Recall the spine-chilling Thriller Spy Genre Movies ….a damsel in disguise spying in the enemy camp…stealing secret coded messages ….RAW agents working undercover providing timely tip that saves the country from the looming crisis. ‘Baby’ was one of the movies that kept me on tenterhooks with my adrenaline thumping violently till the end! True, movies are the effective means of conveying a message. And then I watched this short dramatized version of a story which contained all the above ingredients of a Spy Thriller…only, it was based on a Real Life Incident of a Veteran Freedom Fighter presently living a life of obscurity.
90 years old Saraswati Rajamani, living in a small battered apartment in Chennai, Tamil Nadu surviving on a meager pension is not alone. She is surrounded by such memories that you and I can’t even imagine! This lady warrior had been India’s Youngest Spy who smuggled the secrets of British for the Indian National Army’s Intelligence Wing at the tender age of 16! You and I owe her a lot! In fact, we owe to hundreds of thousands of such anonymous freedom fighters who were lost into oblivion just because our Nehruvian Historians shrugged them off!
Saraswati Rajamani was born in Rangoon in 1927 in an extremely wealthy patriotic family. Her father, an opulent owner of Gold mines in Burma, was consistently helping the freedom movement in India. He used to tell Rajamani the stories of Indian freedom Struggle and Gandhi’s ‘Non-cooperation Movement’. And then something happened that changed the course of 10 years old Rajamani’s life…one day ,she saw her family grief-struck by the news of the British Judgment of executing a man called Bhagat Singh. The puzzled Rajamani found everything about Bhagat Singh from the next day’s newspaper and was highly impressed. Gandhi whom the family looked up to, told the anguished Indians that Bhagat Singh was a ‘Misguided Patriot’ who had adapted violence. Netaji Bose was the only leader who protested hard against the execution order. Rajamani chose her Leader! She discarded the half-cooked theory of Non-violence and started following Netaji Bose very ardently. She started practicing Pistol-shooting.
Once Gandhi visited Rajamani’s house and saw young Rajamani practicing shooting. He tried to advise her how violence always led to destruction. The girl asked him what else these British looters deserved, who had looted our Nation for so long! And few years later, Netaji Bose visited Rangoon. “Tum mujhe khun do, main tumhe azadi dunga” which means, “Give me your blood, I’ll get you Independence.” These inspiring words of Netaji ignited young Rajamani’s mind with fervor. He appealed to donate and join “Azad Hind Sena” (Indian National Army) and “Rani of Janshi Brigade” (INA- Womens Brigade). Rajamani, rich that she was, donated all her expensive diamond and gold jewelry. By evening, Netaji had come to return the jewelry thinking it was an act of an immature young girl carried away by his speech. Young Rajamani indignantly refused to take back the jewelry but begged him to recruit her in his army. Seeing her patriotic dedication, Netaji gave her the name’ Saraswati’.