102 And Still Determined: Freedom Fighter Shantaben Ready To Vote

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102 And Still Determined: Freedom Fighter Shantaben Ready To Vote

| Updated: November 29, 2022 18:51

The Gujarat Assembly Elections to be held in two phases – December 1 and 5 – will see the participation of 4,90,89,765 voters. Elections have a tryst with history. This Gujarat elections will have the presence of some eminent historical figures.

Shantaben Manibhai Patel, who was part of the revolutionary movement for India’s Independence from Bhadran Village in Kheda district, will cast her vote in the second phase. Shantaben’s second sister Kantaben Manibhai Patel, too, had joined Mahatma Gandhi during the movement for freedom.

For the historically inclined, the Bhadran villagers had extended financial support to Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle. The village is a story palette of revolutionaries, of inspiring freedom-struggle graffities, of slogans that resonate to this day.

Lore has it that Shantaben Patel once stopped Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s car as the vehicle didn’t have India’s tricolours. Heeding her voice, Netaji did the needful but arrived late at a convention in Haripura. When Mahatma Gandhi was told what caused Netaji’s delay, he lavished praise on Shantaben, calling her one of the country’s bright viranganas.

Shantaben lives in Moti Khadki in Bhadran, with two sisters and one brother. Government pension sustains the family.

Incredibly, even at 102, her memory is sharp as ever. She remembers her arrest in 1942, leading to a jail term in the Yerwada person.   

And while people of her age are detached from the concerns of the nation, Shantaben is determined to vote. Even if it means being carried on a chair to the polls. 

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