A motley group of followers of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev Saturday paid tributes to the trio on their 88th martyrdom anniversary at Shadman Chowk in Lahore city of Pakistan, the spot which was once a part of a jail where they were hanged by the British on March 23, 1931.
The spot reverberated with the chants of ‘Bhagat Singh Zinda Hai’ and ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh Teri Soch Tey, Pehra Deyange Thok Ke’ as Lahore residents, including women and children, with candles in their hands, paid tributes to the martyrs.
The initiative was spearheaded by Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation, which is run by Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi who had also filed a petition in Lahore High Court to rename Shadman Chowk as ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.’
The mood at Shadman Chowk Saturday remained sombre as artistes paid musical tributes to the martyrs.
“Ae Qaidey Azam… tera ehsaan hai ehsaan…naksha badal ke rakh diya iss mulk ka tune…likha hai iss zameen pe shaheedon ne lahu se…,” sung a young woman paying tributes to the martyrs. Students and youth groups, also raised slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’, and ‘Bhagat Singh tera mission adhoora, hum sab milke karenge poora’.
In a major development, the district administration of Lahore for the first time in its official document acknowledged Shadman Chowk as “Bhagat Singh Chowk” and addressed Bhagat Singh and his companions as “Great Revolutionary Leaders,” claimed Qureshi, on whose petition the Lahore High Court had directed Mayor of Lahore in September last year, to take decision on renaming the chowk. Till now, no official notification or orders have been issued in this regard by Lahore administration.
However, in a letter dated March 21 (copy with The Indian Express) issued by the office of deputy commissioner Lahore, allowing foolproof security arrangements for the tributes ceremony was organized on Saturday, the additional deputy commissioner (headquarters), Lahore, has written, “I have been directed to request that appropriate security arrangements may be ensured for 88th anniversary of great revolutionary leaders Bhagat Singh and his companions Raj Guru and Sukhdev on Saturday 23rd March, 2019 at Bhagat Singh Chowk (Shadman Chowk), Lahore to avoid any untoward incident”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Qureshi said, “Following our petition in February last year in which we pleaded that government should rename Shadman chowk after the martyrs, the Lahore High Court had directed Mayor of Lahore in September to take a decision on it. Since then, it is for the first time that any official document of Pakistan government and Lahore district administration has acknowledged and recognized Shadman Chowk as Bhagat Singh Chowk. This is a big victory for Bhagat Singh’s followers in Pakistan who are trying to keep his spirit, values, teachings and philosophy alive amid the tension between the two countries. We are hoping that soon an official notification will also be issued announcing renaming of the chowk. We are also trying to get statues of the martyrs installed at the chowk as it is demand of common people of Pakistan.”
“It will be highly ignorant and unfair if people in Pakistan forget that Bhagat Singh laid his life not only for India but us too. He dreamed of seeing an independent India which also included Pakistan. This the land where he breathed last. Let’s not divide his martyrdom into two halves. People of both India and Pakistan should respect his sacrifice and remember him fondly,” he added.