Modi hands over freedom fighter’s barrister certificate from London

Bhuj (Gujarat):  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday handed over the reinstatement certificate of barrister Pandit Shyamji Krishna Verma, a freedom fighter who hailed from what is now Gujarat’s Kutch district, to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel here.

Modi, who is on his maiden visit to the Kutch district after becoming prime minister, is here for three days to attend the 50th annual conference of state police chiefs.

Arriving in Bhuj in the afternoon, he handed over the certificate to Patel at a function here, before moving to Dhordo Tent City in the white desert, the venue of the conference.

The British government had seized barrister licenses of two Indian lawyers – Mahatma Gandhi and Shayamji Verma. Coincidentally, both were from Gujarat. Though Mahatma’s bar membership was reinstated in 1988, nobody bothered about Verma,

He said that ahead of his recent visit to Britain, he raised the issue and discussed with some of the British ministers who are of Indian origin.

“These efforts paid off and I got the opportunity to bring the reinstatement certificate of a great freedom fighter,” he said that after becoming his prime minister, bringing reinstatement of Verma back home was a priority.

Verma was from the coastal Mandvi town in Kutch. When Modi was Gujarat chief minister, he had brought back Verma’s ashes from Britain and the state government had also built a memorial – Kranti Tirth – in Verma’s hometown to keep them.

Kranti Tirth was inaugurated by Modi in 2010. The memorial is a replica of India House situated in North London, established by Verma as a base for Indian students studying in England. Verma was also the founder of the Indian Home Rule Society.

Born on October 4, 1857, Verma is also known as ‘Kranti Guru’. He died on March 30, 1930, in Geneva. Kutch University situated in Bhuj has also been named as Shyamji Krishna Verma University after him.

Verma was debarred from Britain’s leading law society for advocating independence for India in 1905. As a result of the efforts of Modi, Verma has been posthumously reinstated to the Bar,” said a source who witnessed the procedure. According to him, the certificate would be kept along with Verma’s ashes at Kranti Tirth in Mandvi.