Hundreds of activists from peace and human rights bodies on Wednesday raised their voice for Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial at Shadman chowk in Lahore, the venue where the martyr was hanged along with Rajguru and Sukhdev eighty years ago.
The portraits of Bhagat Singh were kept on the roundabout, popularly known as ‘fawara chowk’ in the heart of Lahore, as the activists enacted a play and then the candles were lit as a tribute to the martyr.
The crowds gathered to watch the actors in the role of Bhagat Singh and the jailor of the Lahore Central Jail a night before the hanging on March 31, 1931.
“Could you please talk ten minutes later, it is my turn (to act) now,” Huma, one of the activists said politely on phone from Lahore. She explained how the crowds gathered on the four sides to watch the play at the roundabout.
The noises came from behind as peace activist Iqbal Qaiser said it was for the first time that a play on Bhagat Singh was enacted at the venue where they had been protesting for the memorial for years now.
‘Punjab Lok Rah’ enacted ‘Chhipan to pehla’ by Indian playwright Varinder Raman and the other organisations joining the protests for the memorial included ‘farog-e-aman’, faroshan khayali’ and Foundation Pakistan.
The Pakistan Evacuee Board Trust chairman Asaf Hashmi, Qaiser said, had come to the venue as a government representative and announced naming the school where Bhagat Singh had studied after the martyr’s name.
Hashmi also announced that he would take up their demand of naming the roundabot Shaheed Bhagat Singh chowk, Qaiser said.
It was in 1958 that this roundabout came into being and named Shadman chowk when most of the jail building was razed to ground during the ruling of General Ayub Khan and the area was cleared off for traffic flow.
In 2008, the then Prisons minister Chaudhary Afzal had dedicated the roundabout to Shaheed Bhagat Singh while addressing a Sikh congregation at Nankana Sahib on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s birthday.
The peace and human rights activists had initially been facing the police action also for their protests at the venue during the military regime, Qaiser pointed out.
Deep, an activist writer who had been bringing the Lahore’s youth to India on various occasions, said both India and Pakistan have a common history of freedom struggle, besides a common culture and traditions across the borders in the erstwhile Punjab.