Page 13 - seniors today August issue
P. 13

With Gandhiji’s help and blessings the Maharao        1948, Gandhiji received a telegram from Father
        of Kutch granted Pratap Dialdas vast acres of         saying the work on the tri-city and port was
        land alongside miles of unspoilt coastline – to       ready to begin on the vast desert scrublands
        build the tri-city – Gandhidham, Adipur and           and coastlines of Kutch. Bapu was overjoyed
        Kandla – as well as Kandla Port, which has            and assured his friend that he would come to
        become today India’s premier port and vies with       Kutch soon. But destiny had other plans…The
        the best in the world. Not many are aware that a      Mahatma was struck down by an assassin’s
        small jetty port build by the Maharao’s ancestor      bullet and killed on the same fateful day. Father
        Khengarji III, in 1930s was developed into a          was shell-shocked, struck dumb so to speak.
        major port by Bhai Pratap –to replicate and           He attended the funeral dry-eyed and collected
        outdo the Karachi port lost to India, at Partition.   the ashes of Gandhiji to bring them to Kutch.
        Unfortunately the sufferings of the migrant           After the 12-day mourning period was over,
        Sindhi population didn’t end with their entry         he began work on the task of building the
        into independent India –where they were               tri-city, hence 12 February 1948 is celebrated
        treated as refugees and denied residency and          as Gandhidham day. Few people know what
        citizenship. It’s only when Sindhi stalwarts like     a beautiful Gandhi Samadhi exists in the
        Choitram Gidwani and the young firebrand              township here, apart from the one in Delhi - on
        lawyer Ram Jethmalani fought the new                  it, Gandhiji’s last words are inscribed – ‘Hey
        government to get the draconian Refugees Act          Ram’.
        nullified, that the Sindhis got full rights of         The inception of the work also saw the birth
        citizenship in India.                                 of the Sindhu Resettlement Corporation
                                                              (SRC) – the company founded by father for the
        The Fateful Bullet                                    resettlement of refugees and the construction of
        Bhai Pratap started the work on the New               the new Sindh. ‘Sindhu’ is the Sanskrit name of
        Sindh soon after partition. On 30 January             the River Indus in Pakistan and was meant to

        13     Bhai Pratap &  Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurrating the Kandla Port in 1952
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