While he is being celebrated as a martyr of the Indian freedom struggle, the blood relatives of Madan Lal Dhingra — hanged in Britain for killing Indian Army officer William Hutt Curzon Wyllie, who is said to have been his father’s close friend — continue to refuse to acknowledge his legacy.
No descendants of Dhingra participated in any of the two separate state-level functions, organised in the city to mark his death anniversary on Monday.
Madan Lal Dhingra had been disowned by his father Gitta Mall, who had even published his decision as advertisements in newspapers, before he killed William Wyllie. Dhingra was hanged in a British prison on August 17, 1909.
“It seems the family members are still respecting the decision of Gitta Mall, who was the Chief Medical Officer in Amritsar at that time and enjoyed respect among the British. I attempted to get them to acknowledge Dhingra’s legacy but they are reluctant to do so,” said Dr Vishav Bandhu, who completed his doctorate on Dhingra’s life. “He was not only disowned by the family but he was also declared mentally upset by them,” Bandhu added.
“I had invited Dhingra’s kin to the state-level function when I was health minister but they declined to come,” said BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla, instrumental in getting Dhingra’s name inducted into the list of martyrs. The family also sold Dhingra’s ancestral house despite protests from some social and political organisations. “I offered them a good price for the house but they refused. We wanted to convert it into museum but the family sold it to a private party,” Chawla said.
Among the mysteries of his life has been the reason for Dhingra targetting William Wyllie. “One of the reasons must have been that William Wyllie was very close to Dhingra’s father. Secondly, he wanted to kill a reputed British officer and William Wyllie fit that bill. Dhingra also held an impression that William Wyllie was responsible for providing education to Indian youth in Britain that was making the youth loyal to British and disconnecting them from their Indian origin,” Bandhu said.
The Indian Express also attempted to contact the grand-nephews of Dhingra but they refused to talk.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister Anil Joshi presided over a state-level function at BBK DAV College in Amritsar while Chawla organised a separate function to remember Dhingra.
Apart from the family members, SAD and Congress also remained away from these functions as his legacy has been aggressively owned by BJP.