Raj Bahadur Yadav
Ifelt a sense of great pride when I learnt that the people of Pakistan respect our martyr Bhagat Singh as much as we do and have raised the demand to declare him a national martyr. On the 88th martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, they paid rich tributes to them and took out a candle march in their honour at Shadman Chowk — it is here that our heroes kissed the gallows in Central Jail on March 23, 1931, shaking the foundation of the British Raj — in Lahore. This, despite the tension between the two nations. A petition has been moved in the court to rename Shadman Chowk after Bhagat Singh.
In Fatehabad, the same day, citizens paid floral tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades in the Papiha Public Park. A banner saying ‘Ek shaam, shaheedon ke naam’ was hanging from the branches of two parallel trees.
We were sitting near a thick grove of bakain trees. The leaf-laden branches were moving mirthfully in the mild wind. Tulips, marigold and bougainvillea were in bloom. The entire nature seemed generous and receptive to a modest ‘goshthi’ being held in Bhagat Singh’s memory. All speakers were unanimous in their opinion that his biggest asset as a public figure was his selfless temperament. He didn’t have time to think about himself, spending every minute of his life in the motherland’s service. He was a voracious reader, having read more than 450 books in his short life span. When he was informed about the time of his hanging, he was reading the biography of Lenin, the most popular leader of the Great October Revolution in Russia in 1917. He had folded the page he could not complete.
In his popular book ‘Sansmrityan’, Shiv Verma — a revolutionary — says, ‘I saw Bhagat Singh sometimes in soiled clothes also, but even then, in his pockets, he always carried books.’ He was capable of thinking, planning and imagining the future of a new India once the struggle for freedom was over. He wished the light of freedom, social justice and equality would reach every hamlet and village of the country.
Some youths staged a play on the present lifestyle of our politicians, marked by doublespeak and dichotomy. They leave no stone unturned to trap the gullible masses with their endless false promises to win the elections. They poorly compare with Bhagat Singh and his comrades in theory and practice.
At the end of the programme, people raised slogans of ‘Bhagat Singh amar rahen’. Darkness had started descending. Birds were returning to the trees with a mild chirp and flutter of their delicate wings, announcing their deep respect for our martyrs who laid down their precious lives for liberating our country from the yoke of British imperialism. We salute them.