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Only surviving eunuch claiming to be freedom fighter dies

13, Jan 2010 By Pagal Patrakar

Gorakhpur. Gunjan Mausi, a 92-year-old eunuch (commonly known as hijda) claiming to be a freedom fighter, died here today in abject poverty after prolonged illness. Gunjan Mausi had been fighting a long drawn battle with the government authorities trying to get pension as a freedom fighter, but had to leave this world without having won any recognition or award. Mausi is survived by sixteen more eunuchs, whom she brought up and organized as a performing art group.

“Mausi had grabbed and seized an English officer from behind when he ordered lathi charge (caning) on protestors during the Quit India movement in 1942. Mausi was young and sturdy then and the officer was shit scared at being squeezed by her. He started crying for help, which caused his policemen to leave the protestors and channel their energy towards separating Mausi and the Englishman.” Shabnam, an eunuch brought up by Gunjan Mausi, recalled Mausi’s heroics during the freedom struggle.

Gunjan Mausi brought smiles to these faces in independent India
Gunjan Mausi brought smiles to these faces in independent India

“It took more than half an hour to get that gora (Englishman) freed from Gunjan Mausi’s hold. Gora’s face had turned red and he was panting like a dog when he was rescued by his Indian policemen. He ordered his men to beat up and lock up Mausi in jail.” Shabnam recounted the story, which she had heard from Mausi herself and local elders while she grew up dancing on child-births and clapping in trains. Gunjan was jailed for four years for this anti-national act.

Local residents corroborate these stories, although rather reluctantly, based on what they had learnt from their grandparents. Apparently Gunjan Mausi was given a sobriquet of “gorpakad” (someone who catches a white man) after the incident and had become quite famous locally in those days.

“India would have got their first hijda leader way back then itself, but other leaders of those days didn’t make any attempt to get Mausi released from jail, and her political career had almost finished when she came out in 1946. People were talking about Pakistan by then. Mausi got confused as she still thought about India.” Jawahar Yadav, a local octogenarian said.

Gunjan Mausi was soon forgotten as India got independence and she had to struggle to make her ends meet. She attempted the same policeman grabbing act once more in the independent India when local farmers were being chased away by Uttar Pradesh police during a demonstration, but this time the policeman seemed to enjoy the act while everyone around laughed. Nobody took Gunjan Mausi seriously thereafter.

“No government official was ready to listen to her and she was being pushed to the margins. Some people, who had no idea about freedom struggle and were jailed for stealing clothes in those times, could get pension as freedom fighters but Gunjan Mausi’s claims were always rejected. She was soon disillusioned with our new society.” said Shabnam with bleary eyes.

Faking News pays our sincerest tribute such unsung heroes of our freedom struggle.