‘Jhanda Ooncha Rahe Humara’ writer Shyamlal Gupta to be felicitated

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Kanpur: The family of Shyamlal Gupta ‘Prashad,’ the author of the patriotic hymn ‘Jhanda Ooncha Rahe Hamara,’ will be honoured at Ganesh Sewa Ashram in Narwal, Kanpur. Shyamlal Gupta’s three grandsons, Rakesh, Sanjay, and Rajesh, reside in a dismal alley of Jagannath Road in Generalganj, Kanpur, with their families.

Rakesh works as a clerk in a private trust-run college, Sanjay sells groceries, and Rajesh is an electrician. We were never recognised before, but now each of us is overwhelmed, Rajesh said of being invited to an Independence Day ceremony in his village for the first time.

Gupta, a Kanpur native, had promised to go barefoot till the country was free of the British. According to Vinayak Singh, Block Development Officer of Sarsaul, the freedom fighter’s school, Omar Vaishya Inter College on Birhana Road in Kanpur, is hosting Tiranga Yatras and a lecture series on him. His timeless song is usually playing in the background someplace, and everybody sings it, said Alok Mehrotra, head of Vande Matram Sangharsh Samiti. For the past two weeks, some 200 women from the village have been producing 3000 tricolours.

On September 9, 1896, Shyamlal Gupta was born as the third child of Visheshwar Prasad and Kaushalya Devi. On March 3, 1924, he wrote the ‘Jhanda’ song, which quickly became a hit. The song was so successful that Khanna Press printed 5000 copies. It was given the moniker of ‘Jhanda Geet’ or the flag song among numerous patriotic numbers composed at the time, Sanjay Gupta, his grandson, explained. The All India Congress Committee recognised it as the flag song the same year, and it was first sung on Jallianwala Bagh Diwas on April 13, 1924, in Phoolbagh, Kanpur, in the presence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

Sarojini Naidu performed this song in the presence of Mahatma Gandhi at the Haripura session of the Congress in 1938, and she later sang it in the film Azadi ki Raah ten years later.

We hope that our long-standing demand that this home be designated as a national monument will be addressed this time. We’ve been making statements and sending memorandums for years, the grandsons explained. Several historians have voiced disappointment that Shyamlal Gupta Prashad is still seen as a forgotten independence warrior. He was unusual among freedom warriors. He walked barefoot and never used an umbrella till India gained independence.

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