As i grew up in India and always admired the freedom fighters and the struggle for Independence.I read all i could lay my hand son about the martyrs.
Bhagat Singh and his entourage were central to my interest for their zeal and love for the country.That was the time of my childhood.I was born two years after the Indian Independence and lived in several cities as child in border state of Punjab.
At that time only pictures we had seen were of Bhagat Singh with a Hat. We thought of him as essential Indian freedom fighter.See how history can be rewritten and recreated to make a point.Role of Sikh regiment during British rule is not very patriotic rajas's of Pepsu were sort of protected puppets of the British.Now it seems you may not find a picture or art depicting Bhagat Singh without turban.None such picture existed of him to best of my memory.
When we visited museum in his village Khatkar Kalan on the main road at that time his mother was alive.These two totally incompetent persons without respect and dignity or information were caretakers of the place .We were attracted by the sign .They were relaxing on a charpai.Were not happy to be disturbed .They charged us an entrance fee and have confiscated our cameras . After paying the fee they did not even had courtesy to guide us about the exhibits. I am sure a middle school kid even in India could have put a better exhibit together. Displays were poorly maintained and unframed pictures of the events and newspapers . I would have a better representation of the museum if i was allowed to make video of the Museum.In total including conversations with the care takers/guards it would have been less than ten minutes. Their were no more than 30 pictures in total. If it had some paintings and sculptures depicting his life would have brought color to the exhibits.
Now i read that today Government of Punjab is hosting a big event where 2000 buses are coming for celebration and many very large tents with stages have been set up .120 acre has been cleared and farmers have been compensated 20000 Rs per acre for the use of land.
I also read another contemporary of Bhagat Singh is living in extreme poverty and no body has felt it fit to take care of his meager needs .They will miss him and have a great memorial service when he is dead.
Here is the repor in Tribune from Chandigarh
Ferozepur, March 23
Harbans Singh, an associate of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who experienced third-degree torture from British police, claims that he lost vision in the one eye due to torture, remained in jail for two months and provided safe shelter to these national martyrs for about two years to facilitate independence for the country. He is penniless and bedridden in his small house in Gandhi Nagar here.
Gripped by extreme poverty, the sacrifices made by Harbans Singh to attain the freedom of the country are yet to be recognised by both the Centre and the Punjab Government. No monetary help has come to him so far despite the fact that he has reached the last leg of his life.
The plight of Harbans Singh and members of his family could be judged from the fact that his son and four grandsons are working as iron smiths to eke out a living for the past many decades.
What adds insult to injury is the fact that a Cabinet rank minister of Punjab once promised him that he would be given Rs 1 lakh in recognition of his contribution to freedom struggle but the money never reached him.
Belonging to Bagrian village of Lahore district, Harbans, who has crossed 100 years of age, took the British police head on whenever they raided his premises, situated on his farms, to arrest Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who would stay there for days together to keep their freedom struggle going.
“In one of the raids, conducted by British police from Lahore in my house in 1927, my right arm was broken by them and hence fingers of that hand got twisted and ceased to work properly,” he recalled, adding that this gave him a stronger resolve to helping Bhagat Singh and his comrades.
Another raid was conducted at my house on July 12, 1928 when Bhagat Singh and his associates were three. “I was arrested by Din Mohammad, SHO, police station, Khana Kasha, Lahore on July 15, 1928.”
“After I came out of jail, I again came in contact with Bhagat Singh and others. I attended all the court hearings of the case, for which Bhagat Singh and his associates were facing trials in a Lahore court,” he said.