Port Blair, Aug. 30:  Shri John M Lobo, INA Personal, (Retd) Deputy Conservator of Forests, Former President, Local Born’s Association & Civil Activist has called upon the Lt. Governor, A&N Islands to consider re-naming of Boys Sr. Sec. School to Moti Ram Sr. Sec. School. Justifying his demand, Lobo said, the renaming of the school should be done with a view to correct historical inaccuracies and bestow due recognition to the contribution of the older generation to civil society.

Lobo further explained that Shri Moti Ram was a revered member of the Andamanians community (local born), was a descendant of the revolutionaries of 1857 War of Independence. He was born in Pahargaon Village, South Andaman.

Moti Ram was the first graduate from the Andamanians community having obtained the degree from Rangoon University, which had a very high standard of education in the period. Considering the very paucity of educational facilities in the Andaman’s in the early phase of penal settlement, this achievement of Shri Moti Ram was exemplary.

He was a high school teacher in the Government High School, teaching Mathematics, Geography, Urdu and Persian. I was a student of Shri Moti Ram and have firsthand knowledge of his qualities as a teacher and as a person, Lobo said.

The veteran further explains that apart from Shri Moti Ram’s professional achievements, he was in the front rank of the intellectual and moral leadership of local society.  He took active part in the activities of the Local Born Association.  In particular, his services were utilized in preparing documents for representations to such high dignitaries as Viceroy and Home Secretary and to the delegation of the Central Legislative Assembly, which visited Port Blair in 1936.

Shri Moti Ram was a Arya Samajist by faith which shaped his moral upbringing and the qualities of social reformism. In the face of a non conducive atmosphere, he acted as an initiator of the study of Hindi in the Islands, particularly among women.

During the Japanese occupation period, Shri Moti Ram became a Member and Office bearer of the Indian Independence League.  He became a leading light of this Movement participating as speaker and motivator.  When the members of the Indian Independence League (I.I.L) were arrested in large numbers from 22.01.1943, in the first so called spy case, Shri Moti Ram organized the protest of the I.I.L to the Japanese authorities on the arrests. The first spy case prisoners were brutally tortured and later were shot dead on 30th March 1943 on the seashore of Dugnabad, Aberdeen Village.

Shri Moti Ram was also arrested in November, 1943 and tortured to make a confession of being a spy.  He was released on 19.11.1943 after administering a poisonous injection.  On reaching home, he died within a short time.

It may not be coincidental to point out that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was to arrive in Port Blair on 29th December, 1943 and Shri Moti Ram was murdered by the Japanese in November, 1943, giving rise to serious conclusion that Japanese authorities had planned to keep Netaji segregated from the leading members of the I.I.L, particularly when the mass arrests of the leaders of the I.I.L including Dr. Dewan Singh, the President, had commenced from 1st October, 1943.

Therefore, the murder of Moti Ram by poisoning him was a deliberate act of the Japanese authorities.

Shri Moti Ram was known for his wisdom and erudition and in matters public and social he was always consulted and considered as a last testing post.

Shri Moti Ram on the basis of his character nurtured a large family, many of them accomplished in their own way.  The eldest son, Shiv Ram was one of the veterans of the Islands, political life, a former Senior Vice Chairman of Port Blair Municipal Board and top functionary of the Andaman Congress Party and the Trade union Movement.  He was a public figure of high integrity.  His son-in-law Pratab Nath Nag, M.A.B.T. was the earliest of the Andamanians to achieve high educational attainments.  His wife, the eldest daughter of Moti Ram, Smti Savitri Bai had joined the Women’s wing of the I.I.L and was an active participant in the activities of the Women’s Organization.  She was arrested by the Japanese and tortured to put pressure on her husband who was also in Jail.

Shri Pratab Nath Nag was arrested in the second spy case and shot dead on 30th January, 1944 along with his 43 other compatriots at Humfreygunj Village, South Andaman.

From the above accounts, it is clear beyond a shadow of doubt that Shri Moti Ram had all the attributes of a martyr, and was a distinguished citizen of the islands.

It must be noted that the criteria to give freedom fighter status to participants in the freedom struggle is well settled.  Firstly, one should have participated in freedom struggle which have been recorded as authentic and genuine and secondly one should have faced imprisonment or other forms of repression or actions by the British Authorities.

On the basis of the scientific application of historical facts, it is my considered opinion that the Indian Independence League was an integral part of our national movement.  This is also a settled fact of the history of the Indian National Movement.

Applying the criteria for recognition as a freedom fighter as enumerated above, the conclusion is loud and clear, that Shri Moti Ram died as a martyr.  He was a descendant of the 1857 revolutionaries.  His life and achievements place him I n high pedestal.  He was an accomplished teacher.

“In view of the above chronicling of events and evidence, I summon all my attainments to pray that the Boys Senior Secondary School, Port Blair, named in honour of Shri Moti Ram”, the veteran local born pleaded.