Shri Bam Bahadur Lal Verma of Village Saramohanpur, District Darbhanga, Bihar, had five sons–Shri Dev Vansh Narain Bariar, Shri Chandra Vansh Narain Sinha, Shri Badri Narain Sinha, Shri Sachidanand Sinha, and Shri Arun Kumar Sinha; and two daughters, Smt. Krishna Sahay and Smt. Shailbala Sinha. The present article, written by the son Shri Badri Narain Sinha on his father Shri Bam Bahadur Lal Verma, appeared in the Hindi daily ‘Nav Rashtra’, (New Nation), No: 120, 23420, (established by late Sri Devavrata Shastri), Patna, Tuesday 2nd March 1965: Phalgun Krishna Paksha 14 Samvat 2021. This English version, prepared by Shri Adhar Sinha, son of Shri Badri Narain Sinha and grandson of Shri Bam Bahadur Lal Verma, is being published on a public platform for the first time. The original version of this article can be read at this link (मूल हिंदी लेख पढने के लिए क्लिक करे यहाँ ) https://akscentre.wordpress.com/%E0%A4%B6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%80-%E0%A4%AC%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%AC%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B0-%E0%A4%B2%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B2-%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE-%E0%A4%95/
THE EXTRAORDINARY SAGA OF AN ORDINARY PERSON
Sri Badri Narain Sinha
(English Translation by Adhar Sinha)
Neither decorated with office, nor adorned with fortune; hence, neither renowned with national nor regional fame, but fully endowed with desirable human attributes, committed to the welfare of his family and village, ever industrious, actively engaged in establishing the value of education among his kith and kin, one of the many such unsung heroes of our nation was late Sri Bam Bahadur Lal Verma, village Saramohanpur, Darbhanga district (Bihar).
In the year 1895 was he born in a happy prosperous family. Due to his mother’s demise in his early childhood, he was brought up by his father. At that time the landlords and their English patrons’ writ ran supreme and so his father joined the service of the Darbhanga Estate just to taste power, despite being a reputable farmer himself.
Since Urdu was like the official lingua franca, hence after initiating his education with Muslim clerics he got enrolled in the best high school of Darbhanga of that period. However he could experience happiness in life only till the age of thirty; his father passed away, only brother elder to him resigned his job, a large chunk of the property was lost due to complications arising out of his father’s generosity and munificence and taking care of the entire family became his responsibility.
Quite early, his youthful desire to see new places, befriend new people drew him to remote places of Bihar, main cities of Uttar Pradesh and even different areas in Nepal, where he put into practice two everlasting traits of his life. Being of a free-willed nature, he quit the service of Darbhanga estate and jumped into the struggle of existence. Yes, his whole life was a continuous struggle, but he never turned his back on his chosen path even in the midst of thunder or lightning.
Born and brought up in Gandhi’s age, he adopted only its ethos, neither participating in the freedom struggle nor wearing khaddar (homespun cotton). His maternal aunt was a Congress activist of those days. Used to wear khaddar, spin cotton, and tour along with Gandhiji; she would come from her village, which Gandhiji had visited, and stay with him. But he did not take an active part in the freedom movement. Even then, could he have remained unaffected by the currents of that influential age?
The lamp of social reform lit by Gandhiji had already touched him; as a result, he took up the cause for objectives like removal of untouchability, renunciation of dogma and spread of education. The field he chose was of his family and his village. Everybody chooses his family, there is nothing special about it, but reckon those days when opportunities for higher education were non-existent, a little education could easily get a Government job and beget an inflated ego, then displaying eagerness for providing higher education in the country was not easy but an objective for which sacrifice and suffering was expected. He suffered a lot to realize his unwavering inspiration but its sweet result he saw with his own eyes when five members of his family had acquired M.A. Degree.
When the campaign for removal of untouchability spread like a wave then he gladly invited the cobbler, poor Muslims and other weaker sections to his water pond and solved their drinking water problem, shunning the fear of social mockery. Not only this, the number of educated was practically nil in the village, as only a few prosperous families had acquired some education. The extraordinary love for education compelled him to open a school at his doorstep and he became its teacher. All on his own, without fees but with great love, as per the convenience of families, started teaching the children of Muslims, Brahmins, cobblers, shepherds, farm-servants. Befriended all the teachers at the District headquarter, kept running to and fro between the village and the school, got fees exempted, kept praying for the continuation of education in those families, which has resulted today in all sections of society having highly educated graduates among them. This is his greatest contribution and ever since his death in 1962 this position of a trailblazer remains void. With Government’s patronage or monetary effort spread of education is possible. But flying by oneself the flag of education, with one’s own resources, own knowledge and money, such work is possible only by a handful of heroes and dutiful servants of our country.
He also supported women’s education but due to poverty of resources could not develop it in the village. But when opportunity came knocking, he fulfilled that too by bringing as his daughter in law an M. A. of Patna university.
He advanced his second trait by studying and practicing homeopathy, camping at places not connected by railways or roads. His understanding was original and even experts of Western medicine valued his diagnosis. Going miles afar, either on foot or on bicycle, to alleviate contagious and other diseases, became his life’s prime objective. Whatever was given by the people, was acceptable to him,
The orthodox conditions of society disappointed him. His personality was endowed with a sense of humour and comic spirit. Till the age of seventy he continued to appear on the village stage even when his grandson used to be his co-actor. It was his spirit of joie de verve. He had special interest in playing comic roles. He remained always aloof from village factional politics and never participated in any unlawful activity. He tolerated all the shortcomings of his elder, sacrificed his joy and pleasure and remained an ever vigilant guardian of his family. His multi faceted personality blossomed in every role, father, brother, social reformer, educationist, doctor-minister; which ever facet one takes he displayed extraordinary potential. Now due to his untiring efforts his village and family are one of the few in the district with Intermediates, matriculates, and members of Government services up to highest levels of IAS, IPS.
We bow our head in reverence to such a personality endowed with such extraordinary capability.
Published in the Hindi daily Nav Rashtra, (New Nation), No: 120, 23420, Established by late Sri Devavrata Shastri, Patna Tuesday 2nd March 1965: Phalgun Krishna Paksha 14 Samvat 2021
About the Author: Late Badri Narain Sinha (elder brother of AKS) was by profession an IPS officer of 1952 batch of Bihar cadre while by avocation a humanist whose wide-ranging writings from treatise on Criminology to literary masterpieces in both Hindi and English on such diverse subjects as epic on Gandhiji to critical history of Hindi literature as well as other prose and poetic pieces have left their indelible imprint till today. The translator had the proud filial privilege of getting one of these, Man Thou Can, a portrait in poetry of Bapu, translated into Telugu in 2001, which was released on the eve of Gandhiji’s birth anniversary that year at Raj Bhavan, Hyderabad.
This humble attempt to enlarge the readership of Badri Narain Sinha’s literary oeuvre by translating this poetically sensitive biographical piece is the second in this series of translated literary offering to an enlightened audience.
Hyderabad Wednesday 28th April 2010: Poornima Baisakh 15 Vikram Samvat 2067
Translated from the Hindi original, forty-five years after its publication, by the author’s son Adhar Sinha, thanks to his uncle Sachidanand Sinha retrieving this long-lost parchment so as to preserve and propagate this gift to posterity, in order to inspire the generations to come by this saga of extraordinary labour of love for all those peerless values that human life ought to embody indeed.