Page 14 - seniors today August issue
P. 14

cover restitution and rehabilitation of the region    Funds were down, as well as fortune, health
        as a whole and not only for the Hindu Sindhis.        and the future planning of the tri-city in
        To date, the SRC continues to do yeoman’s             disarray. But God was on Father’s side, and
        service to the peoples of Adipur, Gandhidham          suddenly there seemed to be a light at the end
        and Kandla, over 70 years since it was formed in      of the tunnel. The UP Advocate General K L
        1948.                                                 Mishra took up the case pro bono as he realised
         Pandit Nehru inaugurated the port                    that Father was a victim of deep conspiracy
        construction work in 1952 and Bhai Pratap             and also could not afford high lawyer’s fees
        read a detailed report to him of the enormous         any more. Needless to say, Mr Mishra had the
        amount of work done here and in the townships         whole case reviewed and re-appraised, and
        in a matter of just under four years… Panditji        the Government of Maharashtra created legal
        applauded the fact that the tri-city was ready        history by granting Bhai Pratap an honourable
        to move into and was bursting with human              pardon of all legal charges against him. Senior
        activity, hope, job opportunities and more. The       Monk Swami Ranganathan of the Ramakrishna
        townships and port were the first planned ones        Mission, Father’s friend from Karachi days,
        of free India – even before Chandigarh. Senior        had also made a mercy petition for him. But the
        Advocate Anil Harish had pointed this out in a        drama and politics continued. Father’s health
        budget speech a few years ago. A free trade zone      took a turn for the worse and he convalesced
        built adjacent to the Kandla port is still the only   between hospital and home for some time.
        one of its kind in the country.
         Soon to follow were the bus services, railway        The Nanavati Angle
        lines connecting the port and the mainland,           Just before the honourable pardon was due to
        Kandla aerodrome – because father knew                be announced, it suddenly got entangled in and
        that all modes of transport – land, sea and air       delayed because of the famous (or infamous)
        were essential factors of a growing city which        Nanavati case, which rocked the city from
        could attract global initiatives in business and      the late 1950s and has been made into several
        enterprise. He invited a variety of merchant          Bollywood films – like Rustom in 2016, and
        communities to revive the colossal commercial         earlier ‘Ye Raste Hain Pyar Ke’. Now a new film
        activity that used to take place in Sindh – to        is due to be released called The Verdict, which
        bring in prosperity and wealth now into the new       is the story of the famous Karl Khandalawala,
        Sindh in India instead.                               Nanavati’s lawyer. This film also portrays Bhai
                                                              Pratap’s role in the matter.
        Shattered Dreams                                       There are some scars one must bear for life. In
        But his long-term dreams were soon shattered          the late ’50s, a Parsi Naval Commander Kawas
        ….we were on a rare holiday together in               Maneckshaw Nanavati discovered that his
        Darjeeling where father was looking to buy            wife was having an affair with Prem Ahuja,
        some properties, when we got news that he had         his Sindhi friend of 15 years. Nanavati shot
        lost a case at the lower courts of a fraudulent       him dead and gave himself up to the Bombay
        charge against him of misusing import licences,       Police. Pandemonium ensued – the print media
        which he had been battling for some time.             unleashed a blitzkrieg of propaganda in the
        Soon, he lost in the high courts as well and the      handsome commander’s favour, even saying
        ignominious sentence was increased from 18            that he had done a righteous thing because
        months to 5 years – the last straw being that         he loved his wife, and named Prem Ahuja the
        the Supreme Court rejected his appeal against         villain of the piece.
        the high court order. The fates were somehow           The case rocked Bombay city with
        against him at every step he took….He found           unprecedented drama and glamour. Street
        himself in the depths of despair and with him,        vendors even sold ‘Nanavati guns’ and ‘Ahuja
        my mother and I suffered inconsolably.                towels’! It became a clash of two communities
                                                                                   SENIORS TODAY | Volume 1 | Issue 2
   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19