To honour freedom fighters
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Union Home Ministry has conveyed that it has no record to show whether Bhagat Singh has been declared a martyr. Bhagat Singh may rule a million heart, his supreme sacrifice inspiring many a revolution, but in Government of India records, he is not a martyr.
This was in reply to a RTI (Right To Information) query put forth by the legendary freedom fighter’s grandnephew, Yadhavendra Singh, seeking to know whether Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev who were hanged together, had been declared martyrs and if not what the Government was doing to get them the tag.Based on this reply, Yadhavendra approached the Ministry of Home Affairs to press for declaring them as martyrs. The Ministry, however, says that there is no system or policy in place to declare those who died in freedom struggle as martyrs. Only Defence Ministry does so for armed forces personnel.
In fact, personnel from the para military forces, which function under the Home Ministry are not declared martyrs even though they fight as bravely and suffer great casualties combating Naxalites and other militants. The death of 20 uniformed men in the Kedarnath chopper crash in June is a cruel example of this irony.
His appointment with the Home Secretary is yet to be finalized but Yadhavendra is also planning to meet President Pranab Mukherjee with the families of Rajguru and Sukhdev. He hopes that the President will be more receptive to such an idea. After all, the nation already calls Bhagat Singh “Shaheed” (martyr). But in case it does not work out as expected, a nation-wide campaign would be launched with the support of several families of freedom fighters. The grandnephew is certainly on the right track on this issue.
Four films have been shot on the life and times of Bhagat Singh. The first was black and white starring Shammi Kapoor in the lead role. The second, also black and white, had Manoj Kumar as Bhagat Singh. In the last two years two more films were coloured by Bobby Deol and Ajay Devgan who was awarded the best actor honour.
Of late also, television series have been aired about other freedom fighter such as Mangal Pnadey who was also hanged, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Siraj ud-Daulah and several others which imply that Indians are finally beginning to appreciate their sacrifices. And the value that history teaches us to learn from it. For those who do not learn from the mistakes in history are certainly bound to repeat them.
One hopes that the Ministry of Home Affairs would look into the matter and come up with something concrete that would honor the freedom fighters who died struggling for the country’s freedom from the yoke of British rule. Keeping proper records of past history would inspire and encourage the future generations to separate the chaff from the grains and aspire to record better things.
As far as Naga freedom fighters are concerned, they have a place in our history. The only problem is which faction will certify the “true national workers/ freedom fighters”. All the best to the ongoing efforts of the grandnephew who has a good chance to succeed.