A Post Card from Jail, 25 April 1944:
Post Card to Jaggi Devi by her husband, the peasant leader Baba Ramchandra
Originally named Shridhar Balwant Jodhpurkar, Baba Ramchandra was born in a small village in Gwalior Estate (1864). Concealing his identity as a Maharashtrian Brahmin, he stayed for about 13 long years in Fiji as an indentured labourer and mobilized them. Upon being called back in 1917 by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he returned to India. In order to seek resolution of their grievances, a Kisan Sabha was formed at the Pratapgarh district, with Baba Ramchandra as the leader. His activities were noticed by the British authorities and he was warned to stop his agrarian propaganda. Ramchandra, on the other hand, sought to broaden the movement and link it to the national freedom movement.
His unique methodology of peasant mobilization constituted recitation of Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas. In the hope of meeting Mahatma Gandhi at Allahabad, Ram Chandra organized a march of around five hundred peasants (June 1920) on foot from Patti to Allahabad – covering approximately 75 kilometres. His love for the peasantry and sympathy to their cause is reflected in the last line of his correspondences, where in he signed himself as Oudh Kisan Sevak. He was imprisoned at several occasions for carrying anti-government activities.
This Post Card (copy seen here), written by him from the Naini Central Jail (near Prayagraj), reflects upon his sensitivity to the issues of women. The concern and love for his wife, Jaggi Devi, is apparent from his post card. He stressed upon the wish of his wife to educate their two daughters, Lalita and Vijaylakshmi. His longing for meeting the family showcases how our freedom fighters struggled emotionally, while at the same time not dampening their spirit, philosophy and principles. The hardships faced by women freedom fighters like Jaggi Devi, they were not just emotional in nature. The financial hardships abound, Jaggi Devi continued to provide leadership to the women participating in the peasant struggle. This struggle speaks volume of our unsung women freedom fighters.
Read more about Jaggi Devi