Visiting Bhagat Singh's hideout & cenotaph
The recent revelations and the archaeological findings have brought the nondescript town of Ferozepur (in Punjab) on the international map due to its association with Bhagat Singh and his comrades. In Toori bazar of this sleepy city, a ramshackle double-storey building has preserved many secrets in its womb about those astute planning, which Bhagat Singh and his associates would make while staying here.
Therefore, the place can be aptly designated as the hideout of the patriot who would often stay put here incognito. Bhagat Singh used to frequent the hideout in Toori Bazaar with his accomplices in 1928-29.
It is at this hideout where he had shorn his hair to change his looks with the intent of averting his arrest at the hands of the British rulers. Many important events of revolutionaries' activities are attached to this hideout as it was the main office of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association used for preparing bombs and storing other weapons.
Unfortunately, the apathy of the ruling regimes has always been disheartening. Having conducted their research and taken stock of this building, the expert archaeologists have submitted their report to the government which validates Bhagat Singh's direct connection with this house.
Much to our chagrin, no heads have rolled and the monument clamours for immediate attention. Due to the neglect of the authorities, this monument of history has now just got reduced to a mere dilapidated structure and may crumble down any moment.
However, in order to appease the protesting groups (which have urged the government to convert this building into a museum or a library), the government has accorded the heritage status to it, but all this seems mere an eyewash as after the proclamation of the heritage status in the year 2016, no restoration and renovation work has been initiated till date.
About 10 miles away from this historical hideout, on the banks of the mighty river Sutlej, there has been erected another highly significant monument in the memory of the three legends Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. To avenge the Jallianwala Bagh massacre Bhagat Singh had killed the brutal John P Saunders.
Consequently, the British rulers executed him and his two comrades Raj Guru and Sukhdev. Having executed the patriots, a day before the designated day of execution, the ruthless rulers threw their half cremated (read burnt) bodies into the river Sutlej in the dead of night.
Today, at this place a large number of people arrive every evening to pay their homage to these spunky sons of the mother India at their cenotaph. This sacrosanct monument has been built here to keep the hallowed memory of these three great martyrs alive. So strong are the vibes of the place that even the hardest of the hearts start melting like snow here.
Tears moisten the eyes of the visitors. Their heads are spontaneously bowed down with utmost reverence before the busts of their beloved patriots. The place has a well-maintained museum also that showcases the very pistol of Bhagat Singh with which he had snuffed out the life of monster Saunders.
One can also find here many artistically framed original handwritten letters of Bhagat Singh when he was lodged in the jails of Lahore. The place is bustling with many a relic associated with the martyr and bears testimony to his supreme sacrifice.
- The writer is HoD of English Language and Linguistics at Dev Samaj Postgraduate College for Women, Ferozepur