Cuttack: This man qualifies to be called historical. Why not? When you have lived for a 100 years you are a chronicler of wars, sacrifices, vagaries of nature, political upheavals and what have you.
The man we are talking about here is centenarian Radhanatha Rath who lives in Saindha area near Telenga Pentha in Cuttack with his wife Basumati and youngest son. The second World War is still fresh in his mind. He can relate stories and incidents as if it just happened yesterday.
“Traumatic memories of the World War-II haunt me to this day,” says Radhanatha.
He is one of the Odias, who has seen the aftermath of second World War very closely. He was working as the Health Inspector during the World War-II and was only 25 at that time.
In 1945, a few months after World War-II, six Indians were sent to Japan. Radhanatha was one of them.
“I had gone to Japan in a ship. We reached there after 30 days. We were staying at a small camp in a city, which was 23 km away from Hiroshima,” said says the centenarian.
“I got many facilities there to live like an Indian. There was no restriction on eating Indian food and wearing Indian costumes. I was also in touch with my family members through letters,” he recalls.
After the two years of war, people were not safe there. Earlier, the people of Japan were joyful lot but tWorld War-II changed everything, says Radhanatha. As Health Inspector, Radhanatha worked there for six years. He was also assigned to observe the activities of people there.
His memories of Japan are all encapsulated in a book called ‘Japan Jataka’ that he wrote after returning from there. He recounts World War II in great detail in the book.
It goes to the credit of the wizened man that he still does not take the help of a walking stick and does not even use spectacles for reading. He can do his own work without taking anyone’s help.
He joined the Army after Class X and got married at the age of 24. Some training later, he started working as a Health Inspector and now enjoys his pension.
Radhanatha is adept at speaking and writing Odia, Hindi, English and Japanese languages.
“There should not any war in the future. It is really very difficult to survive during a war,” he says.