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Do not politicise martyr’s legacy

The editorial, “Spare Bhagat Singh” (March 5) was timely and thought- provoking. I greatly appreciate The Tribune’s sensible advice to the politicians of Punjab not to politicise the immortal and glorious martyrdom of Sardar Bhagat Singh. They are busy outsmarting one another in mobilising the common people to reach Khatkar Kalan in Punjab on March 23. Sardar Bhagat Singh and his comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev had kissed the gallows on March 23, 1931 valiantly opposing the British Empire.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh is the greatest symbol of patriotism, selfless social service and supreme sacrifice in the entire Indian subcontinent.

The Tribune has actually expressed the noblest sentiments of all the sensible and patriotic people of this big country in its objective comment, “It is amazing how Bhagat Singh’s appeal has grown over the years and across the political spectrum.”

It is correct to recall that earlier only the Communist parties and Naxalites in this country celebrated the martyrdom of Sardar Bhagat Singh and fondly remembered and debated his pro-people political philosophy. The mainstream political parties always felt scared of his name and their party programmes never referred to the glorious contribution of Sardar Bhagat Singh and his comrades in liberating our country from the yoke of British empire. In fact, Bhagat Singh’s complete life span did not exceed 23 years and six months yet the rich legacy and the powerful impact of his pro-people ideology has continued capturing the attention of the educated youth.

Today’s politicians have lost their mass appeal because they suffer from poverty of ideas, lack of proper vision and sincere commitment towards people’s welfare. Coincidentally, Bhagat Singh was born in Punjab and the mainstream political parties of this state ought to use the martyrdom day for debating the pro-people thoughts of the great martyr and avoid indulging in “unseemly acts of political one-upmanship”’ as the editorial has thoughtfully appealed to them.



The Biography of Bhagat Singh by M.M. Juneja, published in 2008, states that the family of Bhagat Singh had left its native Khatkar Kalan village in 1897 and shifted to Banga village of Lyallpur district, where Bhagat Singh was born in 1907.  A few years later his family moved to Lahore and lived in Nawankot locality. At Lahore Bhagat Singh was enrolled in Class V in DAV School, and became the first Sikh boy to be admitted to a DAV institution, and not a Khalsa School.

Ironically, the state, which organised Shaheed Bhagat Singh Punjab Games, did not realise that Bhagat Singh was not fond of sports but took part in dramas and plays.  The great revolutionary had a booming voice and was a prominent member of the dramatic club of National College, Lahore.



What act can be more shameful than that of the Punjab politicians who are ”falling over one another in a distasteful way to cash in on the mass appeal of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.” It is disgusting that leaders of all political parties are busy mobilising their supporters to reach Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s birth place for their selfish motives of the ugly “vote-bank politics”, which has brought the nation on the brink of political disaster.

Surely, politicians are opportunists who lose no time and chance for indulging in murky politics where mudslinging is their only agenda.

On such an occasion, the politicians belonging to all shades should hold joint “Shradhanjli Samarohs” at all public places in the state.

People should be made aware of the life and teachings of such great men who sacrificed their lives. The editorial rightly concludes that while remembering the Shaheed-e-Azam, politicians should ensure that the sombre mood of martyrdom is not marred by petty political attacks.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Master strategist

In the passing away of the veteran Congress leader, Arjun Singh, the country has lost an astute politician, a master strategist and a very able administrator and a leader who dominated the political scene for 40 years (news report, March 5). Many opposition leaders respected him for his friendly nature and uncanny political sense. A man of few words, he had mastered the art of keeping the people guessing.

He chose his own moment to strike. As Governor Punjab, he astutely steered the Akalis to the negotiating table which finally resulted in an agreement between Sant Langowal and the late Rajiv Gandhi that broke the back of the Khalistan movement. His death will be widely mourned in MP and wherever he worked. May his soul rest in peace!


Increase defence expenditure

In the article “Defence in times of resource crunch: Ample scope to improve capabilities” (March 5) N S Sisodia writes that the experts’ biggest concern is China’s growing assertiveness and huge military budget. Mr Sisodia has justified that the present defence budget which is 1.84 per cent of the GDP is adequate to contain our adversaries. This is not true.

Recently, we have observed that China is asserting its supremacy in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh and so far has not agreed to avoid punching of visas pertaining to the people from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. China’s announcement of a stunning 12.7 per cent hike in its defence budget is a matter of concern.

China has deployed its missiles and jet fighters all along the borders in Northeast and Ladakh by building broad roads and railways up to the borders. The Indian troops are still struggling in the rugged and hazardous mountainous terrain up to the borders with China. China’s navy has more than 75 warships while India has only 30.

The political leadership cannot turn a blind eye towards the defence activities of our adversaries. We must wake up and enhance our defence outlay to at least 3 per cent of the GDP. We have to keep our air and land superiority over our adversaries to maintain peace in the region.

Col Dr P K VASUDEVA (retd), Panchkula



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