The Forgotten Story of the Freedom Fighter Who Spent 14 Years in a Portuguese Prison…

Besides the pristine beaches, finger-licking seafood, and the unending fun that Goa is all about, the state is also steeped in history and culture.

While the rest of the country was aligning itself to fight the British, there was a movement in Goa as well to liberate itself from the Portuguese.

The Portuguese rule in Goa began in 1498 and lasted for as long as 450 years. Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer landed in Calicut after setting off from Lisbon in 1498.

In 1510, when Goa was under the rule of Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur, the Portuguese attacked the territory under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque.

Since the Sultan was engaged with his forces elsewhere, the Portuguese were met with little resistence as their forces advanced.    On December 19, 1961, Goa was liberated from Portuguese colonial rule and integrated to the Indian Union by the Indian Armed Forces with little resistance

With this conquest, the Portuguese became the first Europeans to establish their rule on the Indian sub-continent.

It is no wonder that Goa is often referred to as the ‘Lisbon of the East’.

While the rest of the country was aligning itself to fight the British, there was a movement in Goa as well to liberate itself from the Portuguese.

Mohan Ranade and the Goa Liberation movement

Born in 1929 in Sangli, Maharastra, Ranade was a qualified lawyer, who was deeply inspired by leaders like G D Savarkar and V D Savarkar, who were both freedom fighters and nationalists.

To free Goa from the Portuguese rule, he joined the Azad Gomantak Dal.

Ranade entered Goa in the early 1950s, disguised as a Marathi teacher and got involved in covert activities against the Portuguese colonial regime.

He carried out armed attacks against Portuguese police posts, the last of which at Betim, in October 1955, led to his being injured and captured by the Portuguese.

Realising that a movement like the satyagraha wouldn’t help in Goa’s liberation, a different approach was undertaken.

    Mohan Ranade 

In a report published by the Nav Hindi Times, Ranade says, “We started gathering people and soon began our armed attacks against Portuguese police posts in Goa. We led an attack on Nagar Haveli on July 28, 1954, and liberated it on August 2. The successful annexation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli provided the liberation movement in Goa with renewed vigour and motivation to continue the liberation struggle. On August 15, 1954, hundreds of people crossed the Portuguese Goan borders, defying a ban by the Indian government on participating in satyagrahas.”

The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and essentially led to Ranade’s arrest was the attack on the Banastarim police station on January 1, 1955. This attack led to Ranade being sentenced to imprisonment for 26 years, of which he spent six in solitary confinement.

Despite various movements and leaders, including former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, seeking Ranade’s release, nothing worked until January 25 1969, a day before India’s Republic Day, when he was released early.

It was in fact the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, C N Annadurai, who spoke to the Pope about Ranade’s imprisonment and sought his intervention.

CM Annadurai meeting the Pope

It was only after this that he was released.

After his release, Ranade came back to India and chose to live in Pune.

However, year on year, on two occasions Ranade makes sure he returns to Goa; June 18, which is celebrated as Revolution Day, and on December 19, which is Goa’s Liberation Day.

While we celebrate and write about the various freedom fighters of our nation, here is one more name that we ought to remember.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Source….Vidya Raja in http://www.the




வாரம் ஒரு கவிதை…”.மகளுக்கு ஒரு மடல் “

மகளுக்கு ஒரு மடல்
என் அன்பு மகள் நீ …என்னை விட்டு
சென்று விட்டாய் வெகு தூரம் ! அயல் நாட்டில் உன் மேல்
படிப்பு உன்னை சிகரத்தின் உச்சியும் தொடவைக்கும் !
உன் அம்மா நான் உன் மின்னஞ்சல் படிக்கும்
வழி தெரிந்துகொண்டேன் உனக்காக ! ஆனால் உன் மின் அஞ்சல்
எல்லாம் உன்  மொழியில் ! அது எனக்கு கிரேக்க மொழி!
அம்மாவின் என் மொழி இப்போ உனக்கு வேற்று மொழியா
பெண்ணே ?  மாற்றி யோசித்து  புது உச்சம் நீ தொட்டாலும்
அம்மா நானும் பெண் நீயும் பேசிக்கொள்ள நடுவில் ஒரு
மொழிபெயர்ப்பாளர் உதவி தேவையா நமக்கு ?
மாற்றிக் கொண்டாய் நீ உன்னை சாதனை பல
ஆற்றிட …என் மடலையும் நம் மொழியில் படித்து
பதிலும் எனக்கு என் மொழியில் கொடுக்கும்
ஆற்றல் இல்லையா என்ன உன்னிடம் ?
இந்த வயதில் உன் மின்னஞ்சல் மொழி  நான்
கற்கும் போது உன் வயதில்  அம்மா மொழியில் ஒரு
மின்னஞ்சல் எனக்கு நீ அனுப்ப முடியாதா என்ன ?
அந்த உன் ஒரு சாதனை தீர்த்து வைக்கும் என்
நீண்ட நாள் வேதனையை ! உன் பதில் என்ன என்று
“கூகுளில் தேடு ” நீ  என்று மட்டும் சொல்லிவிடாதே
என் அருமை பெண்ணே !

How an Idea, …and an Ad … and Some Italians Got us the Auto Rickshaw!!!

After that glorious stroke at midnight in August 1947, following two centuries under the colonial yoke, India finally became free.

While citizens reeled under the after-effects of a hurried partition, leaders had a mammoth task at hand. They needed to plan and act towards the development of the new nation—economically and socially—and her people as producers and consumers.

“Correcting the disequilibrium” in the economy and an improvement in “the living standards” of the people featured in the objectives for the First Five Year Plan(1951-52 to 1955-56).

In a February 1947 session of then Bombay’s legislative assembly, a member raised the inhuman conditions of rickshaw pullers. This discussion set many wheels in motion.

Morarji Desai, then Home Minister of Bombay province, suggested that cycle rickshaws be discontinued.

Cycle Rickshaws. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Navalmal Kundalmal Firodia, a freedom fighter, saw in this an opportunity to provide low-cost public transport to the country. The image of a three-wheeler “goods carrier” from a trade paper caught his eye and inspiration.

He submitted a plan to Desai and was told that if the vehicle was satisfactory from “a technical viewpoint”, it could be permitted under the public conveyance plan.

Firodia’s Jaya Hind Industries, set up a joint venture with Bachhraj Trading Corporation (later Bajaj Auto Private Limited), to replicate the vehicle in the image. It was manufactured by Italy’s Piaggio.

To better understand the nuances, Firodia bought a scooter and two three-wheeler goods carriers from the Italian company, studying the models and making several modifications to arrive at the final product.

Painted in hues of green and yellow, it was a mix of the hand-drawn carriages of the time and the automated two-wheeler. This contraption would soon become commonplace on Indian roads and affix its reliability on the Indian psyche.

The industrialist in Firodia had perhaps foreseen how it would enable independent Indians to undertake convenient and affordable trips around the country’s myriad cities and towns.

With the approval in the Bombay province, he saw and used another opportunity to popularise his vehicle—the prohibition of cycle rickshaws in Pune.

By December 1950, N Keshava Iyengar, the Mayor of Bangalore, approved the licenses of ten auto rickshaws in the capital of the princely state of Mysore. These vehicles “resembled a scooter pulling a passenger cabin attached to its rear”.


Iyengar inaugurated the first auto and is even said to have volunteered to take the vehicle’s owners, a Bangalorean man and his Italian wife, on its maiden journey!

While people hailed the autos, the jatka union (hand-drawn cart) in Bangalore and the tongawallahs in Pune were unimpressed; the last-mile connectivity to and from public transport that auto rickshaws provided stood in their way.

As did the restrictions from the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969.

A coffee-table about Kamalnayan Bajaj, the pioneer of Bajaj Auto, highlights this in the following words.

“In the beginning, we were licensed to make 1,000 scooters and auto rickshaws per month. In 1962, we applied to increase manufacturing capacity to 30,000 and 6,000 auto rickshaws per year. In 1963, we applied to increase capacity from 24,000 scooters to 48,000. In 1970, we asked for 100,000. Eventually, in 1971, the government approved an increase to 48,000.”

While the Bajajs and Firodias went their separate ways, with the auto rickshaw coming under the Bajaj Group, Bangalore’s ten auto rickshaws grew to 40.

The fact that middle-class Indians did not yet have enough disposable income to own vehicles furthered the popularity of the auto rickshaw, and it became the symbol of affordable urban transport.

This was true not only for India, but also for other developing countries. By 1973, Bajaj Auto was exporting three-wheelers to Nigeria, Bangladesh, Australia, Sudan, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Yemen.

In the financial year 1977, the company introduced rear engine auto rickshaws and sold 100,000 vehicles.

Until 1980, the vehicles were only allowed to carry two passengers at a time. However, this changed in the next two decades, and today, autos can transport as many as can fit themselves on the seats!

As per data from EMBARQ, auto rickshaws in tier-2 cities (population between 1 and 4 million) number between 15,000 and 30,000, to more than 50,000 in tier-1 cities (population more than 4 million).

The sector also employs an estimated 5 million people!

Additionally, the auto rickshaw union is one of the most organised labour groups in the country. They follow the latest trends—from unitedly aping a favourite actor’s haircut to expressing their thoughts on the vehicle.

While auto drivers have been criticised for irregularities in the fare system, and their disregard to the safety of passengers, autos remain the quintessential mode of intermediate or even end-to-end transport for an Indian.

Taxi aggregators born in India and abroad have take note of this, and as a result, co-opted the vehicle in their business models.

Interestingly, Firodia was not just responsible for bringing the three-wheeler goods chassis from Italy and converting it into a passenger vehicle in India, but also coined the term ‘auto-rickshaw’.

The word now finds a place in the Oxford Dictionary, and since its introduction in 1949, the auto has not gone off the road.

Featured image: Pxhere

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Source…..Shruti Singhal in http://www.the




Meet the Daredevil biker on Republic Day….2019

Captain Shikha Surabhi is the first woman to lead a formation of 36 men and 9 Royal Enfields of the Indian Army’s motorcycle display team on Republic Day.
She tells‘s Archana Masih how she made space for herself in a team that has never had a woman before. 

                                                                                                        IMAGE: Captain Shikha Surabhi is an officer in the Corps of Signals. She has also participated in three National Games. All Photographs kind courtesy Captain Shikha Surabhi                                                                                                                                 

It is after a long time that Captain Shikha Surabhi is getting two consecutive free days, and she is on her way to the railway station in New Delhi to pick up her father, an LIC agent in Bihar.

Her family is arriving to see her on Rajpath on the nation’s grand day when she will lead a formation of 36 men and 9 Royal Enfields of the Indian Army’s motorcycle display team on Republic Day.

She will stand on top of the bike for a distance of 2.4 kilometers to salute the President of India, the supreme comander of India’s armed forces. The bike will only be maouevered by her legs and will move at 22 to 23 km per hour.

The team called ‘Daredevils’ consists of 136 jawans, two male officers and 34 motorcycles.

She is the first lady officer to be part of the team.

Born in Arrah, Bihar and raised in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, Captain Shikha learnt to ride a bike around her home as a girl and picked up serious biking after her first posting in Arunachal Pradesh.

She did a bike trip from Shimla to Ladakh over 8 days last year. “It brought strength to my arms and taught me how to handle rain, mud and difficult situations,” says the officer from the Corps of Signals who was encouraged by her commanding officer to be part of the Daredevils team.

Posted in Bathinda, Punjab, she volunteered to be part of the Daredevils team three months ago.

Selected after a month’s training in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, the team has been undergoing rigorous practice for three months.

IMAGE: Leading a human pyramid formation that will be at the parade on Republic Day. Two male officers are leading other formations.







“My team members were initially worried about how they would teach me. They weren’t sure if I would be strong enough, but they now tell me I have learnt fast, perhaps faster than them,” says the officer who will soon complete four years of service in the army.

“It is tough to prove yourself. You have to put your mind and body to it, but they have accepted me as a Daredevil officer.”

“I have had some injuries, but thankfully nothing major,” she says over the phone from New Delhi.

The team arrived in Delhi on December 18 and has been practicing every day, rising at 3.30 am.

Not really nervous about the big day, her only concern is the chance of rain. Heavy rain can make the bike unsteady.

“Rain or no rain, we have to perform 100%.”

Captain Shikha’s main motivation to pursue sport and a career in the army was her mother, who is a sports teacher at a school in Ranchi.

“I am from a Hindi medium school and because of sports, I participated in three National Games,” she says.

Hand wrestling and kick boxing were her events. She was even part of the army’s mountaineering team that trekked to the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand.

“I wanted a job with some physical activity,” says Captain Shikha who earlier wanted to be an IPS officer but seriously considered the army as a profession while studying computer science in college.

“The armed forces are a very good profession for girls. You have respect within the army as well as outside.”

“It also gives you many opportunities like a life of adventure. I wanted to do something for the nation and nothing is better than the army.”

Her younger sister, who is in Class 12, wants to follow her in the armed forces while her brother is in Mumbai trying to pursue an acting career.

Such was the officer’s commitment to the Daredevils display on Republic Day that she and her fiancé, also a captain in the army, postponed their wedding from December to May.

Fiancé Captain Ankit Kumar will be there to watch the parade with his parents and has been her biggest pillar of support as far as biking is concerned.

He is immensely proud that she has worked hard and made space for herself in a team that up till now only comprised men.

As Captain Shikha Surabhi’s big day dawns, she is overwhelmed with the opportunity and the privilege given to her.

“I am too happy, nothing could beat this feeling but in life you should crave for the next thing — and there are more things to do ahead — for the country and myself.”

Source….. Archana Masih in




Message for the Day….” If man-made gadgets (yantras) can be so powerful, why doubt the power of mantras? Sound waves are converted into electrical waves and transmitted through ether. The waves have a permanence in space and can be received by one who can tune in to the vibrations.”

The listening or viewing of a musician singing in Delhi in thousands of homes simultaneously, is rendered possible by technology. But when we read in the Bhagavata that Sri Krishna appeared to the Gopikas, simultaneously in thousands of homes, questions are asked whether this is credible. If man-made gadgets (yantras) can be so powerful, why doubt the power of mantras? Sound waves are converted into electrical waves and transmitted through ether. The waves have a permanence in space and can be received by one who can tune in to the vibrations. Likewise, if the all-pervasive Divine is received in the radio receiver of the heart by tuning in with one-pointed devotion, the bliss of that experience will reveal Him to you. It is because the Gopikas were experts in this technology, they could experience the omnipresence of Krishna. Their hearts were filled with the form and name of Krishna who was their unfailing friend in all situations.


India Cracks Down Fake Food Videos: 5 Viral Hoaxes You Need To Keep in Mind….

How many times have you believed a video or a message you received without verifying its contents? I am guilty of doing this and can say that I have learnt my lesson.

While fake news and videos spread malice about all kinds of events, people and things, the FSSAI recently started a campaign to safeguard consumers against misinformation about food products in India.

To curb the spread of such content on social media, the government has instructed Google and Facebook to take down ‘false and malicious’ content that spreads wrong information about the safety and quality of food in India.

Here are 5-hoax warnings that have created panic among consumers:

1. Melamine in milk

Several news reports last year mentioned that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Agarwal had allowed the use of melamine in milk.

They spoke of a WHO advisory that ‘if adulteration of milk and milk products is not checked immediately, 87 per cent of citizens would be suffering from serious diseases like cancer by the year 2025 (in India)’.

A viral video shared by Rohit Borana on Facebook garnered a whopping 1.8 million views and was shared over 87,000 times.

Fact: FSSAI had ascertained that no such advisory was issued by the WHO at all. It appears that the report first appeared in one newspaper, and later was picked up by other newspapers. FSSAI and/or WHO was not even approached for clarifications.

Subsequently, as of November 2018, the advisory by which the messages were being circulated has been deleted.

2. HIV contamination in Frooti pack

I remember the scare this message caused. In 2013, a message was doing the rounds, allegedly from the Delhi police. It spoke about a worker adding his HIV/AIDS-contaminated blood to a batch of products and warned people to stay away from buying them.

Fact: The message turned out to be false. The Delhi police had neither sent it nor had such an incident occurred.

Subsequently, Parle Agro, the company, which manufactures Frooti, also issued a statement, which can be accessed here.

3. Plastic cabbage from China

There is a very high probability of your having seen this video and feeling enraged at the level of contamination in our fruits and vegetables.

A mobile video that emerged from Ambala in Haryana showed a man ladling colourful liquids in a large bowl of water and then shaping the substance to look like a “real” cabbage.

Several media houses picked up this story, and it invited outrage on the thought that a majority of the cabbage we were consuming was made of plastic and was being sneaked into the country from China.

Fact: A little bit of research revealed that the video was actually about wax food replicas used as displays outside restaurants in Japan. The video was also at least two years old and had Korean subtitles with a logo of SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System) and a dubbed voice-over.

4. Kurkure contains plastic

This is something I believed for the longest time after watching videos claiming that Kurkure contains plastic. PepsiCo, the company that manufactures Kurkure, had to legally take action and get a court order against Facebook, requiring the company to censor all posts linking the product to plastic.

Fact: Products like Kurkure are fried at a very high temperature to ensure their crispiness. A compound called acrylamide forms during the process of frying. Due to its presence, the final product burns when lit with a matchstick, also turning black due to the unburnt carbon particles. It does not, however, contain any added plastic.

5. Plastic rice   

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were rife with speculations about the prevalence of plastic rice in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. While there was no real evidence to show that plastic rice existed, there were several videos online with tips on how to verify whether or not the rice was real.



Fact: According to the Rice Traders Association, the cost of rice is cheaper than the cost of plastic rice. Also, all scrutiny in a scientific lab also proved that there is no such thing called plastic rice.

While the videos and messages will continue to pour in, it is imperative that we exercise caution as well as restraint while believing in them and spreading them among others.

You could also report such messages by doing the following:

  1. Register complaints via the app

2. To complain via e-mail

Write to

As informed and conscientious citizens, we should report content that is malicious, false or even derogatory rather than being a part of the problem.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Source…….Vidya Raja in http://www.the better