatgarh village of Una district — who served in the Indian National Army (INA) for about nine years — died 29 years ago, his son Narinder Raizada still awaits due recognition for his father’s services from the local administration and the panchayat.

Was presumed dead for 9 years

  • In 1936, Ganga Singh deserted the British Army to join the Indian National Army.
  • He served in Italy, Germany and France and was taken a prisoner of war (PoW) by the British.
  • He was presumed dead for nine years till Aug 1945

Narinder is the youngest of the five siblings and lives in his ancestral village. He does not have a permanent source of income. His elder brother Virender, who is fighting cancer, lives in Ludhiana, while three sisters are married.

Ganga Singh was born in 1916 in the house of Thola Singh. After completing his matriculation, he went to Lahore in 1934 where his uncle Maha Singh was working in The Tribune office. He enrolled into the British Army as Cavalry Rasaldar and got married to Gian Devi.

In 1936, Ganga Singh came in contact with Subhash Chandra Bose and deserted the British Army to join the Indian National Army, said Narinder’s elder sister Santosh. She said he served in Italy, Germany and France and was also taken a prisoner of war (PoW) by the British. He was later court-martialled by the British Army and officially removed from service.

For nine years, the family did not hear a word about Ganga Singh and presumed him dead till one day in August 1945, he reappeared in the village. Those nine years were also tough on his wife who was shunned by her in-laws and parents. With no financial assistance, she just had a single room to live.

Narinder said after the end of the World War, his father, along with many others, crossed the Gobi Desert to reach India. On August 15, 1972, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi awarded Ganga Ram with the ‘Tamrapatra’ for his services. He later joined the government printing press at Shimla from where he retired at the age of 60.

“On my father’s death in 1993, the district administration sent a sum of Rs 1,100, to which I added another Rs 1,000 and donated the amount to ‘Shaheed Parivar fund’,” said Narinder. He wants that the sacrifices by his father should be a source of inspiration for the village youth, but feels “nobody remembers freedom fighters now”.

“We are willing to make some contribution if the panchayat decides to construct a village gate or put up our father’s bust at some prominent place,” he said.

Narinder said he had left his job as a driver to look after his ailing father. His mother died in 2002. He now owns a pickup truck, but the pandemic had dried up options for a steady income. The panchayat does not even care to look into the issue of waterlogging near their house, he rues.

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