Inquilab Zindabad... Vande Mataram… the airfield in the nondescript village of Narela in Outer Delhi echoed on Thursday with slogans recalling India’s freedom movement as the closest surviving relatives of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Chandrashekhar Azad gathered to commemorate the death anniversary of the martyrs.
Carrying forward the torch
“The enthusiasm is infectious and I can understand why my grandfather gave his life for the country,” said Yadvinder Singh Sandhu, 25-year-old grandnephew of Bhagat Singh.
Sandhu was part of a celebration organised by the All India Shaheed Bhagat Singh Brigade, a voluntary organization dedicated to the values of Bhagat Singh.
Sandhu runs a charitable trust and a non-political brigade named after Singh. He also looks after the running of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Management and Technology in Faridabad. His sister Mithila Sandhu runs the women’s cell as part of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Brigade.
“My grand-uncle used to say illiteracy is the enemy of mankind. So we have dedicated our lives to propagating education,” said Sandhu.
“When Bhagat Singh was a teenager an astrologer had predicted he would end up with a precious necklace or the hangman’s noose) around his neck,” Sandhu narrates one of the many anecdotes he has grown up hearing from Singh’s sister Bibi Prakash Kaur.
Disillusioned with the system
In contrast, Chandrashekhar Azad’s nephew Sujit Kumar Tiwari Azad is a disillusioned man. Tiwari blames the government for forgetting the martyrs’ sacrifices.
In order to continue the family values of strength and strong advocacy, Tiwari joined the Shiv Sena. But soon after the Sena’s attacks on North Indians in Mumbai, he resigned and formed his own party. “It is called the Hindustan Republican Party and it is non-political. We try to help people in small ways,” said Tiwari.
The need for another revolution
For 83-year-old Santosh Thapar, being Sukhdev’s sister-in-law is all about attending functions and ceremonies.
“The legacy is too important to be forgotten.”
She doesn’t know much about politics but felt today’s youth is not as committed towards the country. “Back then we had a stake in our country’s future. But today that involvement is missing. Perhaps we need another uprising. Another mutiny to bring out the next generation of Sukhdevs and Bhagat Singhs,” she said.