When Gandhi asked Prof. Abdul Bari — ‘How is it that you are still alive!’

Afroz Alam Sahil, BeyondHeadlines

In the early morning of 5 March 1947, Gandhi reached Fatuaha station near Patna. He travelled from Calcutta to Patna. Professor Abdul Bari, the President of Provincial Congress Committee, Srikrishna Sinha, the Chief Minister, and others welcomed Gandhiji on the platform. As soon as Gandhi saw Abdul Bari, he laughed and said, how is it that you are still alive!’ (Kya abhi tak zinda hain?) 

This incident was written by Nirmal Kumar Bose (22 January 1901-15 October 1972) in his book ‘My Days with Gandhi’. His book was published in Calcutta in 1953. Nirmal Kumar Bose was with Gandhi at that time.

Today, exactly 72 years ago, on March 28, 1947, the hopes of poor homeless labourers and freedom fighter of India, Abdul Bari was shot dead. After hearing this incident, Gandhi reached Patna from Allahganj at 9.30 pm and joined Abdul Bari’s Janaza on the morning of 29 March. He was buried in the Pir Mohani graveyard in Patna.

There is no iota of doubt in saying that perhaps in the history of freedom struggle, Professor Bari would have been the first person who, despite being the President of the Bihar Provincial Congress Committee, was killed during the Congress government of Bihar. It might have happened for the first time in the history of India that the murder of a personality having such importance is ignored completely.

Mahatma Gandhi at the funeral of Professor Maulana Abdul Bari in Patna, Bihar, India, 29 March 1947.

Gandhiji had clearly said that there is no politics behind this death, but Bihar’s first Prime Minister (Premium) Barrister Muhammad Yunus told that the statement was given in haste by Mahatma Gandhi. Barrister Yunus had also said that Professor Bari, three days before his death had told that he was going to reveal names of some important Congress leaders who were involved in Bihar carnage.

It is to be noted that Barrister Yunus was in Karachi at that time. He went there to inspect the camps of the Bihari Muslim refugees who took refuge in Karachi camp which consisted of tens of thousands of victims of the 1946 riot. At the same time, he gave an interview to the Orient Press of India, which was published in Karachi’s ‘Dawn’ newspaper on 05 April 1947.

(The author has conducted research on Professor Abdul Bari. His book, ‘Professor Abdul Bari: Azadi Ki Ladai Ka Ek Krantikari Yodhha’ is going to be launched on 31 March in Patna)


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