‘Shoot me if you dare’ – Shirish kumar

Nandanagari, that is, Nandurbar, a city surrounded by four mountains and situated on the banks of river Patalganga is well known in history as a town habited by mostly businessmen. In the year 1926, Shirish kumar was born in the city, in a trader’s house. He along with his four friends sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle. Thus, the city became famous all over the country. Presently, the population of Nandurbar is about one lakh. All citizens are friendly and know each other well. Many tourists visited this town during ancient times on becoming aware of the importance of business and trade, in which every household was involved. A renowned traveller, Twenier, who visited Nandurbar in the year 1660 had described this city as rich and prosperous. There is a legend that a cowherd king called Nand had founded this place. There is a reference to Nandurbar in Ain-E-Akabari (Year 1590), stating that it is a beautiful city with a fort and well decorated houses.

A businessman, Bala Shankar Inamdar dwelt in Nandurbar. He was a dealer in edible oil. He was sad as he had no son. He remarried in the hope of a son. A girl child was born to him. Her name was Savita. Mr. Pushpendra and Savita got married in 1924. Shirish kumar was born to this couple on 28th December 1926.

The environment in Nandurbar was charged with the freedom struggle movement, as was the case with other towns and cities across the country. As a part of the freedom struggle, the people used to organise morning rallies with the National flag and processions carrying torches. In these processions, people used to shout slogans filled with nationalistic fervour. Mehta family in Nandurbar also participated in such activities. At that time, Shirish kumar was attending school. He was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhashchandra Bose. During that period, police would arrest anyone shouting slogans such as ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

Will not bow down, will not bow down !

Mahatma Gandhi gave a clarion call against British, ‘Chale jao (Go away)’, on 9th August 1942. Thereafter, morning rallies were organised in various villages; warnings were issued to the British to quit India. Shirish kumar studying in 8th standard, participated in the morning rally held on 9th September 1942. His mother- tongue was Gujarati. He started shouting slogans in Gujarati in the morning rally, ‘Will not bow down, will not bow down’, ‘Flag of Bharat’. This rally was moving through the city and people were shouting the slogan of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. The procession was stopped by the Police in the middle of the city. Shirish kumar was carrying the National flag. Police ordered all the participants to disperse and end the rally. The children in the rally disregarded the order and continued to shout slogans, “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, “Vande Mataram”. Finally, the police started firing. One police officer pointed his gun in the direction of the girls participating in the rally. At that time, a brave boy said courageously, “If you want to fire, then shoot at me !” That brave boy was Shirish kumar Mehta ! The furious officer fired three bullets at him, which pierced Shrishkumar’s chest, and he collapsed then and there. Along with him, his four colleagues, Laldas Shah, Dhansukhlal Vani, Shashidhar Ketkar, and Ghanashyamdas Shah were also killed in the police firing.

Bal Sanskar

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