Bhubaneswar: Incredible though it may seem, the late Biju Patnaik had plans to print fake currency notes and circulate them across the Indian subcontinent as a means of bringing about the downfall of the British Raj.
This was revealed by the legendary leader and former Odisha Chief Minister's daughter Gita Mehta in an article 'Mo Bapa (My Father)', published in 'Utkal Prasanga', the Odisha government mouthpiece.
The state government, which is headed by her younger brother Naveen Patnaik, is celebrating the birth centenary of Biju Patnaik, who had founded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for Popularisation of Science.
Mehta, a prominent writer whose works include 'Karma Cola', 'A River Sutra', 'Snake and Ladder', 'Glimpses of Modern India', revealed several little known facts about her illustrious father.
"While in jail, my father was thinking of ways to oust the British from India. Then he decided to become owner of a textile mill, because these units required the same colour and chemicals as are used to make currency notes. My father was determined that within six months of his release from jail, he will print fake notes and circulate them in the sub-continent to ensure the fall of British Rule," Mehta said.
Gita said her parents, during their stay in Delhi, were busy giving asylum to freedom fighters and trying to evade arrest by the British police.
"A foreign freedom fighter who was aware of this had named our house 'Absconders' Paradise'," she said, adding that while her father was arrested by British police, the Viceroy's wife had honoured the same Biju Patnaik.
"My father was honoured by British rulers for his act of releasing some British families who were imprisoned by Japanese during the Second World War," Mehta recalled.
As to the reason for Biju Patnaik's arrest, Mehta said, "The reason was that my father had some pistols. Soon after British police handcuffed my father, he came to my mother and on the pretext of bidding goodbye to her, hinted that she should throw away the pistols. After my father was taken away, my mother put the pistols inside a pillow cover and took them in a Sunbeam-Talbot car and threw them at a secluded place."