I have visited Ghess many a times in connection with Haldhar Nag. Some 4 years ago on August 14, 2014 also met him along with my friends Kshetrabasi Naik & Rajesh Jhankar. A piece of news in an Odia daily urged the feeling to see the Zamindar house too. We just finished some photo shoot of the poet at his residence and we went on to see the zamindar’s house. Only thing which was giving the sign of a Zamidar house was the broken gate, else ruined, dilapidated, brick wall covered with algae of rain was giving a clumsy image.
As we enter inside, a young man dressed in a magenta coloured shirt opened with top bottoms appeared before us adjusting it in his black pant. He was trying to speak in English and Odia with folded hands; welcome welcome….! Most welcome…Sir, I’m the man who work in the college as a peon and I’m the sixth generation of the freedom fighter Ghess Zamindar. All of us were startled, and speechless. Then he asked about our identity and we introduced ourselves. I was not speaking anything to him and just observing. He was broken from inside. He then opened the doors and showed the weapons which was used in the fight against the Britishers; double edged sword, single edge sword, tamancha, and tabli etc. Rajesh babu was asking him questions and he was answering and showing. And they were taking photos to memorise. Still I was just observing silently and was mum. My heart was getting heavier and trying to control the tears. Repeatedly asking myself how can the Govt keep our fighters in such misery? We were leaving. The man who was broken from inside again folded his hands and this time spoke in Kosali, as if we the nicely dressed, babu looking guys were the Britishers and he was pleading to us, Sir, many have come and gone but nothing have changed, but do a favour to us, “Amke Ar nanglA ni karun”. The last fighter is in war for his self respect.
Saket Sreebhushan Sahu comments on culture and politics