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Remembering Bhagat Singh


Guest Punjabi Nationalist
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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

Letter sent to DAWN, 21st December, 2003.

____________________________________________

Remembering Bhagat Singh

http://www.dawn.com/2003/12/21/letted.htm#6

This refers to the article "The chit from Ward 14" (Dec 13).

It was great to read a piece remembering the great Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh Shaheed. However, I am also forced to wonder simultaneously why one has to peer at the 'corner second-storey window' of the Government College's New Hostel to do the needful.

Most of the details mentioned by the writer about Bhagat Singh happen to be correct. But this is not all there is to this great revolutionary and, in not mentioning some very important details about Bhagat, the writer is directly in keeping with the attitude of our government regarding what is 'official' history.

For Bhagat was a communist revolutionary above all else; and to be a communist in India of the British Raj in the 1920s and 1930s was to brave a lot of danger. He also happened to be the founder of the pioneering attempt at a secular, anti-nationalist, anti-imperialist front against the British (it was Bhagat Singh who gave us the passionate anti-imperialist slogan "Inqalab Zindabad" which was inclusive of all Indians whether Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians - an agenda which was not shared by the communal politics of Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah.

It is thus a blot on the leaders of pre-partition India that they could not save Bhagat from the gallows of the British empire, and throughout his life they looked at him with an attitude that can best be described as disgusting chauvinism.

But where the leaders of the pre-Partition India left off, the leaders of the modern technicolour Bollywood have picked up. For while he is ignored and disowned in post-colonial Pakistan, in neighbouring India we are witnessing the rehashing of Bhagat Singh as some kind of a post-modern poster-boy for the 'new' India in contravention of the principles Bhagat stood for. They understate the fact that he was a communist.

This shows that modern India is now suffering from an identity crisis in the wake of the saffronization of Indian society following the ascendancy of the BJP, so much so that they are repainting everyone in distorted fashion to suit the tastes of the international film market.

Perhaps our Punjabi nationalist lobby which takes so much pride in holding World Punjabi Conferences every year would do well to put away their nationalist pens for a while and seek to rescue this 'son of the soil' too from wanton commercialization and distortion.

No memorial exists today to mark the spot where Bhagat Singh was so heinously executed. There used to be a memorial to Bhagat on the Wagah border, which was destroyed in the 1965 horrible war between Pakistan and India - itself a horrible example of the catastrophe Bhagat sought to prevent - and never rebuilt by any succeeding Indian or Pakistani government.

Today the only ones to celebrate and remember the legacy of Bhagat in Pakistan are the tiny Communist Party of Pakistan, who hold an annual 'Bhagat Singh Day' to commemorate the day of his execution, not without justification; and some Punjabi nationalist outfits for their own chauvinistic reasons. This reflects a sad failure on the part of our government and people who have allowed the historical memory of this great revolutionary to languish in apathy.

RAZA NAEEM

Lahore

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Bhagat Singh Shaheed was great Indian revolutionary and there is no doubt about it. He was unknown for his contribution because congress became dominating party and ruling party after his sacrifice and Bhagat Singh never supported congress idea of getting freedom.

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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

Bhagat Singh Shaheed was great Indian revolutionary and there is no doubt about it. He was unknown for his contribution because congress became dominating party and ruling party after his sacrifice and Bhagat Singh never supported congress idea of getting freedom.

The Indians have a habit of re-writting history to suit their inferiority complexes and political agendas.

I agree with everything that was written in the letter.

If the Punjabis living in India will not "rescue this son of the soil" (Bhagat Singh) from saffronization and historical distortion by the Indian government and media, then the Pakistani Punjabis should!

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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

Bhagat Singh was not even full Sikh, his mother was marathi. I've also read stories that he also didn't believe in God. But yeah, he was a great freedom fighter. :wink:

I've never heard of Bhagat Singh being half Marathi.

As for his religious beliefs, he was an atheist.

You can read more about Bhagat Singh here:

http://www.punjabilok.com/misc/freedom/bhsingh_index.htm

sh_bhagat.jpg

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Guest Punjabi Nationalist

PN I think he became Sikh then after.....:)

I read something like that, but not too sure it was true.

The picture i posted above has been altered on some Sikh sites to make Bhagat Singh look like he was an amritdhari Sikh. (A beard has been drawn on the photo).

There is no justification for altering any part of history, like some people on certain Sikh sites have done to the above photograph.

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