Under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi ji as our nation commemorates ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ we take a solemn moment to remember all those brave hearts who sacrificed their lives so that we could live in a free country. The struggle for Independence attracted active participation from all the communities across the nation, however the contributions of smaller communities, especially those from North East India have remained relatively unknown. All that is changing, thanks to the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ commemoration as envisioned by Modi ji, more and more people are coming to know about the freedom fighters from smaller regions and communities too.
The sacrifices and contributions of the Indian Gorkha community towards our freedom struggle and nation building is immense, sadly majority of the people across our nation are unaware of the sacrifices made by our Gorkha ancestors. As a Member of Parliament from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, which is the heart of Gorkha community in India, and being a Gorkha by ethnicity, here is my humble attempt at highlighting some of the icons from Indian Gorkha community whose contributions in the history of India’s Independence remains relatively unknown among the general population.
INA CAPT. RAM SINGH THAKURI – HIMACHAL PRADESH
Among the very many celebrated Gorkha Freedom Fighters, perhaps the one with the most iconic contribution, yet the least known, remains Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri of Himachal Pradesh.
Call it a coincidence or destiny, Capt. Thakuri was born on the 15th of August 1914 to a Gorkha family in Khaniara village, Dharamshala, HP. In 1924, he had joined the 2/1 Gorkha Rifles as a unit musician. He was a talented young man, who was proficient in many fields including football, athletics, and wrestling. In the Second World War, his Battalion was shipped overseas to Singapore. In 1942, Singapore fell and the Allied forces surrendered to the Japanese. This is when Capt Ram Singh Thakuri joined the Indian National Army (INA). Soon he became very popular due to his musical talents, so much so that Netaji himself took a note of his talents. Netaji an astute military strategist understood the power music could have on the morale of the soldiers asked him to raise a marching band for the INA.
Capt. Thakuri didn’t let Netaji down, as he produced some of the most well know songs from India’s freedom movements like Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja, Sare Jahan se Accha, Inquilab Zindabad, Hind Sipahi, the Rani of Jhansi Regiment marching song “Hum Bharat ki Ladki Hai,” and others.
The Azad Hind Government had strongly felt that a National Anthem was required which would connect all Indians through a common thread of music. While some had favoured the great poet Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s ‘Vande Mataram’ as the national anthem, some others felt it wasn’t inclusive enough. It was Capt. Lakshmi Sahgal who introduced Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Jana Gana Mana’ to Netaji, by having it performed at INA women’s wing meeting, which Netaji had attended. Following which, Netaji instructed Capt Ram Singh Thakuri to re-compose the music of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s version of Jana Gana Mana in a martial tune to which INA soldiers could march to.
In one of his interviews, Capt. Thakuri fondly recalled Netaji instructing him, “the song should have such an indelible impact and force that the Cathay Building [in Singapore] should ‘break’ into two parts and the sky should become visible.”
While Capt Abid Ali and Mumtaz Hussain rewrote Gurudev’s “Jana Gana Mana” to “शुभ सुख चैन – Subha Skhuh Chain ki Barsha Barse”, Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri gave music to it.
Subha Skhuh Chain ki Barsha Barse was adopted by the Provisional Free Government of India (Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind) led by Netaji as the Qaumi Tarana – National Anthem. “Subha Sukh Chain” was played as the national anthem of free India first time on 11 September 1942 at Hamburg, when on October 31, 1943, when the INA came to power, the orchestra led by Capt. Thakuri played the Qaumi Tarana, the Cathay Building did indeed reverberate thunderously.
The music of Capt. Thakuri’s ‘Qaumi Tarana’ became a base on which our current national anthem “Jana Gana Mana” is set. In 1944, Capt. Thakuri was decorated by Subhas Chandra Bose with a gold medal for his contribution. Capt. Thakuri also received a violin and a saxophone as personal gifts from Netaji.
Capt. Thakuri was especially invited to play the ‘Quami Tarana’ when Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru unfurled the Tiranga from Lal Quila on the 15th of August, 1947, he had used the violin presented to him by Netaji, who had told him, “you will play this violin when India gets her Independence”.
Sadly, after Independence, the brave INA Freedom Fighters were neglected by the then governments. Capt. Thakuri was appointed as a DSP with the Provincial Arms Constabulary (PAC) band of Uttar Pradesh Police, and he continued to serve our nation through his music till his last days.
PUSHPA KUMAR GHISING – DARJEELING
The Naval Uprising of 1946 is among the lesser-known moments of the Indian Freedom Movement, but perhaps it is the most significant. This is when the Indian Navy soldiers staged a revolt against the British in Karachi and Bombay. Inspired by the Indian National Army over 20000 mutineers joined the Freedom Fighters from Karachi to Calcutta, taking
over the 78 ships afloat and onshore establishment. This had inspired other servicemen in the army, air force and even the civilians to join the protests.
During the rebellion, navy personnel Puspa Kumar Ghising from Darjeeling fought with at least three British soldiers and managed to take control of the Bombay naval ammunition dump alone. The weapons from the ammunition dump were used by the rebelling Indian sailors to hold back the British for 5 days. However, on the fifth day, the leaders from the Indian National Congress had intervened and coaxed the sailors to lay down their arms. Ghising and his friends were arrested and taken to the Mulundi Jail where he was court-martialled but acquitted during the trail.
He resigned from the Navy on September 8, 1946, and plunged into the independence movement.
Even though the Naval Uprising has not been given due importance in the history books, unlike the other important incidents in the Freedom Movement, however, many contemporary historians attribute Naval Uprising as the pivotal movement that hastened the British decision to quit India.
In recognition of Ghisingh’s role in the Independence movement, the government
felicitated him with the Tamra Patra on August 15, 1989.
HELEN LEPCHA – SIKKIM AND KURSEONG
Helen Lepcha was born in 1902 in South Sikkim and is perhaps the only female freedom fighter from Sikkim. The family migrated to Kurseong in search of better education and livelihood prospects. During the floods of 1920 in Bihar, Helen Lepcha worked as a volunteer, providing tireless service to the victims, this brought her to the attention of Mahatma Gandhi, who later named her as Sabitri Devi in honour of her service to the people. Helen Lepcha worked with the coal workers from the coalfields in erstwhile Bihar and among the workers in United Provinces (Uttar Pradesh), strengthening the Freedom Movement and participated in the non-cooperation movement in 1921. She was arrested for “inciting the people against the government” and sent to jail for three months and a further house arrest later that year.
When Netaji was kept under house arrest in Giddhey Pahar in Kurseong from 1939-40, Helen Lepcha played a vital role in smuggling in and out coded messages, ultimately laying the foundation for Netaji’s escape later right under the nose of the British authorities from Calcutta to Germany.
In appreciation of the immense contributions during the freedom movement, the Government of India honoured her with a Tamra Patra the citation.
MAJOR DURGA MALLA – UTTARAKHAND
Born on 1st of July in 1913 at the Doiwala village in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand, Durga Malla joined the Gorkha Rifles in 1931 at the age of 18. In 1942, at the height of the 2nd World War, a group of Indian soldiers led by Durga Malla decided to breakaway and form the Indian National Army under Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. Durga Malla was one of the key figures responsible for the formation of the INA, as he was largely responsible for encouraging fellow Gorkha soldiers to quit the British and join the INA. Seeing his dedication towards the Freedom of India and his military talents, he was promoted to the rank of Major by Netaji, and posted in the intelligence branch of INA, where he performed exemplarily often taking risky missions that helped INA march forward.
It was during one such intelligence gathering missions that he was arrested on the 27th of March, 1944 near Urkhul in Manipur. He along with fellow INA prisoners were kept in a prison at the Red Fort as a prisoner of War. There, the British tried to persuade him to renounce INA and offered him that his life would be saved if he did so. But he flat out refused to bow before the British. When all tricks and coercions failed, the British brought his wife Smt. Sharda Devi to get him to denounce INA, but instead he told his wife, “Sharda, I am sacrificing my life for the freedom of my motherland. You need not be worried and distressed. Crores of Hindustanis will be with you after my death. The Sacrifice I am offering, shall not go in vain. India shall be free. I am confident, this is only a matter of time.”
On 25th August 1944, he was sent to the gallows.
Today, his statue adorns the premise of our Parliament, marking the contribution of Gorkha community towards our Independence.
SUBEDAR NIRANJAN SINGH CHHETRI – MANIPUR
Among the illustrious Gorkha community that has produced so many heroes for our nation, the honour of being the 1st Gorkhali to have martyred for our motherland goes to Subedar Niranjan Singh Chhetri ji, from Manipur.
When the great Manipuri hero Jubraj Tikendrajit Singh decided to resist the British incursions into Manipur, 39-year-old Niranjan Chhetri of Tikuamoh, who was an ex-army sipahi of the 34th native Infantry, joined the native force of Manipur led by Bir Tikendrajit and Thangal General. His past experience as a soldier and bravery was evident, and he was appointed as Subedar by Jubraj Tikendrajit himself.
Following the war, he was tried by the Chief Political Officer, Manipur Field Force and was hanged to death by the British on June 8th, 1891. His last words were, “My birthplace is my Motherland, I am ready to die for this land, and I am ready to kill for this land, but I am not ready to accept surrender and subjugation of my own land”.
For decades, his sacrifice had been relegated to the pages of history. However, under
Hon’ble Chief Minister N Biren Singh ji the history and legacy of this legendary Gorkha
Freedom Fighter is finally being brough to light. On March 7th, 2021, CM N Biren Singh ji unveiled the statue of Saheed Subedar Nirajan Singh Chhetri, he acknowledged the role played by Subedar Niranjan by writing, “Immensely glad to unveil the statue of Saheed Subedar Niranjan Singh Chhetri, one of the heroes of Ango-Manipur War, 1891. His bravery, patriotism & sacrificial spirit for the motherland were unparalleled. He was hanged to death by the British on June 8,1891 for his role in the war.”
Chhetri – the 1st Gorkha Freedom Martyr]
DALBIR SINGH LOHAR – ASSAM
Dalbir Singh Lohar from Assam joined the freedom movement in 1921 during Gandhi ji’s visit to Dibrugarh. He was a labour leader and one of the most prominent Freedom Fighters from Assam, who led the Civil Disobedience Movement in Dibrugarh from the front. He was imprisoned between 1930-31 for his participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement, along with other Gorkha freedom fighters from Assam like Bhakta Bahadur Pradhan, Anantalal Sharma.
In 1939, Assam saw the historic strike at the Asia’s oldest refinery and the birthplace of oil industry in India in Digboi, Assam. Dalbir Singh Lohar was one of the key leaders of the strike called by the non-unionised Digboi Oil Refinery workers. Citing tensions with Germany, the British crushed the Digboi strike with an iron hand sending down eight platoons of Asssam Rifles to crush it. All the prominent leaders like Dalbir Singh Lohar were issued Quit Digboi, Quit Lakhimpur, and finally Quit Assam within 72-hours’ notice by the British.
He was again arrested during the Quit India Movement called by Gandhi ji, and all the Gorkha freedom fighters like Bhakta Bahadur Pradhan, Anantalal Sharma and others and kept in separate jails. However, they soon became the symbols of working-class people’s resistance against the British government.
After Independence, Dalbir Singh Lohar went onto become the first MLA of Gorkha ethnicity to be elected from the Digboi Assembly, by winning the 1951 election with a landslide margin. He continued to serve the working-class people all through his life.
These are only a few, whose contributions I have highlighted today, there are hundreds of others who have played a significant role towards ensuring our Independence, but due to the paucity of space, accommodating them all is not possible.
As can be seen, the Gorkhas no matter which state they were born in, have played a significant role in our Freedom Struggles, and I am hopeful that as we celebrate the “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” more people across the nation will come to know about heroes like them.
*Raju Bista is the Member of Parliament from Darjeeling and National Spokesperson for BJP
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Court sends Waqf Board scam co-accused to 14 day judicial custody
A Delhi court on Monday remanded Kausar Imran Siddiqui alias Laddan, co-accused in Delhi Waqf board scam case, to 14 days custody.
AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan is the primary accused in the case and is out on bail. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has stated that Laddan is a fund manager for Khan. The Duty Sessions Judge at Rouse Avenue Court also expressed its displeasure over the non-presence of ACB on the previous date.
ACB had submitted to the court Ladan’s “handwriting sample” and sought 7 days of custody for him.
The court observed that the agency had not given any reasonable answer for its absence on previous occasion. Thereafter, he was sent to 14 day judicial custody.
AAP MLA was arrested for alleged irregularities in appointment in Delhi Waqf Board during his chairmanship.
Accused Kausar Imran Siddiqui alias Laddan was produced on a production warrant before the court on 27th September. He was interrogated and arrested with the permission of the court.
Laddan’s name came into the frame, when additional public prosecutor Anil Srivastava opposed Khan’s bail plea. He stated that a diary was recovered from Ladan’s house. It was alleged that he was Khan’s fund manager. Earlier, the (ACB) had said that money was sent to Dubai and other money transactions need to be investigated. It also stated that a large amount of money was transferred to a party via Dubai. There were 100 people who either received or paid money to Laddan. Out of these 37 people have transactions of crores of rupees.
This diary also has an entry about one Zeeshan Haider, who received crores of rupees. He is also a close associate of the accused, ACB had argued. The ACB has also submitted that Laddan is a nominated functionary of a political party. He has photographs with the accused during an iftar party. Additionally, 14 crores sale deed is recovered, which is said to be a ‘Benami property’.
Previously, Ladan was in judicial custody in another case lodged at Jamia Nagar police station. He was arrested from Telangana.
Sonia arrives in Mysuru to join ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’
All India Congress Interim president Sonia Gandhi is set to be a part of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ as she arrived in Mysuru on Monday.
Sources have said that Gandhi will stay at a resort in the Kodagu district for two days, before joining the Yatra on 6th October, which is currently in it’s Karnataka leg.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadhra will take part in the event, the next day, according to the Karnataka Congress.
This will be the first time that all the members of the Gandhi family will be present in the Yatra that began on 7th September from Kanyakumari and has covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala and will finish up 511 kilometres of the area in 21 days.
The march was aimed at covering as many as 12 states in five months. It recently reached Karnataka on Friday (30th September) and will be here for the next 21 days before moving north. A distance of 25 km is covered every day in the Padyatra (march).
According to the Congress, the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is being held to combat the divisive policies of the BJP-led central government and to make people aware of the dangers of economic inequality, social polarisation, and political centralisation. It includes marches, rallies, and public meetings.
The Congress suffered a debacle in the assembly polls held earlier this year, and the Yatra is seen as an attempt to increase the party’s outreach to the public and prepare it for the upcoming polls.
Diary entry by young Modi reveal the origins of ‘Sabka Saath, sabka vikas’
The inspiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ came from a quote by Mahatma Gandhi which he penned in his diary in 1980’s, a diary entry from the Modi Archive revealed.
The Modi archive, a platform that tracks the prime minister’s life, his early days and journey, features his handwritten notes and his mind on a range of issues. The entries by a young Modi show that Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals had left an impact on his life, since he was young. The same is also reflected in the Centre’s welfare schemes.
The country celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s 153rd birth anniversary on Sunday.
“I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number. It is to sacrifice the good of forty-nine per cent to achieve the supposed good of fifty-one per cent. It is a heartless doctrine and has done harm to humanity. “The only real, dignified human doctrine is the greatest good of all,” wrote young Modi in a note.
The Modi Archive’s twitter handle shared moments when he visited Gandhi’s birthplace, Porbandar, and sought his blessings, just days before he was sworn in as Gujarat’s Chief Minister in 2001.
“At Porbandar, the place where #MahatmaGandhi was born, Modi looks at a portrait of the Mahatma. “After a few days, Modi was sworn in as Gujarat’s Chief Minister and has been in public office for 21 years since,” said the tweet by Modi Archive.
PM Modi replied to the tweet by sharing the lessons of water conservation which his hometown teaches and provided the link for the same.
Modi’s ability to turn schemes into mass movements like the Swach Bharat Abhiyan also finds its roots in Gandhi who turned the fight with Britishers into a mass movement through “Jan Bhagidari’.
Speaking at a media conclave in 2007, Modi, who was the then Chief Minister of Gujarat said, “As far as the development of concerned, it is my opinion that the way every citizen came together during the time of independence, numerous people sacrificed and tried to make the country free, and hundreds of people were spending captured in the jails of Andaman and Nicobar, but the biggest contribution of Mahatma Gandhi was that he converted freedom into a mass movement.”
Earlier on Sunday PM Modi, along with Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri at the parliament house.
He, along with Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar also attended a prayer meet organised at Gandhi Smriti on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
Paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his 153rd birth anniversary, PM Modi tweeted, “This Gandhi Jayanti is, even more, special because India marks Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. I also encourage you to buy Khadi and handicrafts as a tribute to Gandhi Ji.”
MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar to visit Gujarat tomorrow
The Union Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Rajeev Chandrasekhar will be visiting Gujarat from tomorrow on a two-day official visit.
The Minister will be interacting with students, startups and entrepreneurs as part of the Government’s focus on young Indians and to provide them an enabling environment for their careers ahead. ‘New India for Young India : Techade of Opportunities’, is the theme of these interactions.
Visits to four universities — C S University in Surendranagar and Saurashtra University, R K University and Marwadi University in Rajkot are part of his itinerary.
Chandrasekhar’s first stop is at C U University, Surendranagar tomorrow where he will meet startups and students. The Minister of State for AYUSH, Dr. Mahendra Munjapara who is also the local Member of Parliament, will be present at the programme as a special guest.
Then Chandrasekhar would be traveling to Rajkot, where he will be meeting thought leaders, members of the academia, trade and industry at R K University. The next day, the Minister will be visiting Saurashtra and Marwadi Universities and hold interactions with students, startups, innovators and academia.
The Minister will also be meeting CII industry leaders and representatives at Rajkot.
Chandrasekhar who himself has been a technocrat, successful entrepreneur – who built India’s first and largest wireless cellular network, has been holding such engaging sessions with students and startups across the country, to encourage them to acquire skills in emerging technologies. He has maintained that “Innovation is the mantra for going forward. Our startups, innovators & entrepreneurs will drive the Indian Economy towards $5 Trillion & Digital Economy towards $ 1 Trillion.”
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh says, the Indian Geospatial Economy is expected to cross Rs 63,100 crore by 2025 at a growth rate of 12.8%
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Science and Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Earth Science; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Space and Atomic Energy, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that India’s geospatial economy is expected to cross Rs 63,100 crore by 2025 at a growth rate of 12.8%. He said, geospatial technology has become one of the key enablers in socio-economic development by enhancing productivity, ensuring sustainable infrastructure planning, effective administration, and aiding the farm sector.
The Minister said, the Modi government is consistently playing an enabler’s role in expanding the scope of geospatial applications in multiple spheres to benefit every section of the society in India.
Briefing the media about the upcoming Second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) scheduled in Hyderabad from October 10-14, 2022, Dr Singh said, the Second UNWGIC assumes significance as it is in sync with the Digital India initiative of the Government of India to empower society digitally. He added that the government’s plan envisages the facilitation of location-based/GIS-based decision-making for planning, e-Governance, and better utilization of resources available.
The conference will be attended by over 2000 delegates including 700 plus international delegates & participants from about 120 countries. Moreover, National Mapping Agencies (NMAs) like the Survey of India, which has a glorious history of 255 years, senior officials, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry, user, & private sector from across the globe will take part in the Geospatial Congress.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, in the last eight years, India has been striving toward developing fundamental and essential infrastructure and facilities for citizens. He said, under the New India Vision of Prime Minister Modi, the government addresses core issues like water, health, education, sanitation, housing, and infrastructure for all. Leveraging the power of geospatial information and technologies will help the country address its multi-dimensional financial growth goals and sustainable development faster, the Minister added.
Dr Jitendra Singh emphasised that Geospatial technology and Geographic Information System (GIS) is going to make a significant impact in the way India has been adopting this technology and moving ahead. He said, the world is looking at India as to how it is using technology to tackle some of the major humanitarian and sustainability problems.
Highlighting the role and scope of geospatial, Dr Jitendra Singh said, “Accurate, real-time geospatial information combined with other data, like demography, healthcare facilities, and vaccination centres, has immensely helped us to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic emergency effectively.” He added that the government has been digitizing and mapping the entire rural sector to ensure better planning and implementation of the developmental schemes.
The Minister pointed out that the Rural Development Ministry has mapped over 45 lakh km of rural roads by using 21 data layers of the map, which has digitized information regarding water bodies, green areas, plots, and other structures essential for administrative purposes. He said nearly 2.6 lakh gram panchayat had been covered by the ministry under the scheme of mapping and digitization.
Dwelling on the policy reforms aspects, Dr Jitendra Singh said, recognizing the critical role of national geospatial and mapping agencies, the commercial sector, and user industries, India is developing a conducive environment and synergies for public-private partnerships through various policy reforms. He said, the Guidelines for Geospatial Data, the Drone Rules 2021, and the Draft Policies (Geospatial, Remote Sensing, and Satellite Navigation) will liberalize, democratize, and commercialize the use of geospatial data and information for planning and monitoring requirements within the country.
In his statement, Secretary, DST, Shri S. Chandrasekhar said, the Government of India is committed to advancing the critical role of integrated geospatial information management in implementing national and global development objectives for a shared future and a more inclusive world. He said, India is steadfast in working together to strengthen geospatial infrastructure at local, national, regional, and global levels and harness the potential of geospatial knowledge services by developing innovative, effective, and scalable solutions to address sustainable development goals (SDGs).
About the Second UNWGIC
Convened by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), the Second UNWGIC 2022 will be organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations and hosted by the Department of Science & Technology – Ministry of Science and Technology, Government
‘If you want a change, choose me’ : Tharoor on Congress president poll
In the upcoming presidential election of the grand old party, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor reiterated on Saturday that his contest against senior party member Mallikarjun Kharge “is not a battle.” Following days of turmoil surrounding the intra-party troubles in Rajasthan, Tharoor and Kharge finally submitted their nominations for the crucial elections, which are set for October 17, on Friday.
“This is not a war. We can belong to different schools of thoughts. Let the members decide,” Tharoor told news agency ANI in an interview on Saturday. “All I am telling the members is that if you’re satisfied with the functioning of the party, please vote for Kharge Sahab. But if you want a change, choose me.. If you want the party to function differently.”
His remarks came as news spread that the Gandhis were endorsing the 80-year-old Kharge for the top party position. On Saturday, Kharge announced his resignation as the opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, a day after more than 30 leaders surprised many by end-of-nomination support for his candidacy. In contrast, Tharoor was not accompanied by as many senior leaders.
“But there is no ideological problem here. Whatever the message has so far of the Congress will continue to remain,” Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday, dismissing any differences.
Even though the Gandhis made it clear that they would no longer be running for president post, their management has continued to draw criticism. Regarding the family’s importance for the party in light of the BJP’s dynastic politics allegations.
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