“The recognition of the role played by Punjabis in the freedom struggle needs to be recognized and when the neighboring country has named a chowk after Shaheed e Azam Bhagat Singh, it is rather unfortunate that our country has still not accorded the status of martyrs to them.”
These views were expressed here today by the Cooperation and Jails Minister S. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on the occasion of state level function commemorating the 112th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
Paying tributes to the martyr, the minister said that now that the efforts of revolutionaries have succeeded in securing independence for the country, it is high time that they be given martyr status instead of being called rebels.
Expressing anguish at the non inclusion of freedom fighters from Punjab in the names written at Andaman and Nicobar Jail, he said that the jail was named kalapani only because of Punjabi freedom fighters being confined there. He divulged that he has even written a letter to the Union Government expressing his anguish.
The minister also mentioned the war against social inequality and injustice waged by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Shaheed Bhagat Singh in their respective times and called them the great revolutionaries of their era.
On one hand, Guru Nanak Dev Ji raised his voice against superstitions and named the ruler of that time Babur as ‘Jabar’ meaning cruel, on the other hand Shaheed Bhagat Singh chose the path of armed struggle against the British rulers.
The minister further said that it is very unfortunate that we have today lost the courage to call a spade, a spade. He called for taking forward the war against injustice waged by these two great personalities.
Mentioning of him being witness to the mother of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Mata Vidyavati being accorded the title of ‘Punjab Mata’ during Giani Zail Singh government, S. Randhawa mentioned that it is our duty to give respect and accord dignity to the families of the martyrs.
He also added that during Giani Zail Singh government, his father S. Santokh Singh Randhawa was a minister who always made it a point to bow before this land while passing through Khatkar Kalan.
Totally rejecting the culture of holiday on the birth anniversaries of the great personalities, the minister instead advocated holding of seminars in schools and colleges to educate the youth about their ideology.
S. Randhawa on the occasion started two youth clubs of the District based at village mandhali and kahma exclusively for girls and also honoured the family members of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Shaheed Sukhdev.
The family members included Mr. Kiranjit Singh (Son of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s younger brother S. Kultar Singh) and his wife Mrs. Manjit Kaur, Granddaughter of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s Uncle Mr. Swaran Singh –Jasmeet Kaur, Nephew of Shaheed Sukhdev –Mr. Ashok Thapar, Sandeep Thapar and grandson (Distant Relation) Mr. Tribhuvan Thapar.
The highlight of today’s function was the presentation of Kaveeshri by the students of the Government Senior Secondary Smart School Mukandpur, Play titled ‘Basanti Chola’ by artists of Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi, Chandigarh and Bhangra by Sikh National College, Banga team in the auditorium of the museum.
S. Randhawa also paid floral tributes at the monument of S. Kishan Singh (Father of Shaheed Bhagat Singh) before doing so at the statue of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. The minister also started a medical camp and planted saplings at the museum complex.
Among other dignitaries present on the occasion included MLA Balachaur Chaudhary Darshan Lal Mangupur, Deputy Commissioner Mr. Vinay Bublani, SSP Alka Meena, ADC (G) Mr. Aditya Uppal, SDM Mr. Jasbir Singh, ex MLA Nawanshahar Guriqbal Kaur, District President Congress Mr. Prem Chand Bhima, ex district president Mr. Satbir Singh Pallijhikki, Dr. Harpreet Singh Kainth, Rana Kuldeep Singh Jadla.