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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

AAP govt’s ‘deshbhakti’ push: Bhagat Singh’s life gets new look

Bringing history closer to people by making archival material accessible to them through social media will be part of the Delhi government's efforts to mark 75 years of Independence.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: March 22, 2021 7:34:29 am
AAP, Bhagat SinghDelhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia flag off events to mark 75 years of Independence at Connaught Place. (Photo: Twitter/@Delhi_Archives)

Bringing history closer to people by making archival material accessible to them through social media will be part of the Delhi government’s efforts to mark 75 years of Independence. For this, the Delhi Archives will be sharing historical material from Bhagat Singh’s life, up to March 23.

The government will be holding an event at Connaught Place on March 23 to mark Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary.

Social media handles of Delhi Archives have been sharing archival material on his and his companions’ lives. Among the documents shared is a letter written by B K Dutt from Lahore Jail in 1929, complaining to the prison superintendent about discrimination against Indian prisoners and raising the call for the famous 1929 prison hunger strike.

“Again I must mention that when a European breaks an ordinary law in order to fulfil his selfish motive, he gets all kind of privileges in the Jail. He will get well ventilated room with electric fittings, best food (such as milk, butter, toast, meat, etc.) and good clothing, while we politicals [political prisoners] are deprived of such things,” the letter reads.

Demanding better food, no labour, access to literature and newspapers, toilet supplies and civil dress, the letter states, “… I have begun hunger-strike since 14th June 1929. My comrade Bhagat Singh in Mianwali Jain is also on hunger-strike for these very reasons and I will not give up my hunger strike will [till] the Government exceeds [accedes] to our (I and Bhagat Singh) demands.”

Other documents which have been shared include arrangements made by British authorities to prevent demonstrations following the executions of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. More documents on the trial and execution and reactions of the public, press and government will be shared.

The digitisation of archival material and making them available for free on the Delhi Archives website has been a significant step by the Delhi government.

“Even if people have an interest, it’s difficult for them to dig deep into the archives and find the time for it, so the Delhi Archives is engaging in public outreach to bring people interesting pieces of history. It is Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s idea that bringing these documents from Bhagat Singh’s life takes us close to history as it happened, and see the courage of the revolutionaries and the fear of British authorities,” said Abhinandita Mathur, cultural advisor to the Delhi government.

As part of its ‘deshbhakti budget’, the Delhi government had announced earlier this month that it would be conducting events to commemorate the lives and work of Bhagat Singh and B R Ambedkar and has set aside Rs 10 crore each for this.

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