Mahatma Gandhi is a name synonym with India’s independence struggle. So huge was his contribution to the freedom struggle that the country remembers him even today as the “Father of Nation.” When Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte killed him on January 30, 1948, by firing three bullets, it was a national casualty.
From non-violence movement to satyagraha and Dandi March to Khadi movement, his contribution has been immense. And that is why India remembers and reveres him till date. But one man whose contribution is yet to get its due is Batak Mian, a resident of Bihar’s Motihari district.
A Time When Mian Refused To Give In To Threats And Saved Gandhiji
Batak Mian was a cook who once saved the life of Gandhiji. According to the legendary story, on one fine day of April 15 in 1917, Gandhiji stepped down at 3 pm at the Motihari railway station in the East Champaran of Bihar from Muzaffarpur. Mahatma Gandhi was visiting the place to probe the degrading condition of the local farmers whom the local landlords were pressurizing to grow indigo.
Ultimately the Mahatma took the problem very seriously which led to the first Satyagraha ringing in a new chapter in the struggle of India’s independence. The “Champaran ke Swatantra Senani” book reminisces that during this visit Erwin, a British manager of an Indigo plantation invited Gandhiji for dinner.
Erwin was furious with Gandhiji’s interference in the tinkathia system which the Mahatma thought was exploitative and planned to assassinate him. So he asked his cook Batak Mian to add poison to the milk of Gandhiji and even offered a good amount of bribe and even threatened him to get it done.
But when the actual moment came, Mian warned Gandhiji about the content in the glass of milk and revealed the sinister plans of Erwin. At that time, Dr. Rajendra Prasad who later on became the first president of India was present and a witness to the entire incidence.
Erwin Made Mian Pay Dearly For His Loyalty To Gandhiji
In context to Mian having been managed to save Gandhiji from assassination, Erwin punished him severely by dismissing him from work and throwing him behind the bars. The British manager did not stop with that. He converted the house of Mian into a crematorium and drove his family out of the village Motihari.
Everyone had forgotten about the sacrifice of Mian. In 1950, when Dr. Rajendra Prasad visited Motihari as the President of India, he recognized an old man coming towards him. Dr. Prasad identified him as the man who saved Mahatma Gandhi, hugged him, took him to the dais and introduced everyone with the good deeds of the brave cook. He even asked the collector of the village to grant Batak Mian’s family 24 acres of land as a token of appreciation. However, a century has passed, even Mian is dead now, but the bravery of the cook is yet to get its due.
In 2010, President of India Pratibha Patil ordered the East and West Champaran’s district magistrate to fulfill the promise of Dr. Prasad, But even today no action has been taken. The grandchildren of Batak Mian now live on a small land in the vicinity of Valmiki Tiger Reserve forest working as laborers.
It is high time that the Indian Government fulfills the wish of Dr. Rajendra Prasad because the history of India would have been different had Batak Mian given the milk to Gandhiji.
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