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Monday, August 15, 2011

A hero we forgot

CD Verma

On this Independence Day, let me recall two national heroes: Shyam Lal Gupt of north India, and P.Venkayya of South India. Perhaps many people do not know that it was Shyam Lal Gupt who wrote the famous national song ‘Jhanda Ooncha Rahey Hamara…. ‘ Even today this song, emblematic


of national unity, is sung in chorus at the flag hoisting functions. And it was P.Venkayya, a resident of Muslipatnam in the Andhra Pradesh, who designed the National Flag, our Tricolour.
Shyam Lal Gupt, son of Vishvesar Gupt and Kaushalya Gupt, was born in 1893 in village Narwal in Kanpur district of UP. After completing his education, he started a monthly magazine “Sachiv” to give expression to and satisfy his patriotic and literary urges. It was through this magazine that he came in contact with Ganesh shankar Vidyarthi.

At his instance he joined the congress party and joined the Indian National Movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi.

By that time, the Congress had designed and approved the Tricolour as the national flag.

Now was needed a national song which could inspire and stir the minds and souls of millions of people of India. Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, convinced of Shyam Lal Gupt’s literary acumen, entrusted this job to him. So enthused by the patriotic fervor and flash Shyam Lal was that he took just one night to compose the song. And thus was born the national song.

Vidyarthi handed over the song to Purushotam Dass Tandon, the then Congress president. At the direction of Mahatma Gandhi, this song was sung in chorus at the 1938 Haripur Congress Session.

At this Congress session, Subhash Chander Bose had hoisted the national flag. In 1967, Mrs Indira Gandi, had honoured Shyam Lal Gupt with a ‘tamra patra’ at a function held at the Red Fort. Before 1967, people did not know the creator of the national song.

And after 1967, you and I never cared to ever remember this great hero. Can we be more grateful hereafter?

innervoice@hindustantimes.com

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