The Nizamabad Lok Sabha candidate is excited about the win

"I have just come to know that I have won from the Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat," the candidate said with a glow on the face. It was a moment of triumph. The verdict was clear. The chosen one had all the reasons to celebrate and be so joyful. But I felt sad.

I smiled. "Congratulations! I said softly as tears swelled my eyes. They were not tears of joy. I felt sad. There was grief within me. I looked at the victorious candidate's face again. His joy was complete. The satisfaction absolute.

I am talking about Harischandra Heda, who was elected to independent India's first parliament in the elections held in 1952 from Nizamabad.



He was elected MP from Nizamabad for three terms in a row and was in parliament from 1952-57, 1957-62 and 1962-67. Heda was a close associate of Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, B R Ambedkar and many other leaders.  There is more to Harischandra Heda. Even before elections were held in independent India, he was a member of the constituent assembly which served as the country's first parliament with Jawaharlal Nehru and B R Ambedkar and many others among the 299 members elected from across the India.

I was a regular at the house of Harishchandra Heda and his wife Gyan Kumari Heda who lived at Narayanaguda. Gyan Kumari Heda who also participated in the freedom movement was a terror for the British administration as she slapped a British officer who dared to walk on the backs of people who had lied down on the ground to prevent him from walking ahead during the freedom struggle.

For at least five years, I had been going to meet the couple at their Narayanaguda residence in Hyderabad and listen to them talk about India's struggle for freedom from the British, how they went to jail, how they dared the British forces, how they suffered and yet did not give up on their idea that India should get independence. Both Harischandra Heda and Gyan Kumari Heda were closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle. It was even a bigger challenge in Hyderabad State because of the Nizam's stance.
On one of my visits to their house, Gyan Kumari Heda explained to me the dramatic episode in which the national flag was hoisted in Hyderabad on August 14-15 night on Sultan Bazar clock tower. The Nizam's police had arrested all freedom fighters. Gyan Kumari Heda escaped out of sight for several hours. She hid in the house of someone at Sultan Bazar. She chalked out a plan to somehow see that the tricolour was hoisted in Hyderabad to declare mark's India's independence.

"I met some of the auto drivers who would park their vehicle at the Sultan Bazar clock tower. As planned, after midnight, one of the auto drivers quickly climbed the Sultan Bazar clock tower and hoisted the national flag," Gyan Kumari Heda told me recounting the incident with excitement.

Harischandra Heda, feeble, as he was, extended his hand to be. "Congratulations!!!! ! I have just got the news of my election to parliament," he said. Gyan Kumari Heda looking at the surprise look on my face. This was in August 2001. For several years, I had made it a point to meet the couple who had fought for the freedom of the country, daring the British, and heard directly from them the stories of the freedom struggle. This visit in 2001 sprang a surprise on me. "He has become forgetful," Gyan Kumari Heda told me as we sat down for me. Harishchandra Heda's dementia got me thinking. He was losing his memory but the fact that he had won had stayed in his memory. The only thing is that what happened decades ago, was as if it happened today or yesterday for him. Harishchandra Heda who was born in 1912 was 89 years old when I last  him in 2001. He died the following year. Gyan Kumari Heda too passed away at the age of 90 in the year 2008.

As results for the Lok Sabha elections are awaited on May 23, I remembered Harischandra Heda's 'announcement' to me about his election and thought I could share it with you. 

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