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‘Youngsters today have no fire in their belly’

An old newspaper clipping in the hands of an aged gentleman draws your attention instantly. But before you can ask anything,he starts talking.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
May 2, 2010 1:29:33 am

An old newspaper clipping in the hands of an aged gentleman draws your attention instantly. But before you can ask anything,he starts talking. “These are newspaper reports of the time of the Mahagujarat movement,” he says,adding with a sense of pride that he was part of the movement. He is 70-year-old B R Amin (in photo),a resident of Vadnagar in Mehsana,who had come to Ahmedabad on Saturday to participate in the state’s golden jubilee celebrations. He was,however,not invited for the function at Sardar Patel Stadium.

Sitting at ‘Hriday Kunj’ in Gandhi Ashram,he recalls the days of the Mahagujarat movement and its leaders. Gujarat,according to him,has changed from the days they fought for its creation,though he wished the young generation would speak up. “There is lot of development all around. Things are much better today. But the young people don’t speak up. They don’t have fire in their belly. They think about themselves only and not about people at large,” Amin said.

A retired Bank of Baroda employee,Amin was in class 10 when efforts were on for a separate state of Gujarat. “I got interested in it and started reading newspapers. This was the time when small dharnas were taken out demanding statehood. But Indulal Yagnik said we need a big movement in order to achieve our goal.”

Amin joined the movement when he was in the first year of college. “People were selected from each taluka and district. I was selected from Kheralu taluka of Mehsana district and worked with Ramniklal Maniyar,Ranjitrai Shastri and Markand Shastri,” he said.

In 1958,he recalls,people demanding a separate state were arrested and kept at Gaekwad Haveli for a few days. They were later imprisoned for three and a half months in Sabarmati Jail. “Most of them,including Indulal Yagnik,Dinkar Mehta and others,were jailed. Then finally on May 1,1960,all our prayers were answered and we got statehood,” he said.

Amin was denied an invitation card for the Swarnim Gujarat programme at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. He got an invitation to attend the function at Hriday Kunj only. “I had asked for a card,but the officials told me it is really difficult. I said it is fine.”

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