This is a story about a group of close to 1,000 Polish children who departed for India in 1942 from Siberia. In the madness of World War 2, they were orphaned and had been shifted after the Soviet invasion of Poland. These children after facing problems on landing in India during their entry to the country were welcomed by their benefactor, Maharaja Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja of Nawanagar or ‘Jam Sahib’ as he was affectionately called by everyone.
The Maharaja was a member of the Imperial War Council and he established a camp for the children in Balachadi which was about 25 km from the capital city Jamnagar, for the Polish arrivals.
Poland has shown its gratitude to the Maharaja in various forms. Warsaw has a “Good Maharaja Square” named after the Maharaja. Poland also named a school after the Maharaja, who was passionate about children’s education. The Maharajah was awarded the President’s Medal, Poland’s highest honor.
Jam Sahab’s help is legendary by today’s considerations because while the world was at war during WW II, India was also fighting its own battle for independence. It was also facing a severe famine and drought which had ravaged the nation.
The camp thus established actually existed until 1946 after which the children were transferred to Kolhapur.