Major Events Pre-1950
Editor's note: This story is an expanded version of an excerpt from the author's book Azaadi!: stories and histories of the Indian subcontinent after Independence, Abhinav, Delhi 2005. It is reproduced here with the author's permission.
The Second World War ended in 1945 when I was a teenager, although I'm not sure whether the term `teenager' was invented then.
During pre-independence days, there was a craze among youngsters to boast about how many leaders of the independence movement they had seen. Everyone wanted to excel the other in this regard. Not only the number but also the stature of the leader mattered. I had little to report. I had grown up and spent my early boyhood in Alwar, a Princely state. Leaders of national stature rarely visited Alwar, as the freedom movement was confined largely to British India. I had not seen practically any well-known leader in person till I was in my mid-teens.
Editor's note: This article originally appeared on http://posterous.com/site/profile/munirsmemories and http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?235342. It is reproduced here with Dr. Kadri's consent.
I had made up my mind as soon as the date was set: I would bunk medical school and go to Delhi to witness the first Independence Day celebrations. Everyone was set against it, including Gandhiji.