Nehru’s close link with Bhagat Singh

I read Prof Chaman Lal’s article “JNU must have Bhagat Singh Chair” (Sunday Oped, Jan 7). Supported by a galaxy of scholars and leading intellectuals, he has suggested the setting up of the Bhagat Singh Chair at JNU because of Jawaharlal Nehru’s “close association” with Bhagat Singh.

What was Bhagat Singh’s close association with Jawaharlal Nehru? The Tribune (August 10, 1929) had reported that on August 9, 1929, Nehru went to the Central Jail in Lahore, and met Bhagat Singh and his comrades who had gone on hunger strike. He greatly admired their patriotic spirit. He also paid a glowing tribute to their sacrifice in his Autobiography.

While applauding Bhagat Singh’s sacrifice in public, Nehru fumbled and faltered when it came to taking a stand on Bhagat Singh’s action. Speaking in the historic Karachi session of the Congress on March 29, 1931, he said, “Ours is not the Bhagat Singh way” because the method he adopted, “will ruin the country”.

When Gandhi reprimanded Nehru for writing on Bhagat Singh in the Congress bulletin, he recanted. The Congress disowned Bhagat Singh. It was only Mohammed Ali Jinnah who had the courage to defend Bhagat Singh in the Central Assembly.

The right place for instituting the Bhagat Singh Chair is Panjab University, Chandigarh, or Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. Bhagat Singh was the intellectual progeny of various influences such as Bhai Permanand’s revolutionary ideas, the Ghadr movement, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the impact of Lajpat Rai’s death due to lathi charge and the inspiration he drew from the writings of the 19th century Russia anarchists.

Prof V. N. DATTA, New Delhi


The article reflects the growing feeling of the masses and intellectuals that even 75 years after his death, Bhagat Singh still remains relevant to modern India. Such proposals revive the thoughts of Bhagat Singh who emerged as a symbol of the most radical nationalist movement against imperialism and colonialism.

For a youth in his 20s, the presence of elements like heroism, sacrifice, political clarity and ability to catch the imagination of people were really remarkable and contributed to making Bhagat Singh a legend. Bhagat Singh was a well read person with vision. His diaries released by the National Archives on the 50th anniversary of his martyrdom, revealed the vast range of contemporary writers that he did read.

Glorifying, propagating and spreading the ideas and thoughts of Bhagat Singh who emerged as a legend of our freedom movement should be our national priority and will definitely enthuse the nation, especially our youth. If all nationalist Indians propagate revolutionary ideas of freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, the very first victims of revolutionary movement will be neo-colonial political class and bureaucrats. The rulers treat freedom fighters and martyrs as remnants of the past than as vibrant torchbearers for the future.

It is here that the media should play an important role to propagate the legacies of our freedom fighters to build a powerful democratic and nationalist resistance movement against the corrupt, shameless and selfish rulers.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda



Munir’s demise a loss to art and literature

This refers to “Master of verse” (Spectrum, Jan 7). The demise of the renowned Urdu and Punjabi poet of Pakistan is shocking. It is an irreparable loss to Urdu and Punjabi languages as also to art and literature the world over.

Though Munir had earned good recognition and attained his full literary stature in his lifetime, there is still much that can be said about him.

Munir’s poetic personality was unique. He was a multi-dimensional bagpiper and a rangeela jogi of Urdu poetry. He has written ghazals not only in the classic tradition of Urdu but also songs on Radha and Krishna in so simple a diction that one can call it Hindi.

Originality, freshness and innovativeness of thought and content as well his diction and style are all of so rarely high and delicately sublime aesthetic standards that he casts a magic spell on his readers, as can be seen in this couplet: Galiyon mein sham hote hi nikle haseen log/har rahguzar pe tabla-el-attaar khul gaya.

Munir transports his readers to such aesthetic heights that one is reminded of John Keats’ words, “Magic casements opening on to the foam/of perilous seas in fairylands forlorn.”


Reality bytes

Varuni Khosla’s “Reality ruled the roost” (Spectrum, Dec 31) inaccurately mentions, “Cartoon Network reached 15 million homes and CNN reaches 5.5 million homes”. The correct figures are 26 million homes and 10 million homes respectively.

Moreover, Cartoon Network, POGO, CNN and HBO belong to Turner International India Pvt Ltd.

BHAVANA LAL, Turner India, New Delhi  

News digest

I have been a reader of The Tribune since 1949. Many years ago, The Tribune used to give datewise gist of the important news of the previous week in The Sunday Tribune and we used to keep clippings of such news for GK and competitive examinations.

As the readers need such useful information, please consider the feasibility of restarting the column as early as possible. This will add to the usefulness of your esteemed paper.

P. P. TIWARY, Shimla 



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