Television

DD to telecast a rare tale of Indian compassion for Europeans during World War II

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NEW DELHI: ‘A Little Poland in India’ a poignant story of around one thousand orphaned children from Poland who found a sanctuary in India at the height of Nazi German Dictator Hitler’s atrocities in Poland, is to be telecast by Doordarshan later this week in Hindi.

The film, which was telecast in English in November last year, will now be aired in Hindi on 4 June, 9.30 am onwards on DD National.

The hour-long documentary is the true and captivating story of the then Jam Saheb (Ruler) Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja of Nawanagar, nephew of famous Indian cricketer Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of the Jadeja clan,a princely state in the Kathiawar Peninsula, off the land of Gujarat. It is the heart-warming story of an enriched historical bond between India and Poland. It is a story that represents people-to people contact in its most humane form, beyond borders and across continents.

During World War II, about 1000 Polish children from war-torn, occupied Poland and Soviet prison camps in Stalin’s Siberia, travelled all the way to India, where Jam Saheb took personal risks to make arrangements at a time when the world was at war and India was struggling for its Independence. He built a camp for them in a place called Balachadi beside his summer palace, 25 km from his capital city Jamnagar, and made them feel at home.

This is the first film that has been co-produced between the governments of India and Poland under the Audio-Visual agreement between both countries. The co-producers are Doordarshan and the Gujarat Government in India, and the National Audiovisual Institute and TVP (Telewizja Polska) in Poland.

Directed by Anuradha and Sumit Osmand Shaw with research by Anuradha herself, the film took the help of historian Andrzej Krzysztof Kunert, secretary general of the council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites. The research coordinators were Kresy-Siberia Foundation and a Balachadi survivor Wieslaw Stypula.  

The film contains interviews with several survivors, including two children who met in Balachadi but married 78 years later in Poland.

The venture was supported by the Embassy of India in Warsaw, the Embassy of Poland in India, and the Polish Institute, New Delhi.

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