15 August 1947: Black Marketeers Have a Field Day.

A 10 year old in 1947 recolletcs his first day in “Independent” India after 65 years. Foodgrains at the Ration shops had disappeared, only to reappear by sheer magic at higher prices at the regular market. The refrain was: *अभी अपना राज है, अंग्रेजोंका नहीं…..* The traders are usually the sharpest people around to know which way the winds are blowing. Weren’t they prescient about which way Indian “Freedom Market” would move. *सब कुच्छ चलता है…..*
Seventy-five-year-old Pandurang Garsund of Khadki:
<<“The enthusiasm among children was something that I had never seen before. We were all happy and discussing our new lives. At the stroke of midnight, flag hoisting took place in every basti of Khadki. The most prominent function was held at a ground in Gaddi Adda where even today the flag is hoisted.
“Meanwhile, the hoisting functioning which started at sharp 7 in the morning went on till noon with leaders after leaders delivering stirring speeches. Initially, we all loved the speeches and clapped, but later they got boring….We then left the school premises feeling proud and happy.
“But the real story started the moment we reached home. Our parents had gone to the market to get foodgrains through ration cards. But to our shock, they returned empty handed. All the grains in the ration shops had disappeared. On the other hand, shopkeepers had a field day resorting to hoarding. At some places, foodgrains were sold at higher prices. Thus, on the very first day of Independence, black-marketing started. Just a day before, we had plenty to eat and just a day later, we struggled to get food. The situation continued for days. Apparently, there was a feeling among these people that nobody could do anything to them. “Abhi apna raaz hain, angrezo ka nahin…” On August 14, 1947, when we were preparing for midnight hoisting of the flag, my grandfather had warned us that now thieves would take over the country…We did not believe him then, but then he proved right and his statement holds good even today.>>

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