Thursday, 17 December 2015

How we Love Bhagat Singh and we 'Hate' him also!


The Citizen web daily has carried this article link above!

Oh how we ‘Love’ Bhagat Singh-and how we ‘Hate’ also!
                                                    Chaman Lal*

                    Some people were shocked to know that Haryana government led by a migrant Punjabi, a known RSS prachark Manohar Lal Khattar, has withdrawn the decision of his predecessor Bhupender Singh Hooda to name Chandigarh international airport as ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh international airport’. Instead he has proposed that airport be named after Mangal Sen, his fellow RSS Prachark and one time minister in Devilal ministry in Haryana. This ‘great’ decision of Sh. Khattar would have remained hidden in typical RSS style, had Ludhiana Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, a grandson of former chief minister of Punjab-Beant Singh- assassinated by Khalistanis ,not put a unstarred question in Lok Sabha to civil aviation minister-the question and answer is as under-
ANSWERED ON: 03.12.2015
Change of Name of Chandigarh Airport
Will the Minister of
CIVIL AVIATION be pleased to state:-
(a) whether the Government proposes to change the name of Chandigarh
(b) if so, the details thereof and the reasons therefor; and
(c) the time by which it is likely to be done?
Minister of State in the Ministry of CIVIL AVIATION
(Dr Mahesh Sharma)
(a)  to (c): A proposal was received from State Government of Punjab for naming of International Civil Air Terminal, Chandigarh as "Shaheed-EAzam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali". In 2010, Chief Minister of Haryana had also proposed for naming of International Civil Air Terminal, Chandigarh as "Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport, Chandigarh". In a subsequent letter, Chief Minister of Haryana has requested to name the airport terminal as "Dr Mangal Sein International Airport, Chandigarh". The proposal was examined in consultation with concerned Ministries and State Governments of Haryana and Punjab. However, due to non-consensus between State Government of Haryana and Punjab, the airport terminal could not be renamed.”

         Though shocking for many, it is not shocking for those, who know that Haryana chief minister has appointed Dinanath Batra as state government’s main educational advisor in minister’s rank, he has his sense of history shaped by such advisors! Though younger elements even in BJP may also be raising the common query-‘who is this Mangal Sen?’
       It was in year 2009, when Chandigarh airport was proposed to be expanded as international airport and Punjab Government while allotting land for it in Mohali, decided with unanimous resolution of Punjab assembly to name the airport as Shaheed-e-azam Bhagat Singh International airport Mohali. Since Haryana Govt. was participant in construction of airport, then Haryana Chief Minister in 2010 consented on the name but it insisted on town name to be Chandigarh and not Mohali as proposed by Punjab. Manmohan Singh Government could have notified the airport name then, but kept it pending, which gave an excuse to present Chief Minister to withdraw his predecessor’s recommendation and make his own recommendation.
   Manohar Lal Khattar’s recommendation does not surprise secular political activists, rather it proves their long argued point that RSS/Hindutva has no love lost for revolutionaries and it eulogize them just to hit their political adversaries, particularly Congress party for not giving them due respect. ‘Panchjanya’-RSS Hindi mouthpiece has come out with special Bhagat Singh issue in year 2007, to mark birth centenary of the most popular hero of Indian and South Asian youth. It has tried to appropriate Bhagat Singh legacy while criticizing Prof. Bipan Chandra and me for our underlining of Bhagat Singh’s socialist revolutionary credentials. It has been even claiming though falsely, that Bhagat Singh had met Bala Saheb Deoras in Nagpur.
          Now Manohar Lal Khattar’s decision, has simply proved the deception of RSS/BJP/Hindutva, in claiming or appropriating legacy of Bhagat Singh and freedom struggle in any form. Interestingly Khalistan supporter Simranjit Singh IPS (retd. SSP) has also opposed airport being named on Bhagat Singh’s name calling him a ‘murderer’ of police officer! One can see how all religious fundamentalists are close in their thinking!
           Religious fundamentalists are even insulting Bhagat Singh by using his painting based distorted photos rather than using any of his four real photographs for publicity purposes, it includes Central and State govts. No other national icon is subjected to use of their unreal or painting based photographs in govt. advertisements, but in case of Bhagat Singh even the sanctity of his real photographs is violated.
         It is not for first time that Bhagat Singh or his legacy has been subjected to insults, neither is it going to be last. Even during Bhagat Singh’s life time when they assassinated Saunders to avenge national insult in death of Lala Lajpat Rai, hit by British colonial police’s lathis or when he and B K Dutt threw harmless bombs in Central Assembly, now Parliament to protest against anti worker and anti-people bills of British colonial government. They were called ‘murderers’, ‘mad men’ and what not inside and outside Central Assembly by some of our national leaders at that time, but not by two Nehrus -Motilal and Jawaharlal. Yet same kind of people were eulogizing them to heights after their martyrdom. It was Jinnah who had spoken in compassion for them, when Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries were observing long hunger strikes in jail. There is no record of any RSS or Hindu Mahasabha man speaking a word in favor of Bhagat Singh or his comrades during their whole revolutionary activities or at their execution by British colonialism. It was only Congress (Leftists/Socialists/Forward Bloc) and Communists who had real relations with these revolutionaries during freedom struggle. Rightist among Congress party always denigrated the revolutionaries, as is being done by RSS/BJP/Hindutavites now. Even memorial to three revolutionaries at Ravi Banks in Lahore in 1931 after their martyrdom, planned by Naujwan Bharat Sabha was scuttled by such Congress people by using Bhagat Singh’s father Kishan Singh, who himself was Congressman, with the false and deceptive assurance that Congress party itself will build grand memorial for three revolutionaries in Lahore, which was never done till 1947 partition. Ironically it is civil democratic groups of Pakistan, who are now trying to build memorial at execution place of Bhagat Singh as Bhagat Singh Chowk. His birthplace in Chak No. 105, Lyallpur Bange has already been turned into a memorial with Pakistan Government sanctioning more than 8 crores rupees to build it.
         M L Khattar’s insult to Bhagat Singh and practically all freedom struggle, as Bhagat Singh is the supreme symbol of freedom struggle, has not been taken kindly. Not only Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu has threatened agitation over it, Akali MP Prem Singh Chandumajra has also spoken very forcefully on the issue and Dr. Dharam veer Gandhi, AAP Lok Sabha member from Patiala is also going to raise the issue forcefully, so is plan of CPI(M). Janta Dal(U) MP and Spokesman K C Tyagi has condemned Haryana Govt.’s act in strong terms. All secular forces in the country need to rise up in unison to stop the insults being heaped on Bhagat Singh like revolutionaries and freedom struggle of India by RSS like forces, now in power, who played no role in freedoms struggle and some of them were in league with British colonial power.
      Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh have been found to be two most popular icons of India by many surveys by reputed journals like The Hindu and India Today. Dr. Ambedkar has a constituency and no one dares to insult him or his legacy, but Bhagat Singh seems to have no constituency despite his popularity. His natural constituency –the left- does not seem to be that sensitive to protecting his dignity as Ambedkarites are! Would they get more sensitized about it now?!

*Chaman Lal is retired Professor from JNU, New Delhi and author/editor of many books on Bhagat Singh, including his documents in Hindi, Punjabi and English. 

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