Suresh Yadav/Republica Maliyani Devi Yadav (right), mother of martyr Bhramadev Yadav, with her daughter in this recent picture.
JANAKPUR, March 27: Maliyani Devi Yadav of Birendra Bazar is 50. However, she looks much older than that. She has lived an impoverished life after losing her husband. She was forced to take care of her small children solely amid extreme poverty. She nonetheless struggled and groomed her family.
After years of struggle her children grew up and she was looking forward for better days. The family was preparing to marry her daughter and when the first wave of movement was launched in Madhes. But all her dreams shattered. The movement claimed her 17-year old son.
Bhramadev was shot down by security forces in Birendra Bazar and had breathed his last on the spot. He was on his way home carrying edible oil from market when he got into the mob and became the victim. Coming now, Naliyani Devi wonders if the movement was essential. And if it was, why have been political parties not serious about it.
“I lost my only son to the movement. Like me, many families lost their loved ones to it. But our sacrifices were exploited by leaders for political gains. They rose to power and amassed wealth that will be enough for generations,” she claimed. “What did the families of the martyrs get? We have been totally forgotten, not only by other political party leaders, but by our own Madhesi leader.”
Prior to the tragedy, she didn’t follow politics much. But since losing her son to the movement, she is worried about the society and the country. She keeps track of politicians, their statements and the movement’s direction. “Political parties merge and split depending on the personal vested interests of their leadership. They speak one thing, but do something else. Every politician is self-centered. None of them is concerned about the general public and its welfare,” she stated while commenting on the way Madhes based political parties have evolved and acted in the aftermath of the movement.
While expressing her disgust towards the way political parties and their leaders have acted, she broke down in tears several times remembering her son. “I raised my children fulfilling the responsibilities of a mother and a father. I had gathered the courage to face all the adversities in performing the dual role by looking at their faces. I used to assure myself that they would be my support when they grow up. But the movement left me a destitute,” she said while unsuccessfully trying to hold back her tears.
“My son was not a part of the protest. He was just returning from the market fetching groceries. But the state crushed a youthful life to death and left an old woman helpless,” she continued.
After the incidence, she lived a lonely life as her daughter was married off and there was no other member in her family. The tragedy and loneliness drove her into depression. After seeing her plight, her daughter came to her rescue. “Now it is her who I rely on. She is my son and my daughter,” she said looking at her daughter who informed this scribe that her mother remains gloomy and have rarely smiled since the tragedy.
Another martyr family has been living with similar agonies. Shiva Shankar Yadav was attacked by a mob in Bhagwanpur during the first Madhes movement. Despite the presence of security forces near the spot where he was attacked, he could not be saved. The 35-year-old, father of six children, succumbed to severe injuries after a week of the incident.
His death devastated his wife. Four years later she too passed away leaving the children alone. According to locals, neither the Madhes leaders, nor the government have ever visited these children.
Ranju, one of the six children, says she wants to earn a master’s degree and do something that would make her deceased parents proud. “There is no way I can do that. The movement snatched our parents from us and without them we are helpless,” she said sharing that she recently gave Secondary Education Examination.
A decade has passed since the movement. Madhes issues have not been settled yet. Martyrs’ families feel that poor families like theirs are used by ‘power hungry’ politicians. During the first Madhes movement, 54 people had lost lives.
Ranju Shankar, daughter of martyr Shiva Shankar, holds an appreciation letter in this recent picture.