To see the 70 years of independence not everyone who fought for India’s freedom has survived. HS Doreswamy of Bengaluru, one year short of a century, was one of the few who did and is still fighting for the India of his dreams, the India that his beloved leader Mahatma Gandhi imagined.
The activist who is 99 year old and he was born in 1918, who still dons cotton dhoti-kurta, is a familiar figure at many demonstrations on issues important to Karnataka - from corruption of political leaders to protection of lakes, to land reforms.
By his grandparents he has been raised, while he was in high school the nonagenarian had foray into the cause of independence. A book by Mahatma Gandhi "a sentence caught my attention: 'A public worker should hug voluntary poverty.'" While reading 'My Early Life', This is one of the things that initiated him into the world of freedom fighters and has been the motto of his simple life too.
Mr Doreswamy recounts the tales of the 12 feisty Indian soldiers he met during his time in jail where he spent 14 months, down the memory lane in his journey. He remembers, these 112 men, who wanted to join Subhas Chanda Bose’s INA or Indian National Army. While in jail, they would chant slogans of freedom. They would say: "Gandhi ki jai, Mahatma Gandhi ki jai." Watching them, Mr Doreswamy and his fellow inmates "felt that some of our Congressmen who have disobeyed some laws had come."
They introduce to the 12 soldiers in the following morning. "We wanted to join the INA and fight the British. But we were caught...Bharat Mata didn't want us to accomplish our work. She wants us to sacrifice ourselves. We are ready," they had said.
A few days later, the officer who arrested them met his superintendent and told him about them. "Give me 12 bodies," the superintendent had said. There all 12 were made to stand in a row and all were shot dead at the same time," Mr Doreswamy narrated unwaveringly.
In today's India it is this passion for one's motherland that he misses. He said: "Gandhi ji when he said that he wants swaraj, his first aim was eradication of poverty. Nobody has found a permanent solution for eradication of poverty."
At the age of 70 the man still said that “Signing Off”