Thursday, 27 February 2020

Remembering Bhagat Singh in year 2019

1.    The Bhagat Singh Reader, Harper&Collins India, Delhi, came on 13th April 2019

2.    Bhagat Singh complete writings in Hindi in four volumes-1. Letters 2. Essays 3. Sketches 4. Jail Notebook, published by Publication Division/Sasta Sahitya Mandal Delhi came out in December 2019

1.    Bhagat Singh ki Dostiyon ke kisse-Itihas Bodh-Dehradun-January 2019
2.    New letters of Bhagat Singh-Filhal (Hindi), Patna, March 2019
3.    When Bhagat Singh saw legal aid- The Tribune, Chandigarh on 23rd March
4.    Letters of Bhagat Singh in Punjabi translation-Punjabi Tribune Chandigarh, 24th March   
5.    My interview on Bhagat Singh Reader by Parul in Indian Express Chandigarh on 20th April
1.    Review of Bhagat Singh Reader by S Irfan Habib in Indian Express on 18th May 
4.    Review of Reader in Mainstream Weekly Delhi in 28th September issue
5.    Review of Reader in Frontier Kolkata in Autumn-September-October issue
1.    Extracts from Reader in Frontier same issue
6.    Review of Reader by Farooque Chaudhary in The Dhaka on 28th September, also in Countercurrents
6.    My Interview in The Times of India by Manimugdha Sharma in 27th September issue
2.    Extracts from Reader in HT Online edition fromWhy I am an Atheist.
7.    My piece in Hindustan Times print issue on 28th September on BS Reader
9.    Khushbu/Mahesh write up in Outlook Hindi online edition on 28th September n Bhagat Singh -interview with me
10.                       Krishan Murari piece on Bhagat Singh release in The Print-Hindi online edition. 
  7.    Review of The Bhagat Singh Reader in Outlook English by Rajeev Lochan in 21st October 2019 issue.
6-A.    2nd part of a review of The Bhagat Singh Reader by Farooque Chaudhary in Countercurrents.0rg on 24th October
6-B 1.    The third part of Farooque Chaudhar review appeared in Countercurrents and in The Dhaka paper in 22nd November issue  

3.     Last Thoughts of a Revolutionary-Extracts from The Bhagat Singh Reader, Frontline, Chennai, 20th December issue    
7.    Bhagat Singh Revisited-feature by Varun Das on The Bhagat Singh Reader in Indian Express, Chandigarh ed.27th December 2019
                                                                                                              1.      Delivered lecture on People’s representation in Democracy and Bhagat Singh at Dineshpur-Uttrakhand on 10th March.
2.Delivered inaugural lecture on Bhagat Singh Archives and Resource centre at Delhi Archives on 23rd March..    
Delivered panel address on Bhagat Singh memorial function at IIT, New Delhi on 23rd March. 
4.    Delivered lecture on Relevance of Bhagat Singh Today in Kisan forum function to commemorate martyrdom day on 24th March at Palwal.
5     Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh’s ideas at Jamia Milia Islamia on 26th March, organized by AISA.
6.Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh and students at Dyal Singh College New Delhi on 27th March, organized by AISA
7.      Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh and jurisprudence at Rohini courts Delhi on 27th March, organized by Lawyers union.  
 8.      The Bhagat Singh Reader-Book launch by JNUTA/Harpers/BS Archives on 24th September at SAA auditorium JNU. Sheonan Singh, Harbans Mukhia, S Irfan Habib, Sucheta Mahajan and Atul Sood and myself in a discussion on the book.
9.     Lecture on BS Birth anniversary at Lawyers Union in Karakaduma Courts, Delhi on 26th September.
10    Lecture on Idea of Bhagat Singh, organized by Law dept student union in DU, Delhi on 28th September  
11.      The first lecture in series on Bhagat Singh organized by Maharashtra Andh Nirmulan Samiti(MANS) in Mahila Mahavidyalaya Nagpur on 30th September-Gandhi ani Bhagat Singh
12      Interaction with youth activists at Sewagram Ashram near Wardha on 30th September
13    Third lecture by MANS at Wardha city on 30th September on Bhagat Singh ani Mahatma Gandhi
14.   Fourth lecture by MANS and Punjab Rao Deshmukh institutions at Amravati on 1st October
15.      Fifth lecture by MANS at Akola on 1st October
16.      Sixth lecture by MANS at Aurangabad in commerce college in the morning
17.    Seventh lecture by MANS in MIT Aurangabad in noon in the English language
18.      Eighth lecture in CPI office in Aurangabad by PWA/MANS
19.      Ninth MANS lecture at Jalgaon at college History dept in the morning on 3rd October
20..  10th MANS lecture in THIM college in Jalgaon in Urdu on 3rd October
21.  11th MANS lecture in Dhule on 3rd October evening
22.  12th MANS lecture on Bhagat Singh in a junior college in Nasik
23.  13th MANS lecture on Bhagat Singh and Gandhi at Kusumagraj bhaven Nasik in evening on 4th October
24.  14th MANS lecture on Bhagat Singh at SM Joshi institute on 5th October at Pune
25.  15th MANS lecture at Ichhal Karanji on Bhagat Singh on 6th October
26..  16th MANS lecture on Bhagat Singh at Kolhapur on 6th October
27.  17th MANS/TUS lecture on Bhagat Singh at Thane-Mumbai on 7th October
28.  18th MANS lecture on Bhagat Singh at Kalyan-Mumbai on 8th October (Dussehra)
29.   19th Trade Union Solidarity lecture on Bhagat Singh thought at Dadar-Mumbai on 9th October     
30.      BS Reader launch at Seagull book shop hall Kolkata on 19th October with Souvik Mukherjee and Tirthankar Chattopadhyaya spoke as editor
31.      Interviewed by Minakshi Sharma for CPM Digital live at 8 pm on 18th October
     32.Delivered lecture on Guru Nanak to Bhagat Singh-A glance at the progressive journey of Punjabi though in French dept. Panjab University Chandigarh on 31st October.
33.    Presentation in CSWD, Delhi Rosa Luxembourg three-day conference on Political Thought of Bhagat Singh on 22nd November at IIC Delhi.
34.     Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh and our times at PWA organized function at Azamgarh on 29th November
35.      Delivered lecture on Bhagat Singh’s ideology at Rahul Sankartyan library Maunath Bhanjan, on the inauguration of Bhagat Singh Manch on 30th November 

In all, Two books-one long-awaited and my magnum opus on Bhagat Singh in English, seven write-ups and 35 presentations in one year. Maximum productivity on work on Bhagat Singh in any one year since started working on Bhagat Singh from 1986.                                                                                                                              

Friday, 21 February 2020

Lecture series on Bhagat Singh in Maharashtra

    Lecture tour on Bhagat Singh to Maharashtra-29th September-9th October
      Sh. Avinash Patil President Maharashtra Andh Shraddha Nirmulan Samiti(MANS) was asking me to spare few days to address many meetings in Maharashtra on Bhagat Singh. Gurpreet Singh from Nagpur wanted me to address this year’s Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch annual Bhagat Singh birth anniversary function focussed on Jalianwala Bagh on 29th September. N Vasudevan, trade Unionist from Mumbai also wanted me to address 2-3 meetings of workers, so I asked all three to coordinate the programmes in just one trip. Accordingly, 11 days programme was chalked out. While I reached Nagpur on the 29th afternoon and addressed Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch organised function focussed on Jallianwala Bagh centenary and I spoke on the historical significance of the day. From next day on 30th September MANS activists Haridas Tammewar, Avinash Patil and few local activists took me along and their first function was held in Nagpur itself at Mahila Mahavidyalaya, a socialist Gandhian college. In most of the places, focus was on Bhagat Singh and Gandhi. The first lecture began well, spoke about one hour to a serious audience. Avinash Patil, President MANS also spoke. From Nagpur moved to Sewagram in light rain on the jeep, interacted with young trainees at Sewagram for an hour plus, before going to Wardha for a public meet of an activist. Spent about two hours in Wardha, speaking on Gandhi and Bhagat Singh. In rains took dinner and returned to Sewagram quite late.
         On 1st October morning, got ready by 8 am or so, the rain had stopped. From Sewagram moved to Amravati to address students and faculty in Panjab Rao Deshmukh educational institutions. There was warm welcome by institution chairman and Principal Samita Deshmukh. Spoke for an hour plus to large audience with few questions for interaction. After having lunch with Principal Smita Deshmukh, moved towards Akola, reaching after 4 pm at an activist house. Before going to address public meeting, visited Bhagat Singh statues set up by public-spirited people, garlanded the statues of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. After interesting interaction, had dinner and moved on night sleeper bus to Aurangabad. Journey was quite uncomfortable and without much sleep. Reached Aurangabad early morning of 2nd October and took some rest in a good hotel. Had three meetings in Aurangabad in one day, first one was in a commerce college in morning, the second one was in MIT and third one was by PWA in CPI office on Gandhi and Bhagat Singh. There was good discussion in all meetings. At MIT, since the audience was more of faculty, so spoke in English. We had to move to Jalgaon on 2nd October night itself on hired car, reaching there in an activist house by 1 am, tired and with no separate arrangement, slept on floor with other activists. Was getting uncomfortable over such taxing journeys and inconvenient arrangements, expressed this to Haridas Tammewar and Avinash Patil also, but not much relief. In Jalgaon on 3rd October first meeting was in History dept. of a local college with Hod having good interest in Bhagat Singh. Jalgaon is known for Rajguru’s Bhusaval bomb case in courts. Spoke on Rajguru as well.  Second lecture was in Thim College-a Muslim minority college with lot of hijab wearing girls in audience, spoke in Urdu at this college. At Jalgaon visited Gandhi research centre set up by a Corporate house on a hillside. Here we met Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who is also part of its management. Saw the highly fee paid museum with audio support, wrote some critical remarks, as the institution seems to be appeasing RSS perceptions on Gandhi. Bought here towel and shoulder bag and moved to Dhule, a place where Avinash Patil, President MANS lives. We got late by an hour or so, but arrangement in lecture hall with trade union support were good. Had a good two-hour session with an impressive audience. After having dinner with Avinash and activists, we again had to move in night to Nasik by car, reaching by 2.30 am in morning in a lodge found with difficulty. Again, three people including car driver in one room. But in Nasik, had some rest on the next day as we spent two nights here. 4th October morning lecture was in a junior college to senior secondary Hindi students in a classroom with only 40 minutes time, still was able to connect a bit, but not so satisfactory. No discussion as students were to rush for their buses. Was annoyed with local organiser, who was almost dictating. One lecture was cancelled in Nasik, so took the liberty to visit Kalaram Mandir, site of Dr. Ambedkar Satyagraha in 1927. There was a lecture on Bhagat Singh and Gandhi in the evening at Kusumagraj Bhavan, built, in memory of the famous Marathi poet. This was a very interesting interaction as Socialists were part of this gathering. Nasik organiser took us to his home for a while. Got some rest on 4th October night at Nasik.
   On 5th October morning started a journey for Pune, stopping for breakfast on the way. It was beautiful hill areas journey, crossing Rajguru ancestor’s village Chakan and later village Kheda, now renamed as Rajguru Nagar. Reached Pune around 12 pm, stayed in the guest house of SM Joshi Bhavan. Light rains, after lunch decided to visit Amur-birthplace of Savarkar with a museum now in place, it was a bit away and the lecture was in the evening, but we made it. It was interesting to visit Savarkar ancestor house clicked some historic photographs. The house was quite big and old, so he was from well to do family. Amur has a lot of Muslim population as well, but the town has no communal atmosphere as we were told. In the evening had good gathering and interaction in Joshi Bhavan auditorium itself, which was perhaps better than many other lectures.  Datta Desai met but left before the end of the lecture, as he had other engagements. Stayed for the night, as Tammaware has gone with his son, who was living in Pune.
   On 6th October morning we travelled to Kolhapur while stopping at Ichhalkaranji for a lecture to young trainees of a private institution. Reached Kolhapur by 4 pm, stopped at Comrade Govind Pansare home. Megha Pansare was away to Goa to meet her son and Uma Tai was supposed to be at home but was not there. Went to a hotel owned by MANS activist Seema Patil, a big hotel had coffee with Seema, her daughter and activists. There was little time as we were to catch a train from Kolhapur at 8.30 to Mumbai. Went to the meeting hall, delivered a lecture on same typical topic but with the changing audience. It was impressive at Kolhapur too; I wish I had more time here and not to rush. But MANS has made the programme too tight, so took the train to Mumbai. Seema and other activists came to see off at the railway station, felt the warmth of them, gifted a copy of Understanding Bhagat Singh to Seema, who had earlier gifted a token gift of a pen to me.
     We reached Thane station an hour plus late were picked up at the station by Vandna Tai son, taken to her home. Had bath and breakfast. Vasudevan organisation meeting was in the evening, had some rest and lunch at home. The meeting was in a school, the audience was not much, yet spoke this time more on Bhagat Singh’s ideas, some interaction also took place. After the meeting had dinner with few comrades. Later dropped at Vandna Tai house, Tammewar had left in the morning to Pune to be with his son family. Vandna Shinde is senior MANS activist. On 8th morning got ready by 9 am, as there was a MANS organised meeting at Kalyan on Dussehra holiday. We went to the meeting place but were taken to an activist couple home nearby. Their son is an artist. We returned to the hall for a meeting, it was good gathering even on Dussehra day, including a good number of women activists. It was a lively interaction here with activists. After the meeting had lunch with the activist couple. I took Mumbai local to VT station now called Chhatrapati Maharaj station, took one and a half hour to reach. Took a taxi to Harbour Heights Colaba-Rajni Desai house and RUPE office visited once earlier. Rajni Desai has now turned 82 years, having a problem with her walking as she broke her bone in an accident. But she is as active as before.  On 9th October there was a press conference at Press club, so left Rajni home. Met Jatin Desai and Nirupama Subramanian at Press club. From Press club moved to Dadar Shramik hall for final meeting along with Vasudevan. There first spoke to Jyoti Pumwani for Mirror now feature. Anthony came and met him after decades. Amrik Gill also came and I could not even recognise him. The final meeting on 9th October-martyrdom day of Che Guevara proved to be much lively, focussed more on Bhagat Singh’s revolutionary ideas. After the meeting had dinner with activists and all came to see me off at the lodge arranged by Vasudevan. It was a comfortable night after many days and at the end of the hectic lecture tour. On 10th October morning Vasudevan came to see me off at the airport,.
          I have been delivering lectures on Bhagat Singh thought, throughout the country and abroad since many years, but this lecture tour was unique, as it was throughout a state, though not covered fully, yet covered quite widely delivering a total of twenty lectures, an average of two per day.  Maharashtra is a big state and there has been a tradition of social awareness movements since very long. This is also interesting that after Hindi, it was only Marathi language in which complete writings of Bhagat Singh were translated by Dr. Datta Desai in 2008, with an introduction by Justice P B Sawant. The book has been quite popular and its an updated second edition came out in 2016. Interestingly it was during this tour that Datta Desai edited-translated Bhagat Singh’s writings got more focussed upon, as I referred more to Marathi edition of Bhagat Singh’s writings than my own edited Hindi or English collections, which is natural as in Maharashtra, more people will opt for Marathi than for Hindi or English. Secondly though MANS has asked me to focus on Gandhi and Bhagat Singh in the context of the freedom struggle of India and especially in the present communally charged atmosphere from ruling party/parties in the country and Maharashtra, with both Gandhi and Bhagat Singh being presented in a falsified manner, I focussed more on Bhagat Singh’s ideological perspective as it was a lesser-known aspect of his role and personality in the freedom struggle and the audience was also more interested in knowing this aspect of Bhagat Singh.
   Maharashtra Andh Nirmulan Samiti(MANS) set up by Dr. Narender Dabholkar in 1989 has completed three decades of its existence and it lost its founder and mentor Dr. Dabholkar at the hands of Hindutva religious bigots, yet it has grown even more after the loss of Dr. Dabholkar, it has a well-organised activist organisation at grass root level and many retired personnel have dedicated themselves at full-time level. They find great satisfaction themselves acquiring rational knowledge and further spreading it as a mission. Most of them contribute financially to the organisation and MANS got influence over many young activists as well. This lecture tour on Bhagat Singh’s ideas impressed MANS activists as Bhagat Singh also represent rational and scientific ideas as part of his revolutionary thinking. The lecture tour got associated with Mumbai based radical Trade union Solidarity Committee/Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch

, who organised at least two meetings of trade union and youth activists. Both Trade union Solidarity Committee and MANS complimented each other by joint participation in events and even in sharing expenses of my tour. On the whole this lecture tour has been a learning experience for me also as I interacted with activists with rich ground experience of working among people.
   It was a fantastic and productive tour!