2021 is not ending on a good note and my last read of the year too was pretty grim in places. The Andamans are a group of islands in the Bay of Bengal off the eastern coast of India. Separated from mainland India, they are still home to the indigenous people who have been here since pre-historic times though these tribes live in the most remote islands now and are not too keen to have contact with others (good call!).
During the British time, the islands were home to the infamous cellular jail where freedom fighters were imprisoned. The torture that Indians went over there is unimaginable and quite a few either committed suicide or went insane. Bejoy Kumar Sinha was a comrade of Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev and while Bhagat and Sukhdev were sentenced to be hanged in the Lahore Conspiracy Case, Bejoy was given life-imprisonment and eventually sent to the Cellular Jail. After his release in 1939, he wrote these memoirs of his time in kala pani, as the sentence at Andamans was called.
Reading it was a sobering experience and once again it underscored the fact that the freedom that we take so much for granted was actually won by the sufferings and sacrifices of so many.
First Line: Fifteen years ago, I was a student in Cawnpore college.
Publication Details: Cawnpore: Profulla C. Mittra, 1939.
First Published: 1939
Wishing everybody a happy 2022.