PANJIM: Mohan Ranade spent 14 years in jail, six of them in solitary confinement in Goa and Portugal. That’s the price he paid for his participation in Goa’s freedom movement. During those years he ate sparsely, the jail diet in Goa consisting of rice, fish curry, chapati, and in Portugal rice, pasta, soup, fish and other plain Portuguese dishes.
Next month, two days before the anniversary of Goa’s liberation, Ranade will again have a taste of the food he ate in jail, but this time he will not be behind bars or among other jail inmates. He will be sitting on the sands of Goa amidst friends and admirers, reminiscing his struggle for the liberation of Goa.
On December 17, A Senda do Dever (The Path of Duty), the Portuguese edition of his memoirs translated by Ave Cleto Afonso, based on ‘Struggle Unfinished’ and the Marathi original ‘Satiche Vann’ by Ranade, will be released by Governor Mridula Sinha at ZeeBop restaurant, Utorda.
Afonso says that the idea of such a release function has a personal bias. “Ranade is a man who has suffered much at the hands of the Portuguese and that he can ovecome the torment of the oppressors and forgive them makes him, for me, someone great.”
Ranade entered Goa in the early 1950s disguised as a Marathi teacher and got involved in clandestine activity against the Portuguese colonial regime. He later devoted himself to the armed struggle under the Azad Gomantak Dal. He carried out armed attacks against Portuguese police posts in Goa, the last of which at Betim, in October 1955, led to his being injured and captured by the Portuguese.
He was tortured, put under solitary confinement and sentenced to a total of 28 years of rigorous imprisonment, fined and placed under ‘security regime’, which meant that he could be held in prison even after completing his jail term.
In August 1960 he was transfered to Portugal and passed through the prison of Aljube and the maximum security prison of Fort Caxias, where he met with freedom fighters from Angola, Mozambique and other Portuguese colonies in Africa. He also joined the Portuguese patriots who were fighting the dictatorship of Salazar and for the independence of their colonies.
He was released on January 25, 1969 (more than seven years after Goa’s liberation) and returned to India on February 1, 1969.
Afonso says that the Portuguese version of the memoirs is because Ranade desired an edition in Portuguese that would reach out to the people in Portugal. “I thought it would be my pleasure to fulfill that wish of his. He has fond memories of the Portuguese and some of those who were in jail with him.”
For 84-year-old Ranade, who lives in Pune, this will be an opportunity to reminisince his days of the freedom struggle.
Ranade was tortured, put under solitary confinement and sentenced to 28 years of rigorous imprisonment, fined and placed under ‘security regime’, which meant that he could be held in prison even after completing his jail term