Amritsar, April 15
Majha House hosted a Sanjha Punjab session, focusing on the life of Bhagat Singh and his portrayal through Ikroop Sandhu’s graphic novel Inquilab Zindabad. Prominent historian Irfan Habib, Arpita Das, Ikroop Sandhu and Pakistani writer and activist Shahid Nadeem joined the conversation.
Bhagat Singh should also be considered an intellectual and this is evident with the fact that he wrote his first essay at the age of 17. Bhagat Singh’s idea of freedom was global. — Irfan Habib, a prominent historian
Ikroop Sandhu while initiating the conversation said that Bhagat Singh is widely known as a young revolutionary, who sacrificed his life for freedom. “He was so much more than that. He was a deep thinker and writer, who wrote extensively. I focus on his idealism and his connection to Lahore and it was a wonderful experience to capture the depth of his thoughts and the beauty of Lahore, as Lahore can rightly be called his ‘karmbhoomi’, Ikroop said.
To this, historian Irfan Habib added that Bhagat Singh should also be considered an intellectual and this is evident with the fact that he wrote his first essay at the age of 17. “Bhagat Singh’s idea of freedom was global. He wanted to be free from all that was old and bad. He never spoke of Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims, but of universal brotherhood where human values were at the center. For me it is the bridge between the two so-called “enemy countries”. He was also way ahead of his time. He talks about scientific temperament, rational thought, gender equality, a new order, and he also said things that are very relevant to India today,” Irfan said.
Ikroop also shared how she read about Bhagat Singh and crafted her novel. “When you read, you also encode information, using your memory to create images in your mind. The language a writer uses is both intensely personal and universal. So while I continued to be impressed by life extraordinary by Bhagat Singh as I read about him, but at the same time I was also assimilating the information in the form of images, my mind providing me with images, colors and shades. I hope I have succeeded in portraying this life with as much courage and truth as it has been lived.
Meanwhile, Shahid Nadeem, emphasized that Bhagat Singh and his legacy can be the bridge of peace between India and Pakistan. “The absence of Bhagat Singh from the Pakistani ethos was a glaring omission, which was rectified when in 1974 Mohammad Ahmed Khan was executed in place of Nawab Mohammad Ahmad Khan. But the irony was that Nawab Ahmad Khan was the magistrate, who signed Bhagat Singh’s execution orders.
Then Majeed Sheikh wrote an article “Cycle of Blood”, which talks about the links between the generals of Ranjit Singh and Bulle Shah and between the oppressed and the oppressors. Now we are going to perform ‘Rank of Basanti Chola’ and Indians and Pakistanis can be proud of the life of a legend like Bhagat Singh and this can be used as a bridge of peace between the two countries,” said Shahid Nadeem .
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