Poster perfect: Bhagat Singh gets fielded in Panjab University polls | education | Hindustan Times
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Poster perfect: Bhagat Singh gets fielded in Panjab University polls

Bhagat Singh looks far more credible than an array of highly photo-shopped pictures of party leaders.

education Updated: Sep 02, 2017 20:03 IST
Ifrah Mufti
A poster carrying Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s picture put up by the Students for Society.
A poster carrying Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s picture put up by the Students for Society.(Anil Dayal/HT)

Poster te laga banda badal sakda hai.., Bhagat Singh nahi (The man on the poster can change, but Bhagat Singh will not).” Senior leaders of Students for Society (SFS) speak in one voice when they talk about Shaheed Bhagat Singh, their mascot for the Panjab University polls.

While posters of other parties have photos of individuals, SFS has decided to appropriate Bhagat Singh as their poster boy. A leader explains the reason, “We are not led by an individual, but by the ideology of Bhagat Singh.”

The freedom fighter, who was all of 21 when he was hanged to death, has a hold both on the hearts and eyeballs of students. That is evident as his photo captioned ‘Inqilab Zindabad’stands out on a wall plastered with pictures of 21 individuals, representing the 21 student organisations in the fray this year.

SFS leaders say their hero has a far greater resonance with the students than other living student leaders. The white poster with Bhagat Singh shining on it also represents their politics of consensus. The poster wasn’t the brainchild of an individual but a collective decision.

“Putting out a party poster with a picture of Bhagat Singh was an ideological consensus. We strongly believe that any person we may display on the poster, may change or back out anytime, but Bhagat Singh won’t,” explained Raman.

The martyr certainly looks far more credible than an array of highly photo-shopped pictures of party leaders.

Harpreet Kaur, an SFS leader, who is wreathed in smiles as she gazes at the poster, says “SFS does not follow the ‘Bai ji’ ideology, wherein one man dictates his terms. We are governed by an ideology, where every member has an equal say. Bhagat Singh encapsulates it perfectly.”

Sociologists and political scientists on the campus called it a master stroke.

Professor Ashutosh Kumar, a political scientist at PU, says it’s a clever way of essaying their agenda while appealing to youngsters of all hues. “I think the party’s agenda is quite clear through the poster because the student elections are for the youth, and Bhagat Singh is a youth icon for everybody in India, be it an ABVP supporter or anyone else.”

“Bhagat Singh,” he added, “was above all religions, and castes. He was known for secularism, nationalism and communal harmony. All student parties can print his picture on their party posters.” Whether they do so, remains to be seen.