She was just a ten year old child, when her brother Shahhed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh was hanged in 1931 by the British rulers. Bibi Prakash Kaur, the last surviving real sister of revolutionary breathed her last in Toronto on the day when the country was celebrating Bhagat’s birthday on September 28.
Kaur, who is also called Sumitra in family, experienced the trauma of her brother’s hanging from the days her childhood to her entire life and was just proud of the supreme sacrifice her brother made for his motherland. She was 94 and was the last direct link to Bhagat Singh.
Prakash Kaur was visited often by the scholars who had been trying to look deeper in to the life of Bhagat Singh. Chaman Lal, a retired JNU professor who visited her recently told The Indian Express about her death and said that she always cherished the memories of her brother. “Though she did not get enough time to play with her brother as he took to the revolution and was more busy with his mission than sparing time for his family which he had to intentionally avoid because of the circumstances. But Prakash Kaur was privy to certain facts of his life which came to her notice as one of the family members. She was always proud of his brother,” said Lal who is known for his work on the Bhagat Singh.
She came in prominence in Punjab during the days of terrorism when her daughter’s brother in law Kuljit Singh Dhatt was killed in an encounter in Hoshiarpur in July 1989. Because of her relation to the slain youth it became a big issue in the state. The police claimed that Dhatt had militant links which was always denied by Kaur. The family claimed that Dhatt was killed in a fake encounter by five Punjab policemen. Prakash Kaur fought a legal battle for Dhatt and to clear the family of the stain.
“She fought the battle for Dhatt with a grit and had been following up the case from abroad and coming to the country,” said Lal. Ironically, the case moved after Prakash Kaur knocked the doors of Supreme Court to get justice. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists of Canada who had gone to her to greet her on the birth anniversary of the revolutionary in Canada were the last visitors to her. Though she was not able to respond as she was bedridden for the past so 6/7 years. Kaur lost her husband Harbans Singh more than a decade ago.
Bhagat Singh’s family was quite large; including himself; they were nine siblings-Jagat Singh, Bhagat Singh, Amar Kaur, Kulbir Singh, Shakuntla Devi, Kultar Singh, Prakash Kaur, Ranbir Singh& Rajinder Singh. Jagat Singh died very young, while others lived longer, apart from Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom at 23. Prior to Bibi Prakash Kaur, Kultar Singh died in 2004, at the age of 86 years. Kultar Singh had remained MLA and minister in N D Tiwari led UP Government. Kulbir Singh remained Jansangh MLA from Punjab in early sixties.