Thursday 06 October 2022

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To Lohia With Love

 

On Nov 27 and 28, 2021, an international conference is being organized at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao. Many Gandhians from India and abroad are expected to attend this conference under the convenorship of Shri Abhishek Ranjan Singh of the Dr Rammanohar Lohia Research Foundation. Lohia was a Gandhian.


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 On Nov 27 and 28, 2021, an international conference is being organised at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao.
Many Gandhians from India and abroad are expected to attend this conference under the
convenorship of Shri Abhishek Ranjan Singh of the Rammanohar Lohia Research Foundation. Lohia was a Gandhian.
Dr Rammanohar Lohia and Dr Juliao Menezes together lit the lamp of Civil Disobedience in Goa with two meetings, one on 15
th June 1946 and the second, more important and with a huge mass following, on 18th June 1946.
How did Lohia meet Dr Juliao? Both met in Europe where Lohia was doing his PhD in Economics at Humboldt University in Germany and Menezes was doing in MD (Dermatology) in the same University in Germany. They met during Indology class, which both had opted for, at the University. Both were active in the Indian Students’ Union which became the unofficial Indian embassy in the Nazi Germany.
Their friendship became stronger when both decided to attend a session of The League Of Nations (predecessor of the United Nations) in Geneva sometime in 1930. Both of them booed the speech of the Maharaja of Bikaner and both were thrown out of the gallery.
This friendship grew stronger over time. Lohia got involved in the Quit India Movement of 1942 under Mahatma Gandhi while Dr Juliao returned to Assolna after completing his MD and along with his medical practice, began the Juvenile Club of Assolna in 1938 to spread rational thought and Indian nationalist activities. This was immediately noticed by the Portuguese Police who sealed the Club and auctioned their movable property. Dr Juliao left Assolna and began practice in Mumbai.
Meanwhile Lohia was arrested because of his involvement in the Quit India movement and taken to Lahore jail. He was released in 1946. He then went to meet Dr Juliao in Mumbai for medical consultation. Dr Juliao told him that he needed rest and offered to take him to Assolna, Goa where he could rest and recover.
And so, Dr Rammanohar Lohia arrived in Assolna on 10
th June 1946.
News of his arrival in Goa spread like wildfire when Evagrio Jeorge reported it in O Heraldo. Goa’s activists and intellectuals began pouring in to Dr Juliao’s house to meet them both. Soon it was decided to launch a civil disobedience movement at Margao and Mr Purushottam Kakodkar, who later became Goa’s first Congress Member of Parliament, was given the responsibility organise a meeting at Margao.
The first meeting was on 15
th June and protested the Potuguese imposed ban on public meetings. This meeting went peacefully. The second meeting was on 18th June 1946 at today's Lohia Maidan in the centre of Margao. The turnout for this meeting was so huge that one Portuguese policeman pointed his revolver at Lohia’s head and told him to stop
his speech. Lohia just pushed away the gun with his hand and continued to speak. He was arrested on the spot, taken to police station and later expelled from Goa.
But Goans had already learnt what civil disobedience was all about. The “Lokshakti” had already been ignited
!

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.



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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

 

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