The invitation to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to release Bhagat Singh’s jail notebook extended by a kin of the martyr has shown how the family is divided over his true legacy.
The invitation to Modi by Yadvinder Singh Sandhu, Gurgaon-based grandson of Bhagat Singh’s younger brother Kulbir Singh, had irked scholars and some family members of the martyr.
Martyr’s Ludhiana-based nephew Prof Jagmohan Singh, son of Amar Kaur, and other scholars had written letters to oppose the move saying Bhagat Singh fought against communalism, so Modi didn’t qualify to release the book.
But, Sandhu said he didn’t regret having invited Modi to release the book. “The youth admires Modi and he represents people, so why can’t he be invited to the function?” he asked. About charges of communalism against Modi, Sandhu said no such charge had been proved by a court. He said the option of inviting other mass leaders was also open. “It may be Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or a freedom fighter,” he added.
On the other hand, Prof Jagmohan Singh said the beauty of Bhagat Singh lay in his writings.
“Whatever he thought, he penned everything, you can find his writings against communalism in his high court statements or the Naujawan Bharat Sabha documents. That is why communal ideologies failed miserably when they tried to appropriate him,” he said.
Another nephew of the martyr, Zorawar Singh, Saharanpurbased elder son of Kultar Singh, said, “Bhagat Singh’s ideology was close to communism. There is no doubt about it. His ideology doesn’t gell with communal politics.”
Abhay Singh Sandhu, SAS Nagar-based nephew of Bhagat Singh and Kulbir Singh’s son, who is also a PPP leader, said, “There is nothing wrong in Modi releasing the book. After all, he is an elected chief minister,” he said, adding, “When the book is already in cirulation for decades, where is the need to release it again?”
Jagmohan said, “My mother used to say that being a relative of Bhagat Singh is not important; what is important is to understand his ideas.”
Delhi-based Maj Gen Sheonan Singh (retd), nephew of Bhagat Singh and son of Ranbir Singh, said, “We were accidentally born into Bhagat Singh’s family, which hardly matters. More important is to understand what he wrote. Earlier, one of his nephews got the same book released from Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Now, it is just another attempt to encash Bhagat Singh’s legacy.”
Bhagat Singh’s jail notebook was handed over to Kulbir a day before the 23-year-old revolutionary was executed by the British at Lahore Central Jail on March 23, 1931.