Lal Bihari’s mysterious case for proving himself alive
Lal Bihari Mritak, also known as Lal Bihari “The Dead Man”, was an Indian farmer and social activist who gained fame for his unique and tenacious struggle against administrative apathy and corruption. He was born in 1955 in Amilo village, Uttar Pradesh, India. His story is a testament to the power of determination and the fight for justice.
Lal Bihari Mritak was declared dead on official government records due to a land dispute in 1976. His uncle had bribed officials to have him declared legally dead in order to fraudulently acquire his land. This wrongful declaration of death led to Lal Bihari’s legal and social death, as he was denied access to various rights and services that living individuals are entitled to.
Faced with this absurd situation, Lal Bihari Mritak founded the “Mritak Sangh” (Association of the Dead) in 1989, which brought together other individuals who had faced similar issues of being wrongfully declared dead on official documents. He used unconventional methods to draw attention to his plight, including staging his own funeral and contesting elections against candidates who had declared him dead.
His activism and unique protests garnered national and international attention, eventually leading to his legal resurrection in 1994 after a long and arduous legal battle. His story sheds light on the flaws within India’s bureaucracy and judicial system, and his efforts helped bring attention to the need for reform.
Lal Bihari Mritak’s life and struggle were documented in a book titled “Mritak Hone Tak” (Until Death Do Us Part), which he co-authored with journalist Satyendra Tripathi. The book detailed his journey of fighting against the system that had wrongly declared him dead.
Lal Bihari Mritak’s legacy lives on as an inspiring example of individual resilience and the power of grassroots activism in the face of adversity. His story has inspired many people to stand up against injustice and bureaucratic corruption.
Did he get Justice ?
Yes, Lal Bihari eventually achieved justice after a long and arduous struggle. Despite being declared dead on official records, he continued to fight to prove his existence and reclaim his land. His story gained national and international attention, and his efforts led to significant changes in the bureaucratic and legal systems of India.
Lal Bihari founded the “Mritak Sangh” (Association of the Dead) as a platform for people who were wrongly declared dead. His activism and advocacy efforts brought attention to the issue of land grabbing and corruption. He used creative and unique methods to draw attention to his case, including contesting elections against living candidates, holding his own funeral, and publicly highlighting the absurdity of his situation.
In 1994, after more than a decade of struggle, Lal Bihari’s efforts bore fruit. He was officially declared alive, and his property was returned to him. His story not only served as an example of perseverance against all odds but also highlighted the flaws in the bureaucratic and legal systems that allowed such injustices to occur.
Lal Bihari’s story became an inspiration for many and brought about awareness of the need for reform in India’s administrative and legal processes. It also led to the establishment of mechanisms to prevent similar cases of wrongful declarations of death in the future.
Kaagaz: Real Story Fiction
“Kaagaz” is a 2021 Indian biographical drama film directed by Satish Kaushik. The film is inspired by the real-life story of a man named Lal Bihari Mritak, who fought against a case of mistaken identity that declared him dead on official documents. The title “Kaagaz” translates to “paper” in English, which symbolizes the bureaucratic and legal struggle that the protagonist faces to prove his existence.
In the film, Pankaj Tripathi portrays the character of Bharat Lal (based on Lal Bihari Mritak), a farmer from a rural village in Uttar Pradesh, India. After being declared dead on paper due to a fraudulent land grab scheme, Bharat Lal finds himself in a Kafkaesque situation where he must navigate the complex legal and administrative system to reclaim his identity and prove that he is alive.
The movie delves into the absurdity of bureaucracy and corruption in India, highlighting the struggles faced by ordinary people when trapped in the clutches of a flawed system. It also sheds light on the power dynamics, the red tape, and the lengths one has to go to seek justice and recognition.
“Kaagaz” blends elements of drama and satire, offering a thought-provoking commentary on the challenges faced by individuals marginalized by societal norms and legal systems. It’s a heartwarming tale of resilience, determination, and the human spirit’s ability to triumph over adversity.
While the film is based on real events, it incorporates fictional elements and creative liberties to enhance its storytelling. This is a common approach taken by filmmakers when adapting true stories for the big screen. The film’s purpose is not merely to present facts but to evoke emotions, raise awareness, and entertain the audience.