Rare documents and images, including a graphic depiction of the hanging of Bhagat Singh and his two aides Rajguru and Sukhdev, which were banned during the colonial era, are now being published in three huge volumes.
Titled, 'Teen Shaheed' (three martyrs), the lithographed image published in Calcutta (now Kolkata) also depicts a cell filled with revolutionaries behind them and on the right side shows a ship full of people being transported to 'Kala Pani' (Cellular Jail in Andaman Islands) while Lord Krishna is shown on the top in a halo, showering blessings.
It was banned and seized by the British government after the trio were hanged in Lahore in 1931.
This graphic depiction of the hanging of the trio, captioned with the famous couplet "Rang de basanti chola..." was found in the Bihar State Archives (BSA), buried among some of the rare documents that were proscribed across the country during the colonial era.
"The civil disobedience movement in 1930 had raised the national consciousness of the masses. And, the imperial government feared unrest after the hanging of the trio, and hence many literatures they thought could trigger anti-government resentment were impounded.
"So, over the last three years, we went through our own records here at the State Archives and collected and collated documents and literatures which were proscribed during the Raj. Though 80-90% of such records pertain to Bihar, there are records linked with others states too like Punjab, Delhi, United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), Bengal and Madras (now Tamil Nadu)," BSA Director Vijoy Kumar told PTI.
He said the work titled 'Proscribed Documents in the Records of the Bihar State Archives – Vol I, Vol II and Vol III', with focus on the period 1915-1947, is currently "in press" and would be out by March end.
Other records pertain to Bihar Congress leader Sri Krishna Singh, who in 1923 was charged with sedition and arrested for writing and acting in his play 'Bharat Durdasha', depicting the economic exploitation of the country, in his hometown Haveli Kharagpur in Munger.
Singh later became the first chief minister of the state in Independent India.
The BSA director said literatures distributed by revolutionaries and publication of "incendiary material", especially of "nationalist-themed" pamphlets and leaflets by various language presses and newspapers were confiscated to counter any "anti-British" feeling among the masses.
"Several pamphlets published by Hindi publications like 'Janta', 'Yuvak', 'Himalaya', 'Tarun Bharat', 'Hunkar', 'Desh' and 'Yogi', among others were seized. Poet Rambriksh Benipuri was jailed for his writing in the 'Yuvak' in 1929. Other pamphlets included 'Bijay Bharat' (1932), 'Azad Bharat Barsh'" Kumar said.
BSA archivist Bharti Sharma, who was part of the core team for this project said, "Some of the pamphlets even had very funny names like – 'Jail ki Chat (1923)', 'Bhanda Fod (1930)', 'Cawnpore ka Daya', 'Chur Chur ka Murabba' and Kali Prasad's 'Gazal ka Siatara' published by Vijay Press of Muzuffarpur.