Friday, 12 December 2014

My 18 books on Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries and 96 lectures delivered on Bhagat Singh world over

Medha Books Delhi have just come out with paperback edition of my 2009 published hard bound book in Hindi-'Bhagat Singh', which was released by late Prof. G S Bhalla in JNU, New Delhi on 23rd March 2009. Title page and contents of the book are given here and so are the titles and list of other books with details.


This is my latest publication of Documents of Bhagat Singh in Urdu. In 2007, during birth centenary year of Bhagat Singh, Govt. of India for the first time published complete writings of Bhagat Singh, available by then in Hindi. The book was released by Kuldip Nayar in presence of two nephew of Bhagat Singh-Kiranjit Singh Sandhu and Abhey Singh Sandhu. Then it included 100 documents of Bhagat Singh. However after Supreme Court of India's exhibition-The Trial of Bhagat Singh in year 2008, this editor was provided a digital copy of that exhibition, which had a surprise. It included ten new completely unknown letters of Bhagat Singh with British judicial and administrative authorities. For the first time The Hindu published these letters in its issue of 15th August 2011. These letters also brought to light the third unknown hunger strike of Bhagat Singh in jail for three weeks or so. With the addition of these documents now in Urdu version, it has become the most comprehensive collection of Bhagat Singh's writings. Interestingly the first available document of Bhagat Singh is in Urdu- a letter to his grandfather Arjan Singh, displayed on the back cover of this book. This book is particularly important for admirers of Bhagat Singh in Pakistan, who consider Bhagat Singh to be their son and martyr. In any case he is common legacy of both countries and along with Tipu Sultan, a common cultural bridge also between two nations and its peoples! Prior to this publication-Bhagat Singh ke Syasi Dastavez was also published in Urdu by National Book Trust of India, New Delhi, which included his selected fifty documents in Urdu.
           With this publication of available complete documents of Bhagat Singh in Urdu, three languages have now got Bhagat Singh's writings in full or near full, whereas Punjabi, English, Telugu and Bengali have partial publication of documents. Wish and hope that all Indian languages get Bhagat Singh's writings published in full, as of Mahatma Gandhi,  Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Bose and Dr. Ambedkar-the most popular icons of Indian freedom struggle!

Complete list of my books on Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries, whose titles are given here:

This is the title of my new book on Bhagat Singh and Indian revolutionaries, available in World Book Fair at Samvad Prakashan small stall. Some friends have been asking for my books on Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries and how and where these could be got. I have posted the list earlier also, shall repeat now with publishers names. Many of these may be found in World Book Fair itself, some may be available through Flipkart/Amazon like on line purchase, some publishers have direct online sal also.The list is:
On Bhagat Singh & other revolutionaries
1. Bhagat Singh Aur Unke Sathiyon Ke Dastavej (Co- edited) (Hindi) 1986/87, Rajkamal Prakashan New Delhi(Online)
( Preface by Shiv Verma, close associate of Bhagat Singh )
2. Bhagat Singh Ke Sampooran Dastavej (Edited) (Hindi) 2004 ,Aadhar Prakashan Panchkula(Online)
( Preface by Bhagat Singh’s younger brother Kultar Singh)
3. Bhagat Singh ke Rajnitik Dastavez (Edited), National Book Trust, New Delhi (Hindi) 2007(Online)
4. Shaheed Bhagat Singh: Dastavezon ke Aiane Mein (Edited) (Hindi) 2007(Online)
(Published by Govt. of India Publication Division, Lodhi Road, New Delhi)
5 Jail Note book and Other Writings-Bhagat Singh (Compiled and Introduction) (English) 2007, LeftWord Publications, New Delhi(Online)
6. Bhagat Singh:Vicharvan Inqlabi, (Punjabi), Navyug Press, New Delhi, 2009
7. Bhagat Singh, Medha publications Delhi, 2009 (World Book Fair) paperback ed.-2015
8.. Bhagat Singh:Sampuran Vangmay(Edited) (Marathi ) 2007, Diamond Publications, Mumbai
(Preface by Justice P.B. Sawant, retired Supreme Court Judge)
9. Ghadar Party Nayak-Kartar Singh Sarabha (Hindi) 2007, National Book Trust, New Delhi(Online-World Book fair)
10. Ghadar party Naik Kartar Singh Sarabha (Punjabi), NBT, New Delhi, 2008-same
11. Ghadar Party Hero: Kartar Singh Sarabha (English), NBT, New Delhi, 2011-same
12. Inqlabi Itihas De Sunehari Panne (History) (Punjabi) 2005, Tarak Bharti Prakashan Barnala
13.’Krantiveer Bhagat Singh:Abhyuodey aur Bhavishya’ (Edited), Lokbharti Allahabad,New Delhi 2012(Online from Rajhkamal, New Delhi-World Book Fair)
14. Understanding Bhagat Singh( English) , Aakar Books, Delhi, 2013(online-World Book Fair)
15. Bhagat Singh ke Durlabh Dastavez aur Kranti ka Barahmasa, Samvad Prakashan Merrut, 2014-(World Book Fair)
16.Bhagat Singh de Syasi Dastavez(ed.)-Punjabi,NBT,New Delhi-online-world book fair
17.Bhagat singh ke Syasi Dastavez(ed.)_Urdu, NBT,New Delhi-online-World book fair,new delhi till 23rd February
18. Shahid Bhagat Singh:Dastavezon ke Aaine Men(Urdu), Publication Division, Govt. Of India, New Delhi, 2014

            List of lectures delivered by me on Bhagat Singh
          Special lectures/interviews on Bhagat Singh delivered by Prof. Chaman Lal during 2006-15, all over the country and abroad.

Delivered more than fifty special lectures on Bhagat Singh,during 2006-11, all over the country and abroad:
1.     28th September,2006( Beginning of birth centenary), Aarah(Bihar)
2.    29th September, 2006                    Patna
3.    23rd October 2006                         Rohtak(Haryana)
4.    7th November 2006                        Indore(M.P)
5.    8th November                                   -do-
6.    23rd December 2006                      Ranchi(Jharkhand)
 7.   24th December                                  Ranchi University
 8.   10 February, 2007                          Mumbai
 9.   11 February                                       -do-
 10.  18th February,2007                      Kashi Vidyapeeth,Benaras
 11.   19th February                                   BHU, Varanasi
 12.   24 February,2007                       Thanjavur(Tamilnadu)
 13.   23rd March,2007(Martyrdom day)Bhagat Singh College, New Delhi
 14.   23rd March                                 IIC ,New Delhi(NBT Book Release function)
 15.   29th March, 2007, Valedictory address at national seminar on Bhagat Singh at Mumbai University, Mumbai
16 14th April, 2007,      South Asia Centre  Lahore
 16.   11th August, 2007              Shaheed smark and research centre, Lucknow
 17.   7th September, 2007                Merchant Chamber Hall, Kanpur
 18.   25th September, 2007        Presentation at GNDU, Amritsar
 19.   26th September, 2007     Presentation at Punjabi Univerity,Patiala
 20.   28th September, 2007 Presented paper at ICHR Bhagat Singh seminar at
 21.    29th September, 2007   chaired one session at P.U. Chandigarh seminar.
 22.     4th October, 2007       Delivered lecture at Sree Krishan Hall Patna.
 23.    22 October, 2007   Presented paper in Punjabi University, Patiala
 24.    17 November, 2007 Delivered lecture at T.D.College Jaunpur(U.P)
 25. 30th December, 2007 Delivered lecture at Hindi Sahitya Sammelan,Bhopal
 26. 17th February, 2008 Delivered lecture at Night College, Ichhal Karanji (Maharashtara)
 27. 18th February, 2008 Delivered presidential address at Undale (Karad) in Maharashtra in freedom fighters meet
 28. 21st February, 2008, Paper presented on ‘The Idea of Freedom in Bhagat Singh’s Writings’ at national seminar in P.U. Chandigarh.
 29.  23rd March, 2008, Delivered book release address to police recruits at Paash Library, Karnal (Haryana)
 30.  26th March, 2008, delivered keynote address at a national seminar on Bhagat Singh at Pune University, organized by Dr. Ambedkar Chair
31. 15th April, 2008, Organized discussion on ‘1857&Bhagat Singh in context of Indian freedom struggle’ at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi
32. 28th September, 2008, Delivered lecture as special guest at Bhagat Singh centenary day at Gohana (Haryana)
33. 28th September, 2008, One hour long interview on Bhagat Singh broadcasted by Radio Punjabi Canada
34. 18th October, 2008, Presidential remarks in seminar on Bhagat Singh in Khalsa College for Women, Amritsar (Punjab)
35. 24th October, 2008, presented paper on “Two epics on National hero Bhagat Singh’, in International Workshop on Vietnamese Epic held at Buon Ma Thout city of Vietnam
36.3rd March, 2009, Delivered special lecture on ‘Bhagat Singh:The Hero of the Youth’, at University of Mauritius.
37.23rd March, 2009, delivered lecture in a seminar of ‘Contestations of Bhagat Singh’ at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
38.24th March, 2009, Two hour long interview and audience interaction by Punjabi Radio Edmonton (Canada)
39. 12 December, 2009, delivered lecture at book release on Bhagat Singh at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi
40.29th March, 2010, presentation ‘Inqlab zindabad:Remembering Bhagat Singh’ at Indian Institute of advanced Study Shimla
41. 16th June, 2010, Lecture ‘On Relevance of Bhagat Singh for Youth’, Devria(U.P.)
42.26th September, 2010, Interview on Bhagat Singh birth day on Zee Punjabi television
43. 20th March, 2011, Lecture on Bhagat Singh at Gurdwara Tuna Puna                 
44. 7th April, 2011, Lecture ‘Remembering Bhagat Singh’ at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus, Trinidad & Tobago.
45. 13th May, 2011, Lecture Bhagat Singh for Today at Edmonton (Canada)
46. 15th May, 2011, Lecture Bhagat Singh and Dalits, Chetna forum, Vancouver (Canada)
47. 16th May, 2011, an hour long interview on Bhagat Singh by web magazine ‘Punjabi Kalma’ at Vancouver (Canada)
48. 18th May, 2011, Lecture on ‘Political Thought of Bhagat Singh’ at Café Kathmandu, Vancouver (Canada)
49. 13th July, 2011, Lecture on Bhagat Singh in Sanmukh programme at Sydney (Australia)
50. 13th July, 2011, Interview on Bhagat Singh by Australian Punjabi Television at Sydney (Australia)
51. Lecture on ‘Che Guevara and Bhagat Singh’ at Taraksheel society function at Toronto-Canada on 2nd January, 2012
52. Lecture on ‘Bhagat Singh in Pakistan’ at Punjabi writers meet at Toronto-Canada, 5th January, 2012
53. Lecture on Bhagat Singh as revolutionary ideologue at Bhagat Singh library, Navalgarh (Rajasthan) on 23rd March, 2012
54. Lecture as special guest on Bhagat Singh as Journalist at Ratlam (MP) on 8th April, 2012
55. Introduced Krativeer Bhagat Singh-at book release at JNU, New Delhi on 24th August 2012
56. Lecture on ‘Bhagat Singh as role model for youth’ organized by Shivaji college at Delhi University campus on 23rd March 2013
57. Lecture on Bhagat Singh at Ghaziabad on a function by Subhash Bose-Bhagat Singh youth organization on 23rd March 2013.
58. Lecture on Bhagat Singh at Punjab Government function on Bhagat Singh youth awards on 28th March 2013 at Shivalik Public school, Mohali.
59. Lecture on Bhagat Singh thought at Sardar Bhagat Singh shaheed smark Agra to commemorate Thakur Ram Singh 103rd birth anniversary on 11th April 2013
60. Introduced book ‘Understanding Bhagat Singh’ at release function in JNU, New Delhi on 3rd May 2013
61. Lecture on book discussion ‘Krantiveer Bhagat Singh…. At Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University regional centre Allahabad on 27th July, 2013
62. Lecture on Relevance of Bhagat Singh ideas at Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch function on 28th September, 2013, birth anniversary at Nagpur.
63. Lecture on Durga Bhabhi and Bhagat Singh on 10th October 2013 at Lucknow University, Lucknow organized by AISA-student body
64. Presented paper at Kolkata University Kolkata on ‘From Kartar Singh Sarabha to Bhgat Singh-Ideological development of revolutionary movement’, organized by History dept. on Ghadar Centenary on 7th February, 2014.
65. Presented paper at Panjab Univesity Chandigarh on 8th March, 2014 on Bhagat Singh’s writings in Chand and Kirti, on Ghadar party centenary seminar.
66. Delivered speech at Ferozeshah Kotla grounds Delhi march on workers on 23rd March 2014.
67. Delivered lecture on Relevance of Bhagat Singh at Central University of Punjab (CUP), Bathinda students function on martyrdom day-25 March 2014
68. Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh as young man at Giani Zail Singh Engineering College, Bathinda function on 25th March, 2014
69. Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh birth anniversary at Panjab University Regional Centre Mukatsar on 24th September 2014
70. Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh’s legal knowledge at District Courts bar hall Patiala on 26th September 2014
71. Lecture on Bhagat Singh’s ideas at Punjabi University TPD Malwa College, Rampura Phul (Bathinda) on 13 October 2014
72. Lecture on Bhagat Singh legacy in freedom struggle at Punjabi University College Ghudda on 5th November 2014
73. Spoke on Bhagat Singh ideas at panel on Reinventing Heritage at Chandigarh-Literati-2014 at Lake Club Chandigarh on 8th November 2014
74. Lecture on Ghadar party/Kartar Singh Sarabha legacy and Bhagat Singh Thought at Govt. senior secondary school, Dabwali on 23rd November 2014.
75. Lecture on Remembering Bhagat Singh at Central University of Tamilnadu (CUTN) on 6th March 2015
76. Lecture on ‘Understanding Bhagat Singh’ at Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Madras on 7th March 2015.
77) Lecture at Relevance of Bhagat Singh Thought at Desh Bhagat Committee meeting Longowal on 15th March 2015
78) Annual Bhagat Singh memorial Lecture on Bhagat Singh’s Understanding of Law at Panjab University Chandigarh on 16th March 2015
79. Lecture at Bhagat Singh study circle organized meeting on Bhagat Singh idea of Independent India at Bangalore on 22nd March 2015
80) Lecture of Bhagat Singh life and ideas at Aziz Premji University Bangalore on 23rd March 2015
81) Recording on Bhagat Singh martyrdom day by Radio Spice Vancouver on 20th March 2015
82) Recording by BBC Hindi service for Bhagat Singh martyrdom day on 22nd March 2015
83) Recording by Radio Spice Vancouver for 8th April 2015 Delhi Bomb case.
84). Lecture delivered at DAV College hostel Kanpur on 10th May 2015 on book release-‘Kalam, Kranti, Kanpur and Bhagat Singh’.

                          Earlier Lectures on Bhagat Singh(1989-2006)
1.) Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh at Rohtak on 23rd March 1988
2).Delivered two lectures in February 1989 on Bhagat Singh and Paash at   
 3) Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh's thought at Punjabi University, Patiala on     
                23rd March, 1994.
 4) Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh and Paash (Hindi) at Paash Library Karnal  
                on 23.3.1996.
 5) Delivered lecture at Panjab University Chandigarh in Sociology Dept. hall in May 1997
6) Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh and Pash at Pash library Karnal on 23rd March 1998
  7) Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh's Jail note book (Panjabi) at Moga on   
                 7.5.2000 (Honored on the occasion)
  8) Delivered lecture on 'Secular tradition of Bhagat Singh' at Karnal on
   9) Presided over and delivered lecture at a function in memory of Shaheed              
                Bhagat Singh at Yamunanagar on 24.3.2002.
   10) Delivered Lecture on Bhagat Singh ona29/9/05 at Tapti Hostel,JNU.
   11) Delivered lecture on ‘Relevance of Bhagat Singh’ on 23rd March,2006 at Gandhi   
                       Peace Foundation, New Delhi.
   12) Telecast of one hour discussion on Bhagat Singh on DD News with Prof. Bipan, myself and more on 23rd March 2006

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Mainstream review of Understanding Bhagat Singh with my clarification in subsequent issue


Useful, if Controversial, Book on Bhagat Singh, his Life and Times

Sunday 28 September 2014, by Barun Das Gupta
Understanding Bhagat Singh by Chaman Lal; Aakar Books, Delhi; pages: xii+258; price: Rs 550.
Bhagat Singh was a star among the stars in the galaxy of India’s freedom fighters who immolated themselves for the emancipation of the country from the yoke of colonial rule. He was born in 1907 and was executed by the British rulers on March 23, 1931, at the age of 24. So strong was the public reaction to his trial and death sentence that fearing a huge explosion of public anger, the government executed him and his two comrades, Sukhdev and Rajguru, in the evening, departing from the normal practice of early morning execution.
Bhagat Singh stands out among the freedom fighters for his exemplary courage and fearlessness. Briefly, the sequence of events was that Lala Lajpat Rai was leading a silent protest demonstration in Lahore, on October 30, 1928, against the arrival of the Simon Commission in the city. The SP of Lahore, one Scott, ordered a lathi-charge on the crowd and DSP Saunders personally beat up Lalaji. He fell to the ground and died on November 17. To register the nation’s protest, Bhagat Singh and his comrades in the Hindustan Socialist Republican Associ-ation (HSRA) decided to kill both Scott and Saunders. Bhagat Singh and Rajguru shot Saunders on December 17, 1928; Bhagat Singh then escaped to Calcutta.
Then the British Indian Government brought the Public Safety Bill for enactment. Bhagat Singh and his comrades decided to register a protest by throwing harmless bombs in the Central Assembly (the present Parliament House). However, Bhagat Singh decided that this time he and his friends will not try to escape but allow themselves to be arrested, knowing full well that they would also be charged with the murder of Saunders and quite likely were to be hanged. Accordingly, on April 8, 1929, they threw two harmless bombs which made a loud noise but did not do any damage. And they raised, for the first time in India, the battle-cry of the working class—Inqilab Zindabad andSamrajyavad ka Nash Ho. After this, they laid their pistols on a table and calmly waited for the police to come and arrest them.
Bhagat Singh faced death calmly and without the slightest trace of fear. When he was being led to the gallows, he refused to have his face covered with a black cloth and proudly told the British officer: “You are lucky to see how happily Indians go to the gallows for the nation.” (p. 162) His execution, in fact, amounted to the judicial murder of a dedicated patriot who posed a potential danger to British rule.
Chaman Lal has been specialising in the life and writings of Bhagat Singh and has written several books on him. The present book is a collection of articles on Bhagat Singh written by him at different times and published in different newspapers and magazines.
Bhagat Singh lived ahead of his times. Even in his early teens it was evident that he was different from the other boys and showed revolutionary traits. At the age of sixteen, he joined the underground revolutionary organisation, the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA). But soon, he was attracted to the Marxist ideology. At the age of 19, he declared himself an atheist.
By then, the mighty waves released by the October Socialist Revolution had crossed the oceans and started hitting the Indian shores and Marxist literature was being clandestinely smuggled into the country. In jail, Bhagat Singh was reading Lenin. It was at his initiative that the HRA was rechristened as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). This was the first time that an Indian political organisation adopted the word ‘socialist’ in its name. By the time he had transformed into a committed revolutionary, he had also become ‘almost’ a committed Marxist as well. (p. 8) Later it grew into a conviction. He believed that after throwing off the foreign yoke India would have to become a socialist republic.
He had developed an ‘excellent rapport’ with the national leaders, from Subhas Chandra Bose to Jawaharlal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Lala Lajpati Rai and others. Though Nehru did not agree with their programme, but he gave them a thousand rupees to help the revolutionaries go to Russia. But for all his respect for Lalaji, Bhagat Singh was too honest not to criticise him for ‘going wayward with communal forces’. (p. 27) Yet Motilal Nehru, Malaviya and—what must be news to many—Mohammed Ali Jinnah defended Bhagat Singh and his comrades in the courts. The patriot told the British that “Bhagat Singh dead will be more dangerous to British enslavers than Bhagat Singh alive”. He is the only freedom fighter who is acclaimed in both India and Pakistan and respected in both the countries.
The author has dwelt at length with a contro-versial subject: the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the execution of Bhagat Singh. Could the Mahatma have saved the revolutionary’s life by interceding on his behalf with the British autho-rities? The author’s contention is that the Mahatma could have but he did not. There is a sharp difference of opinion on this subject between scholars. In the past Mainstream also carried a number of articles presenting both points of view.
Bhagat Singh wanted that he and his two mates should be hanged at a time when the people rose en masse demanding their release. And that is what exactly happened. The author holds that “The execution proved Gandhi’s apprehension, as expressed to Irwin that ‘their execution will make them national martyrs’. Martyrs they did become, defeating the designs of both Gandhi and the British Crown.” The statement in the single quote marks is obviously attributed to Gandhiji. But there is no suppor-ting evidence or reference. Did the Mahatma really have an apprehension that Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev would become national martyrs and that he did not want that to happen? One expected the source of this quote to be mentioned, the more so as it makes an innuendo that Gandhiji played a collusive role in the execution of the three revolutionaries.
He levels an equally disparaging and totally unfounded charge against Baikunth Shukul (Shukla), a fellow revolutionary of Bhagat Singh. He writes: “There were seven approvers in the [Bhagat Singh] case, out of whom Phaninder Ghosh was murdered in Bihar and Baikunth Shukal (sic) was executed.” (p. 106) So he brands Baikunth Shukul also as an approver against the revolutionary trio. This is atrocious.
Baikunth Shukul was a nephew of Yogendra Shukla, one of the founders of the HRSA. Baikunth was hanged in 1934 for murdering Phanindra Nath Ghosh who had turned approver in the trial of Bhagat Singh and others in the so-called Lahore Conspiracy Case. Ghosh’s evidence led to the execution of Bhagat Singh and the others.
Baikunth Shukul’s fellow prisoner, the late freedom fighter Bibhuti Bhusan Das Gupta, one of the founders of the Lok Sevak Sangh who later became a Minister in Ajoy Mukherjee’s Cabinet in West Bengal, has left us a graphic and touching account of Baikunth Shukul’s last days and hours in jail in his inimitable language in his book Sei Mahaabarashar Ranga Jal. 
Justices Khoja Mohammed Noor and J. F. W. James of Patna High Court, while confirming the death sentence passed by the Sessions Judge of Muzaffarpur, found Baikunth guilty and quoted from the Session Judge’s verdict: “You ... in furtherance of the common intention of you both did commit murder by intentionally causing the death of Phanindra Nath Ghose ... and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 302 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.”
Bibhuti Das Gupta has also put on record that while Baikunth mounted the gallows he, too, like Bhagat Singh, refused to get his head covered by the regulation black cloth. And the jail authorities dared not refuse his last request. So, on what basis does Chaman Lal accuse Baikunth of having turned an approver? Was it necessary to portray Bhagat Singh as a fearless and death-defying martyr, to defame Baikunth Shukul, an equally fearless revolutionary patriot? To advert to Bhagat Singh again. The author quotes from V.N. Dutta’s book Gandhi and Bhagat Singh which, again, quotes from former Liberal Party MPRobert Bernays’ book, The Naked Faquir, that Sarojini Naidu had told him (Bernays): “Bhagat Singh ought to be punished for his crimes, but not by death. After all he is only a rebel.” Could not a less apocryphal and more credible evidence be found ? How Bernays looked upon Indian leaders is evident from the very title of his book which uses the derogatory terms in which Winson Churchill described the Mahatma.
All in all, it is a useful book for anyone who wants to know about Bhagat Singh, his life and times. The book, however, needed careful editing to improve the language.
The reviewer was a correspondent of The Hindu in Assam. He also worked inPatriot, Compass (Bengali), Mainstream. A veteran journalist, he comes from a Gandhian family and was intimately associated with the RCPI leader, Pannalal Das Gupta.

Home page > 2014 > Sincere Apologies for Wrong Impression

Sincere Apologies for Wrong Impression

Monday 1 December 2014, by Chaman Lal
Though I am a life member of Mainstream, I miss some issues due to the postal department’s negligence and carelessness or receive back issues many weeks later. So I missed the September 27 issue and just saw it on the website. I was both happy and shocked to see the review of my book, Understanding Bhagat Singh, by  Barun Das Gupta (“Useful, if Controversial, Book on Bhagat Singh, his Life and Times”, pp. 29-30). I respect Barun Das Gupta a lot. Happy as I was waiting for its review in Mainstream and it came out on the occasion of Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary, I was shocked because my reference to Baikunth Shukal, rather martyr Baikunth Shukal, got misinterpreted by the reviewer,  even though the fault lies in the printed version of the book. I must make it clear at the outset that I never considered Baikunth Shukal to be among the seven approvers. He earned martyrdom by shooting one of the approvers, Phanindernath Ghosh, for which he was executed. I had made only a passing reference to Baikunthnath Shukal while reviewing historian V.N. Datta’s book,Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, where I had mentioned: ’There were seven approvers in the case, out of whom Phaninder Ghosh was murdered in Bihar, and Baikunth Shukal was executed....’(p. 106), as quoted by Barun Das Gupta. I admit and apologise that this sentence can give the impression of me putting Baikunth Shukal into approvers’ list (on which the reviewer has built the argument). But the fact is that there is a flaw in copy editing. What I had written was Baikunth Shukal was executed for murdering Phaninder Ghosh and thus attaining martyrdom like Bhagat Singh and others. I have read about Baikunthnath Shukal and I have a copy of The Trial of Baikunthnath Shukal in Hindi translation in my possession since many years and I admire Baikunthnath Shukal’s martyrdom. If any wrong impression has been created by the incomplete printed sentence, I own the responsibility and sincerely apologise for that and shall get it corrected at the earliest.
The exact words in my copy were:
There were seven approvers in the case, out of whom Phaninder Ghosh was murdered in Bihar and Baikunth Shukal was executed for that.
  The last two words (‘for that’) were omitted by the copy editor of the manuscript, and that changed the meaning of the whole sentence.
      About Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts to save the life of Bhagat Singh, I have discussed those mostly in the debate in Mainstream articles and I found D.P. Das’ interpretation more close to the reality as was also thought by A.G. Noorani. But opinions can differ on the issue and I don’t assert that ‘only my opinion is correct’! Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh had two different perceptions about India’s freedom and Bhagat Singh, despite showing full respect to Mahatma Gandhi, never accepted his perception of India’s freedom and future development. He found Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Bose’s views more close to his heart and out of the two, he appreciated Nehru more for his rational approach and thought that Subhas Bose was more emotional. Perhaps on all these issues different opinions exist and one should agree to disagree.
    Although the manuscript of the book was edited by an eminent English scholar and Professor and by the publisher’s professional copy editor, I still appreciate the eminent senior journalist and reviewer’s (Barun Das Gupta’s) concluding advice: “The book, however, needed careful editing to improve the language.”
  I hope my response can be carried in the ‘Communication’ column in this form.
Chaman Lal
Chandigarh (Retired Professor, JNU, New Delhi)