Little Poland in Kathiawar

View photo albums:
Album: A Survivor Comes Home Album: Lights, Camera, Action... On Location in Kathiawar Album: Goa Film Bazaar 2012

This is a true and captivating story of the then Jam Sahib (Ruler) K.S Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji, nephew of famous cricketer K.S. Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar (now Jamnagar), Gujarat (a state in Western India), for the ‘aam admi’ (ordinary man). It is a story hidden like a precious stone in history – people-to people contact in its most humane form, beyond borders and across continents; a story of compassion, love and brotherhood etched in the cultural and historical connect for India and Poland – of generations, and for generations.

During World War II, the Jam Sahib sheltered some 1,000 Polish children and few women “released” from Siberia. They lived in India for six years in total freedom and dignity and are now spread across the world. These “Survivors of Balachadi” as they proudly call themselves, have established their own businesses with identity and lived a life fulfilled. They revere and remember Jam Saheb, aptly calling him “Bapu”. In his honor one of best schools in Warsaw is named after him as “Jam Saheb Grammar School”.

As the late Maharaja’s daughter Harshada Kumari states, “Bapu told the Britishers while making a home for these homeless children - This is not state money but my money. I have adopted these children & I am paying from my allowance.

It has been 68 years since the children arrived in Jamnagar, and it is with great interest that books have been written on their experiences – few by survivors themselves, and also various other writers across the world. It is pertinent that the story is “passed on” from this ageing generation to the youth of today, especially in India and Poland, enabling not only in building relations between countries strikingly similar in culture, but also documenting a story that may soon become extinct. The story of a generation’s past; its sensitivity and experience, that will teach the future generations a few important lessons of friendship and people-to-people contact between countries and across continents.

In this commemorative effort, a square in Warsaw is to be named after the Jam Saheb – rightfully calling it “the Good Maharaja Square”.

Stories

Here is a story, as was shared by the Survivors of Balachadi with the filmmaker, that could fill you with humility and gratitude for all that life has given, and say “Thank You”. It is a story, that speaks of scars that wars leave on innocent minds and homes; it is a story, that shares journeys of young feet across thousands of kilometres to unknown destinations; it is a story that must be told.

This story IS being told. A humble effort by AAKAAR FILMS to bring this story to your homes and hearts. And, this is just a beginning…

The film is being Co-Produced between Governments of India and Poland under the Audio-Visual Agreement between both countries.

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