Activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s daughter Maaysha feels PM Narendra Modi won’t listen to her prayers of releasing her innocent mother

Maaysha is worried for her mother’s health who is lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla jail where her jail-inmates have been tested positive for Coronavirus and the investigating agency NIA has challenged the bail application filed by Bharadwaj

Mumbai: Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed an affidavit challenging the bail application of lawyer and former professor Sudha Bharadwaj in the Elgar Parishad case, at the Bombay High Court. It argues that she is “taking undue benefit” of the Covid-19 pandemic in seeking interim bail on medical grounds.

Bhardwaj lodged in the Women’s cell of Byculla Central Jail and after a pandemic crisis of coronavirus, due to her health issues has applied for bail in Bombay High Court. After the transfer of case from Maharashtra Police to the NIA, Sudha Bhardwaj is transferred from Yerwada Jail in Pune to Mumbai’s Byculla Jail.

The activist Sudha Bhardwaj was arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case by Pune Police for a conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. The police had alleged that Maoist had backed the conclave and inflammatory speeches delivered at the Koregaon -Bhīma war memorial.

Maaysha, her daughter has stopped feeling agonised in the past two-years despite learning that Bharadwaj’s bail application is challenged in the Bombay High Court by the investigating agency.

In a lengthy telephonic interview with Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra, Special Correspondent of TheNews21, Maaysha describes her pain and struggle within and outside the system, her process of learning to cope with the situation in the entire two-year journey minus mother. Maaysha 23-years student of Psychology, has witnessed emotional breakdown, dejection by closed ones, allegations, support from unexpected people and loneliness post her mother in jail.

Activist Sudha Bharadwaj with her daughter Maaysha

thenews21 – How you are managing with the news like bail denied or opposed to your mother as it’s almost two-years now.

Maaysha – I have understood in the past two-year that it is really a long battle in case of my mother. She was lodged for almost two-year and the police could not produce any proof against her. So, I know that it is not easy to get the bail as they are not here for us. I really don’t hope much from them. Initially it is used to completely break me down and somehow, I used to manage my pain and agony. It is pointless to show people who damn care about me and my Mamma.

Now I have developed self –booster and keep telling myself  ‘ woh subah kabhi to aayengi ‘(that sunshine will come someday). I can see several coming and praying for her as she is innocent.

thenews21 – Do You feel she is framed?

Maaysha – Yes!!!!

There are two ways I see this as a daughter. I have seen my mother fighting against the system and she has upset many politicos and industrialists. It cannot be denied that several people could have used tactics and pressure to ensure my mother won’t come back to fight for the rights of the underprivileged.

Under the flagship of  Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) my mother has raised voice and fought court cases for thousands of farmers, labourers and adivasis. The cases have been usually of land acquisition by the industrialists and depriving labourers from their legal rights. The mining industry had to change the time-of – labourers for eight-hours only after rigorous efforts of my mother.

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Second, if she is not framed then why can’t they show the evidence? For almost two-years we have been suffering. I was very much present when the police barged into our house without any search warrant and my mother kept on telling me nothing to worry as she had no role.

thenews21 – People then and now with you, your thoughts.

Maaysha – So …it’s difficult to answer but (laughs aloud)…

People earlier came to my mother whom she was helping in court cases and also guiding to fight against injustice.  The flow of people at home was tremendous; it included even my friends and her colleagues, friends and even victims. 

The co-workers from the CMM and PUCL’S unions were our family. I almost grew with them. No one was a stranger.

Now also everyone is showing support. They are supporting my Mamma as they value her fight for underprivileged. The same colleagues hers have become close to me. Although they are supporting me but no one is supporting me emotionally. It breaks me down. My friends disconnected after learning the controversy surrounded by me. I can understand their mind-sets.

After Mamma was taken by the police, I am alone, all alone. No one can fill the vacuum created by her absence in a daughter’s life. I am battling with my emotions. Impacts of incidences do hamper life of an individual. I feel bad that some section of society has started judging me. They have started claiming that I too am an urban naxal. Do they even realize the impact it casts on me or my Mamma?

This is too harsh reality but I am facing it in absence of my mother. Initially it bothered me but now I understand they say all this to demoralise me and the fighter Sudha Bhardwaj. Thus I try to ignore it.

thenews21 – Tell us about your childhood.

Maaysha – Unlike any other child, I have grown up in a different atmosphere. I not only had single but working mother who was not in to a typical job. There was no specified timings. People needed her the most as they had immense trust in her.

My early childhood was in Bhilai city with the children of her co-workers of the union. I could see all around me same children with parents on duty to fight against injustice.

She too was very busy with people and their fight.

It is only after my sixth class, I stayed with her in Bilaspur. The pattern remained same. Her work was having no time boundary and limitations. Once Mamma went to the adivasi areas, it meant a visit of 3-4days or may be more. Thus it was self-growing up with others.

However she ensured that I was well taken care of by domestic help, her friends and our neighbours. Thus our in-house-maids became good friends and even with neighbours I had family bondage.

I had seen respect in the eyes for farmers, labourers and adivasis for her .I understood her reason for dedication and ignorance was bringing happiness in others life. She always stood for underprivileged in society.

One thing remained constant, her love towards me. Early mornings when I used to get up and she used to give a strong hug and I used to cuddle around her like a creeper. 

Sadly, when I get up now I do not have Mamma to give that hug and cuddle …people can give me strength but not the love which I need the most!!!

thenews21 – Lot of people are supporting your mother almost 600 prominent Indians have written to the Jail authorities asking temporarily release of Sudha Bhardwaj and Shoma Sen. Are you also planning to appeal to the government authority?

Maaysha – I do not see any point in appealing to any government authorities in my individual capacity. Mujhe vaise bhi nahi lagata Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji meri baat sunege (I don’t feel that PM Narendra Modi ji going to listen to me).

I do put my views with the unions, colleagues and ask them to evaluate if appropriate in my Mammas case.

thenews21 – How do you manage yourself especially finance?

Maaysha – My mother’s friends are financially supporting me. I sometimes feel really awkward even to tell the need of money as I understand that I am not their responsibility.

It is also the truth that I am also learning in past two years that Professor Sudha Bhardwaj an advocate and human right activist never saved a single penny for family.
Our bank balance is zero!!!

Her clients were from poor and needy background, for them she is messiah but then money does not come to messiah.

thenews21 – Tell us about your relationship with your mother, Sudha Bhardwaj.

Maaysha – We understood each other without talking. She was busy with her work and it gives her satisfaction which brings huge smile on her face. I had understood it from my childhood.

She always promised to take me out for a picnic so as we two can spend good time but all remained in our talks as her fight for underprivileged was too much of consuming time and efforts.

Meanwhile when we shifted to Faridabad she started loving the food I prepared. A simple woman, who took India’s citizenship so as she can remain rooted and work for farmers, labourers and adivasis.

She is not just my mother but a friend too. I remember when she was in house arrest, I got her dresses to wear she preferred only sarees. Somehow, she accepted the change in her dressing only because it was me who wanted her to be comfortable.

thenews21 – Did she tell you about her case?

Maaysha – No!!!!

thenews21 – Then???

Maaysha – I read in newspapers and my mother’s friends and colleagues explained me the charges leveled on her.

thenews21 – What is her advice to you when you meet her in jail?

Maaysha – It is difficult to see the woman who inspired me and changed lives of several is lodged in jail. She asks me to be strong and believe in the judiciary. She can read in my eyes that day by day my belief is shaken. It is not just about the denial of the bail to her under lockdown when she has several health issues but the ray of hope is never ending.

I broke when I met her in Pune Yerwada Jail. By chance her body got touched with me and I could not control my emotions.

I am 23-years young but I need my mother. I do not have anyone other than her for emotional dependency. We have been celebrating our birthdays in jail premises. I need my mother. I want her but she told me not to cry when she is not around me. I am holding 

I miss the smell of her…. (Starts crying and phone gets disconnected) 

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