Monday, 8 October 2007

memorendum Regarding places of freedom struggle in Pakistan

Professor Chaman Lal Dated:-8th June 2007
Centre of Indian Languages (SLL&CS)
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi -110067 (INDIA)

Honorable President of India
Rashtarpati Niwas New Delhi
Subject: Regarding places of freedom struggle in Pakistan.
Respected Sir,
I had been to Lahore and some surrounding areas in this April, in connection with an international seminar on Dr. B.R.Ambedkar. Since I am keenly involved with the study of national freedom movement, particularly about the role of Bhagat Singh, I was keen to visit places related to our great national martyr. After visiting some of the places like Bradlaugh Hall, the headquarter of freedom movement in pre-partition Punjab, Phansighat a part of Central Jail Lahore, which now had been demolished and Shadman square come up at the place. This was the place where apart from Bhagat Singh; nearly hundred patriots like Gadar party hero Kartar Singh Sarabha had been executed. I also visited the house in Chak no. 105. Bange in Lyallpur, now called Faislabad district, where Bhagat Singh was born. Some photographs of these places I am attaching along with the details of my visit.
In the background of above, I make an earnest request to you and Government of India to approach Government of Pakistan to declare some of these places as national monuments of Pakistan, as the freedom struggle against British colonialism, prior to partition, had been fought jointly by the patriotic people, now divided into three different countries. I wish to draw particular attention towards:
1. Phansighat of erstwhile Central jail Lahore—after the demolition of jail, this area had been developed into Shadman Colony and Shadman square in the colony was the exact location of Phansighat. Many Indian and Pakistani civilians together hold memorial meetings at this location on 23rd March every year to pay respects to the memory of the martyrs. Many members of Indian Parliament have also participated in these programs along with Kuldip Nayar and Rajinder Sachar like people. F. E. Chaudhary, 98 year first photo journalist of Pakistan, who was allowed to photograph the phansighat and other parts of jail, prior to demolition, is still alive with the file of photographs. Government of India should approach Government of Pakistan to erect a suitable memorial at this location in memory of patriots of anti colonial freedom struggle against British colonialism, which include many Muslims belonging to the present geographical area of Pakistan as well. Pakistani people and society in general also wishes to have such memorial and many times some groups of Lahore have raised this demand from their Government. It would be in the fitness of the things, if in the centenary year of Bhagat Singh’s birth, Indian and Pakistani Government could agree to erect such memorial at Shadman chowk or phansighat,, which would have support of Pakistani people as well.
2. . The same way, memorial or at least a plaque should be put up at the house in Chak no. 105, Bange in Faislabad district. In fact people of Pakistan, on their own have put up a signboard with Bhagat Singh’s picture on the main road leading to his village. Some good smirtan has even put up Bhagat Singh town as mark of respect for the martyr. I was told that lot of Indians used to visit the place prior to 1965, before the deterioration of state relations between two countries. Now also lot many people wish to visit, particularly among Sikh pilgrimage going to Nankana sahib, as the place is not very far from Nankana Sahib. This village should also be got included in the list of places allowed to be visited by Sikh pilgrimage visa holders.
3. Bradlaugh all is in dilapidated condition, though the old grandeur of building can be observed. It still has the plaque of foundation stone being laid by eminent nationalist Surender Nath Sen in 1900. This hall needs to be protected as monument or even as heritage building. This would be in fitness of the things to approach Pakistan Government with the due respect to state sovereignty to take care of this historic building, which had National College in its vicinity from 1922 to 1926, where Bhagat singh was a student and which was established by Lala Lajpat Rai. In fact Bhagat singh and his group also used this building as semi-office for their activities.
4. There are other buildings like Dwarka Dass Library, located in Lajpat Rai Bhavan, which now house Police fingerprint bureau or S.S.P office road, in front of which Saundras was killed by Bhagat singh. A request should be made to Government of Pakistan to at least put plaques for information at those locations. During 150th year celebration of first war of independence, which is being celebrated in Pakistan as well, birth centenary year of Bhagat singh, which many non-Govt. organizations are celebrating in Pakistan as too, it would be better if India and Pakistan could come closer, both at Governmental and non-Governmental level, to share the common cultural heritage of thousands of years, through having common approach towards anti colonial freedom struggle against British colonialism.
I hope and wish that due attention would be paid to the issues raised in this letter and all necessary steps would be taken to get some of the buildings protected with historic sign marks.
With true regards
Chaman Lal
(Editor-Complete Documents of Bhagat singh)

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