Monday, 14 March 2016

Dr. Ambedkar's editorial on Bhagat Singh-Rajguru-Sukhdev execution on 13th April 1931-English and Hindi

I was searching for Dr. Ambedkar's writings on Bhagat Singh, since 2006, when I suddenly recovered Periyar's editorial on Bhagat Singh in 29th March 1931 issue of his Tamil weekly-'Kudai Arsu', while visiting Periyar Tiddle in Chennai. The editorial was translated into English after 75 years of its first publication in Tamil at my request and was published in October 2006 issue of 'The Rationalist', which has been included in my two books-Jail Notebook and Other writings of Bhagat Singh and Understadnign Bhagat Singh. 
On 30th January this year I met Subodh More, grand son of historic 1927 Mahad movement account writer R B More, who informed about 'Janta' editorial of Dr. Ambedkar in 1931. He was kind enough to send me the copy of it, which I requested Anand Teltumbde to translate in English and Subhas Gatade in Hindi. Both have been kind enough to provide me English and Hindi translation of the editorial, which is being shared here in both the languages, thanks to Subodh Moe, Anand Teltumbde and Subhas Gatade.

Three Victims-Dr. Ambedkar editorial on Bhagat Singh execution

(Janata dated 13 April 1931)

 Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru have been eventually hanged. They were charged for the murders of an English police officer named Sanders and a Sikh police sepoy named Chaman Singh. Also there were three or four additional charges such as an attempt of murdering one police inspector at Banaras, throwing a bomb in the Assembly, conducting robbery at a house in Maulimiya village and looting its valuables. Bhagatsingh had already admitted to the charges of throwing bomb in the Assembly. For this crime, he and Batukeshwar Dutt were already sentenced with life imprisonment. One of the comrades of Bhagatsingh by name Jaigopal had confessed that the murder of sanders was executed by them revolutionaries including Bhagatsingh and others. The government had filed a case against Bhagatsingh and his comrades based on this confession. None of the three accused participated in this case, however. A special tribunal comprising three high court judges was appointed which heard the case and unanimously awarded them death penalty.

Bhagatsingh’s father had made a mercy petition to the Emperor and the Viceroy requesting them not to execute the punishment and convert if required into life imprisonment at Andamans. Many people including prominent leaders also tried to plead with the government in the matter. The issue of Bhagatsingh’s death penalty might have arisen in negotiations that took place between Gandhi and Lord Irwin. Although Lord Irwin had not given any definitive assurance about saving Bhagatsingh’s life, Gandhi’s speech during the intervening period created a hope that Irwin would try his best within his powers to save lives of these three youth. But all these hopes, predictions and appeals proved futile. They were killed by hanging in the Central Prison, Lahore on 23 March 1931 at 7 pm. None of them had made any appeal for saving them. But as it is already published, Bhagatsingh had expressed a desire for being killed with bullet shots instead of hanging by the neck. But even this last will of his was not granted and they implemented the judgment of the tribunal verbatim. The judgement was to hang by the neck till dead. If they were killed with bullet shots, the execution would not confirm to the judgement verbatim. The order of the justice goddess was obeyed in toto and the three were killed with the method she prescribed.

For whom the Sacrifice?

If the government thinks that people would be impressed by its display of devotion to and strict obedience of the justice goddess and therefore they would approve of this killing, it would be its utter naiveté. None believes that this sacrifice was made with only intention of maintaining clean and sans blemish reputation of the British justice system. Even the government will not be able to convince itself with such an understanding. Then how will it convince others with this veil of the justice goddess? The entire world, as well as the government does, knows that it is not the devotion to justice goddess but the fear of the conservative party and public opinion back home in England that this sacrifice was executed. They thought, the unconditional release of political prisoners like Gandhi and signing pacts with Gandhi’s party has damaged the prestige of the Empire. Some orthodox leaders of the conservative party have launched a campaign that the prevailing cabinet of the Labour Party and the Viceroy who danced to its tune were responsible for it. In such a situation if Lord Irwin had showed mercy to political revolutionaries who have been convicted for assassinating an English officer, it would be like giving a burning torch into the hands of the opposition leaders. Already the condition of the Labour Party is not stable. In such a situation if these conservative leaders got an alibi that the labour government grants clemency to the convicts, who had murdered an Englishman, it would be so easy to provoke public opinion against it. In order to avert this imminent crisis and to thwart the fire in the minds of conservative leaders from flaring further, these hangings were executed.

As such this was not to satisfy the justice goddess but to please public opinion in England. If it had been the issue of personal liking or disliking of Lord Irwin, he would have within his own powers annulled the death penalty and awarded life imprisonment in its stead. The cabinet of the Labour Party in England would have supported Lord Irwin in this decision. It would have been necessary to maintain congeniality of public opinion in the context of Gandhi-Irwin pact. While leaving the country, Lord Irwin would surely have liked to earn this goodwill. But he would have been crushed between the ire of his conservative kin in England and the Indian bureaucracy imbued with the same casteist attitude. Therefore, not minding the public opinion here the government of Lord Irwin hanged Bhagatsingh and his comrades to death and that too just 2 to 4 days before the Karachi conference of the Congress. Both, the hanging of Bhagatsingh and his comrades, and its timings, were sufficient to puncture the Gandhi-Irwin Pact and to trash the efforts to bring it about. If Lord Irwin wanted to fail this pact, he would not have found better act than this one. Looking from this perspective, as Gandhiji also felt, one could say that the government committed a great blunder.

In sum, merely not to incur anger of the conservatives in England, they sacrificed Bhagatsingh and his comrades ignoring public opinion and not minding what would happen to the Gandhi-Irwin pact. The government must remember, howsoever it tries to cover it up or polish it; it will never be able to hide this fact.

Dr Anand Teltumbde is a writer, political analyst and an activist with CPDR, Mumbai
भगतसिंह, सुखदेव और राजगुरू की शहादत पर डा अम्बेडकर
/जनता, 13 अप्रैल 1931/

तीन शिकार
भगतसिंह, सुखदेव और राजगुरू इन तीनों को अन्ततः फांसी पर लटका दिया गया। इन तीनों पर यह आरोप लगाया गया कि उन्होंने सान्डर्स नामक अंग्रेजी अफसर और चमनसिंह नामक सिख पुलिस अधिकारी की लाहौर में हत्या की। इसके अलावा बनारस में किसी पुलिस अधिकारी की हत्या का आरोप, असेम्ब्ली में बम फेंकने का आरोप और मौलमिया नामक गांव में एक मकान पर डकैती डाल कर वहां लूटपाट एवं मकानमालिक की हत्या करने जैसे तीन चार आरोप भी उन पर लगे। इनमें से असेम्ब्ली में बम फेंकने का आरोप भगतसिंह ने खुद कबूल किया था और इसके लिए उसे और बटुकेश्वर दत्त नामक उनके एक सहायक दोस्त को उमर कैद के तौर पर काला पानी की सज़ा सुनायी गयी। सांडर्स की हत्या भगतसिंह जैसे क्रांतिकारियों ने की ऐसी स्वीकारोक्ति जयगोपाल नामक भगतसिंह के दूसरे सहयोगी ने भी की थी और उसी बुनियाद पर सरकार ने भगतसिंह के खिलाफ मुकदमा कायम किया था। इस मुकदमें में तीनों ने भाग नहीं लिया था। हाईकोर्ट के तीन न्यायाधीशों के स्पेशल ट्रीब्युनल का गठन करके  उनके सामने यह मुकदमा चला और उन तीनों ने इन्हें दोषी घोषित किया और उन्हें फांसी की सज़ा सुना दी। इस सज़ा पर अमल न हो और फांसी के बजाय उन्हें अधिक से अधिक काला पानी की सज़ा सुनायी जाए ऐसी गुजारिश के साथ भगतसिंह के पिता ने राजा और वायसराय के यहां दरखास्त भी की। अनेक बड़े बड़े नेताओं ने और तमाम अन्य लोगों ने भगतसिंह को इस तरह सज़ा न दी जाए इसे लेकर सरकार से अपील भी की। गांधीजी और लॉर्ड इरविन के बीच चली आपसी चर्चाओं में भी भगतसिंह की फांसी की सज़ा का मसला अवश्य उठा होगा और लार्ड इरविन ने भले ही मैं भगतसिंह की जान बचाउंगा ऐसा ठोस वायदा गांधीजी से न किया हो, मगर लार्ड इरविन इस सन्दर्भ में पूरी कोशिश करेंगे और अपने अधिकारों के दायरे में इन तीनों की जान बचाएंगे ऐसी उम्मीद गांधीजी के भाषण से पैदा हुई थी। मगर यह सभी उम्मीदें, अनुमान और गुजारिशें गलत साबित हुई और बीते 23 मार्च को शाम 7 बजे इन तीनांे को लाहौर सेन्ट्रल  जेल में फांसी दी गयी। ‘ हमारी जान बकश दें’ ऐसी दया की अपील इन तीनों में से किसी ने भी नहीं की थी; हां, फांसी की सूली पर चढ़ाने के बजाए हमें गोलियों से उड़ा दिया जाए ऐसी इच्छा भगतसिंह ने प्रगट की थी, ऐसी ख़बरें अवश्य आयी हैं। मगर उनकी इस आखरी इच्छा का भी सम्मान नहीं किया गया। न्यायाधीश के आदेश पर हुबहू अमल किया गया ! ‘अंतिम सांस तक फांसी पर लटका दें’ यही निर्णय जज ने सुनाया था। अगर गोलियों से उड़ा दिया जाता तो इस निर्णय पर शाब्दिक अमल नहीं माना जाता। न्यायदेवता के निर्णय पर बिल्कुल शाब्दिक अर्थों में हुबहू अमल किया गया और उसके कथनानुसार ही इन तीनों को शिकार बनाया गया।

यह बलिदान किसके लिए

अगर सरकार को यह उम्मीद हो कि इस घटना से ‘अंग्रेजी सरकार बिल्कुल न्यायप्रिय है - न्यायपालिका के आदेश पर हुबहू अमल करती है’ ऐसी समझदारी लोगों के बीच मजबूत होगी और सरकार की इसी ‘न्यायप्रियता’ के चलते लोग उसका समर्थन करेंगे तो यह सरकार की नादानी समझी जा सकती है। क्योंकि यह बलिदान ब्रिटिश न्यायदेवता की शोहरत को अधिक धवल और पारदर्शी बनाने के इरादे से किया गया है, इस बात पर किसी का भी यकीन नहीं है। खुद सरकार भी इसी समझदारी के आधार पर अपने आप को सन्तुष्ट नहीं कर सकती है। फिर बाकियों को भी इसी  न्यायप्रियता के आवरण में वह किस तरह सन्तुष्ट कर सकती है ? न्यायदेवता की भक्ति के तौर पर नहीं बल्कि विलायत के कान्जर्वेटिव /राजनीतिक रूढिवादी/ पार्टी और जनमत के डर से इस बलिदान को अंजाम दिया गया है, इस बात को सरकार के साथ साथ तमाम दुनिया भी जानती है। गांधी जैसे राजनीतिक बन्दियों को बिनाशर्त रिहा करने और गांधी खेमे से समझौता करने से ब्रिटिश साम्राज्य की बदनामी हुई है और जिसके लिए लेबर पार्टी की मौजूदा सरकार और उनके इशारे पर चलनेवाला वायसरॉय है, ऐसा शोरगुल विलायत के राजनीतिक रूढिवादी  पार्टी के कुछ कटटरपंथी नेताओं ने चला रखा है। और ऐसे समय में एक अंग्रेज व्यक्ति और अधिकारी की हत्या करने का आरोप जिस पर लगा हो और वह साबित भी हो चुका हो, ऐसे राजनीतिक क्रांतिकारी अपराधी को अगर इरविन ने मुआफी दी होती तो इन राजनीतिक रूढिवादियों के हाथों बना बनाया मुददा मिल जाता। पहले से ही ब्रिेटेन में लेबर पार्टी की सरकार डांवाडोल चल रही है और उसी परिस्थिति में अगर यह मसला राजनीतिक रूढिवादियों को मिलता कि वह अंग्रेज व्यक्ति और अधिकारी के हिन्दुस्थानी हत्यारे को भी माफ करती है तो यह अच्छा बहाना वहां के राजनीतिक रूढिवादियों को मिलता और इंग्लैण्ड का लोकमत लेबर पार्टी के खिलाफ बनाने में उन्हें सहूलियत प्रदान होती। इस संकट से बचने के लिए और रूढिवादियों के गुस्से की आग न भड़के इसलिए फांसी की इन सज़ा को अंजाम दिया गया है। यह कदम ब्रिटिश न्यायपालिका को खुश करने के लिए नहीं बल्कि ब्रिटिश लोकमत को खुश करने के लिए उठाया गया है। अगर निजी तौर पर यह मामला लार्ड इरविन की पसंदगी -नापसंदगी से जुड़ा होता तो उन्होंने अपने अधिकारों का इस्तेमाल करके फांसी की सज़ा रदद करके उसके स्थान पर उमर कैद की सज़ा भगत सिंह आदि को सुनायी होती। विलायत की लेबर पार्टी के मंत्रिमंडल ने भी लार्ड इरविन को इसके लिए समर्थन प्रदान किया होता, गांधी इरविन करार के बहाने से इसे अंजाम देकर भारत के जनमत को राजी करना जरूरी था। जाते जाते लार्ड इरविन भी जनता का दिल जीत लेते। मगर इंग्लेण्ड की अपने रूढिवादी बिरादरों और यहां के उसी मनोव्रत्ती की नौकरशाही के गुस्से का वह शिकार होते। इसलिए जनमत की पर्वा किए बगैर लार्ड इरविन की सरकार ने भगतसिंह आदि को फांसी पर चढ़ा दिया और वह भी कराची कांग्रेस के तीन चार दिन पहले। गांधी-इरविन करार को मटियामेट करने व समझौते की गांधी की कोशिशों को विफल करने के लिए भगतसिंह को फांसी और फांसी के लिए मुकरर किया समय , यह दोनों बातें काफी थी। अगर इस समझौते को समाप्त करने का ही इरादा लार्ड इरविन सरकार का था तो इस कार्रवाई के अलावा और कोई मजबूत मसला उसे ढंूढने से भी नहीं मिलता। इस नज़रिये से भी देखें तो गांधीजी के कथनानुसार सरकार ने यह बड़ी भूल /ब्लंडर/ की है, यह कहना अनुचित नहीं होगा। लुब्बेलुआब यही कि जनमत की परवाह किए बगैर, गांधी-इरविन समझौते का क्या होगा इसकी चिन्ता किए बिना विलायत के रूढिवादियों के गुस्से का शिकार होने से अपने आप को बचाने के लिए, भगतसिंह आदि को बली चढ़ाया गया यह बात अब छिप नहीं सकेगी यह बात सरकार को पक्के तौर पर मान लेनी चाहिए। ..

/प्रस्तुत अंश ‘डा बाबासाहेब अम्बेडकर, एम ए, पीएचडी, डीएससी, बार-एट-लॉ’ की अगुआई में निकलनेवाले पाक्षिक अख़बार ‘जनता’ ज्ीम च्मवचसम’ से लिया गया है। मालूम हो कि जनता पाक्षिक का पहला अंक 24 नवम्बर 1930 को प्रकाशित हुआ था। लगातार बाईस अंकों के प्रकाशन के बाद 23 वां और 24 वां अंक ‘संयुक्तांक’ के तौर पर प्रकाशित हुआ। बाद में ‘जनता’ को साप्ताहिक मंे रूपांतरित किया गया। ‘मूकनायक,’ ‘बहिष्क्रत भारत’, ‘समता’ ऐसी यात्रा पूरी करके अम्बेडकरी अख़बारी आन्दोलन ‘जनता’ तक पहुंची थी।/

(मराठी से हिंदी अनुवाद : सुभाष गाताडे )

Sunday, 13 March 2016

In defence of a revolutionary

In defence of a revolutionary

Eighty-five years after the hanging of Bhagat Singh, lawyers from India and Pakistan have joined hands to re-open, and overturn, the sham trial that led to his death. Why does the revolutionary remain politically relevant to both countries?

Updated: March 13, 2016 11:51 am
In a dark, poky room that constitutes his chamber in the new block of the Supreme Court, Delhi, Nafis Siddiqui, a 77-year-old criminal lawyer, has been preparing for a most unorthodox case for the last two years. As part of his research, he has been reading up on cases where verdicts have been upended after long periods of time. He cites the case of George Stinney, a young boy, exonerated 70 years after his death by a court in US (in 2014), that found he was denied due process. Siddiqui points out another relevant trial; the ongoing legal battle between the British government and victims of Kenya’s Mau Mau emergency, who are demanding compensation 50 years after the events. “When it comes to infringement of fundamental rights, a delay in the matter is of no consequence,” he says.
bhagat 759
With loose-flowing white hair, thick-framed glasses and oversized black coat, Siddiqui is an idiosyncratic figure. He pulls out a thick brown folder marked “Bhagat Singh”, with whom he has grown to be familiar through history books and family lore — Siddiqui’s father-in-law, Hasrat Mohani, a freedom fighter, communist and poet, credited for coining the slogan, “Inquilab Zindabad!”, had a great influence on the revolutionary. “I mostly handle cases of murder, and this is clearly a case of political murder,” he says.
bhagat 759 2
Eighty-five years after the hanging of Bhagat Singh, a lawyer from Pakistan is trying to pull off what is either an audacious attempt to change the course of history, or a fool’s errand. In 2014, Siddiqui was approached by Lahore-based Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi — who has been fighting a lone battle to prove the innocence of Bhagat Singh — to advise him on his case. Qureshi’s petition, which was filed at the Lahore High Court in 2013, seeks to reopen the case of the hanging of Singh and his compatriots, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru, whose death anniversary will be celebrated on March 23 as Martyrs’ Day. In February this year, a two-member division bench in Lahore referred the case to a larger bench. For Qureshi, who argued that only a bench of three or more members could undo the decision of the three-member bench that awarded the death sentence in 1930, it was a moment of victory.
The first breakthrough came in 2014 when the court handed him a copy of the original FIR for the murder of British police officer John Saunders lodged at Lahore’s Anarkali police station in December 1928. The FIR does not name any of the three accused.
Members for the Action committe of Bhagat Singh Airport, Chandigarh, protest against the change in name of the airport in Chandigarh from Shaheed Bhagat Singh to Mangalsen in the capital New Delhi on thursday. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal New Delhi 250216
This is just one of the many discrepancies of the Lahore Conspiracy Case, which lasted for nearly two years and is universally recognised as a sham trial. As AG Noorani detailed in his book, The Trial of Bhagat Singh, from the lower court to the tribunal to the Privy Council, it was a judgment that represented a total compromise of the legal process.
The accused remained absent through the proceedings and remained unrepresented. Halfway through the trial, an Indian judge, deemed sympathetic to the accused, was removed from the tribunal. Many other rules of law were flouted. In a scathing editorial that appeared in April 1931, in the Marathi newspaper Janata, soon after the hanging, BR Ambedkar called out the hypocrisy of the British who manipulated the trial for political ends.
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“We are demanding two things, that the British government, through the Queen, apologise to both our countries, and pay compensation to the families of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev,” says Qureshi over the phone from Lahore. Loquacious and deeply committed to the cause, he calls himself a “lover of Bhagat Singh” and runs a memorial in his name, the Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation. “This is a case that unites the two countries and it proves that Pakistan, an Islamic state, can also be liberal. Let’s not forget the Quaid-e-Azam was the only leader to have publicly defended him.” In a speech he gave in the Central Assembly in 1929, Mohammad Ali Jinnah had famously expressed his sympathy for the revolutionaries.
Qureshi’s pursuit has had a ripple effect in India. In Ludhiana, the descendants of Sukhdev Thapar have recently written to the Indian government, demanding a copy of the FIR and papers related to the judgment. Ashok Thapar, (a great-nephew, his grandfather was the younger brother of Sukhdev), who runs the Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust, says, “We want government support to go to Lahore and pursue this case, or we will file an RTI. As his blood relations, we have a claim.”
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More than perhaps the verdict, the reopening of the trial is crucial for another reason. There is renewed hope that the court will order the release of about 164 files related to the case, which are with the Punjab Archives in Lahore. They have been treated as “sensitive”, and no historian or researcher has ever been allowed to access them, says Ludhiana-based Jagmohan Singh, a researcher on Bhagat Singh. He also happens to be Bhagat Singh’s nephew, born to his sister Bibi Amar Kaur. But, unlike the sustained campaign around the declassification of theNetaji files, these files have been neglected. Yet, they are a crucial part of setting the record straight.
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“The trial may or may not change history, but it’s the right of the people to know what happened, and those files will help us get there,” says Shantanu Rajguru, a great-grandnephew of Shivaram Rajguru. The family lives in Pune and is currently putting together a biography on the revolutionary. It was Rajguru, known as the marksman of the group, who fired the shot that killed Saunders. But Rajguru, like Sukhdev (who was in charge of coordinating the operation to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai), has been reduced to a footnote in history, believes Shantanu. The descendants of Sukhdev believe that the retrial should not be held in the name of Singh alone.
Apart from the context of historicity, the trial is significant as a measure of the democratic struggle in Pakistan being led by the civil society. The effort to reinstate Bhagat Singh as an icon has gathered force in recent times, as he has emerged as a symbol for the secularists in their battle against illiberal forces. Singh belongs to the pantheon of heroes of the Indian subcontinent. He is venerated in Punjab where he was born. “The PIL is an important political and historical development in a country and a region where history is often distorted in textbooks, held hostage to nationalist expediencies and heroes like Bhagat Singh are simply whitewashed or relegated to a footnote,” says Raza Naeem, a social scientist and activist from Lahore, over an email interview.
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While there is no official celebration of his martyrdom day in Pakistan, every year, on March 23, there is a gathering of activists at Shadman Chowk, next to Lahore Jail, where he was executed. Since 2001, there has been a movement demanding Shadman Chowk be renamed Bhagat Singh Chowk. The government agreed a few years ago, but capitulated when Islamist groups objected to the icon on grounds of his religious identity. In a conciliatory move last year, the government announced a package of Rs 8 crore, for the restoration of his ancestral house in Faisalabad district.
“I have attended the annual gathering at the chowk for a few years and every year, the movement has grown,” says Haroon Khalid, Pakistani author and journalist. “It is now part of the broader debate that seeks to widen the horizons of Pakistani nationalism by incorporating non-Muslim heroes as well. Another interesting dynamic of this movement is that it also comes at a time when the Pakistani state actively wants to re-project itself as a liberal secular state. There has been particular focus on the protection and promoting of Sikh heritage in the country. Bhagat Singh is seen in that broader framework of this Sikh heritage,” he says.
“Merciless criticism and independent thinking are the two necessary traits of revolutionary thinking,” wrote Bhagat Singh in his essay ‘Why I am an Atheist’, when he was in jail in Lahore.
In a curious echo of events across the border, Bhagat Singh has been having a moment of resurgence in contemporary politics in India. On the morning of February 25, Jantar Mantar in Delhi, where the dissatisfactions of the public are registered everyday, is in its usual state of melee. Among the many protests, rallies, dharnas and fasts, one smaller agitation has been drawing the attention of people for its fiery sloganeering. Cries of “inquilab” rend the air.
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The Joint Action Committee for Bhagat Singh Airport (made up of Left party workers and citizenry) is holding a day-long protest. For the last few months, the new international airport in Chandigarh has been a point of dispute between the governments of Haryana and Punjab, after the present BJP-ruled Haryana government proposed naming it after an RSS functionary, Mangal Sein, and went back on an earlier commitment to name it after the martyr. JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar in his by-now famous “anti-national” speech had raised the subject of the airport.
Through the speeches at Jantar Mantar — in which many left leaders likenRohith Vemula and Kanhaiya Kumar to Bhagat Singh — it is clear that the revolutionary has become a part of the overheated debate around iconography that has been going on since the BJP government has taken over. As student protests have spread across campuses in the country, and with charges ofsedition flying thick and fast, the revolutionary’s legacy, of rebellion, sacrifice, fearlessness, has been repeatedly invoked. “Bhagat Singh is a dangerous character for Indian rulers, specially his ideas,” says political scientist Shamsul Islam.
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Chaman Lal, a former professor at JNU and biographer of Bhagat Singh, has travelled from Ludhiana to Delhi to join the protest. In his speech, he says, the country needs Singh now more than ever. “The fight has become so tough, that we need harder icons, like Ambedkar, Periyar, Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh, and not pacifists like Gandhi,” he tells us, after the protest winds up. Lal’s life has been dedicated to propagating the ideas of Bhagat Singh. “Across the country, and particularly in the north, he is celebrated as a brave, fearless hero, like Che Guevara.“But, we have adopted Bhagat Singh, without adopting his ideas.” He was a reader (at the age of 19, he had read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and borrowed more than 400 books in jail) and a writer (he wrote prolifically during his incarceration). “He was a socialist and an atheist, a thinker-revolutionary,” says Lal.
For the family of Bhagat Singh, the trial represents an ethical dilemma. The martyr was opposed to the appeal that was filed to the Privy Council to save his life. “Will we be going against his wishes?” questions Abhey Sandhu, the son of Bhagat Singh’s younger brother Kulbir Singh. But the one thing he desired for was for his ideas to take root. The trial may represent that hope. As Sandhu says, “We might be his direct descendants, but in a way, we are all descendants of Bhagat Singh, especially those who propagate his thoughts.”
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Dr. Chaman Lal at Ghadar Memorial Hall San Francisco

Talking to Kamaljit Thind about Bhagat Singh in Canada

Talking about Bhagat Singh with Gurpreet in Canada-2011

New Delhi speech on Bhagat Singh

Mumbai Collective speech on Bhagat Singh-5th March 2016

Lectures links on youtube on Bhagat Singh-Aziz Premji University Bangalore on 23rd March 2015

This is link to Aziz Premji University Bangalore lecture on Bhagat Singh delivered on 23rd March 2015