The country’s political class has bungled once again on facts related to firebrand freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
Five months after Opposition leader
LK Advani got the reason for the martyr’s hanging by the British wrong in his book, Singh’s physical appearance, in a statue unveiled in Parliament on August 15, has angered his family and historians.
They have pointed out glaring mistakes in the 18-feet bronze statue, made at an estimated cost of Rs 50 lakh.
Professor Jagmohan, the martyr’s nephew, reacted with outrage: “As a revolutionary, Bhagat Singh was known to sport a European hat. The bust doesn’t do justice to his persona during that historic period. Family members were not consulted on the statue,” he told Hindustan Times, on the phone from Ludhiana.
Says well-known historian Bipan Chandra: “Bhagat Singh did not wear a turban for three years between 1928 till he was hanged on March 23, 1931, and he did not have a beard.”
Professor Chaman Lal of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, who has edited documents on Singh released by the central government, said the error was unpardonable. “Four real pictures were available to the government and were handed over to the parliamentary committee.”
No one is owning up to the mistake.
Members of the joint parliamentary committee on installation of portraits and statues refused to comment.
Anil Sutar, son of well-known sculptor Ram Sutar, who made the statue, said: “The committee asked us to prepare a statue similar to one in Hussainiwala, where he was cremated. In that Bhagat Singh does wear a turban.”