DAWN – STREET PLAY, DEMONSTRATION REMEMBER BHAGAT SINGH
Published: DAWN – March 24, 2011
LAHORE: Scores of passers-by joined civil society activists in watching ‘Chipen Ton Pehlan’ staged near Shadman Chowk on Wednesday in connection with the 79th anniversary of Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom.
Written by Davinder Daman and directed by Huma Safdar, the one-hour street play was arranged by Punjab Lok Rahs.
Reviving the old tradition of Nukar Theatre, the play portrayed Bhagat Singh’s struggle against British imperialism.
The cast included Punjab University Mass Communication Department students Hammad Afzal (Bhagat Singh), Adil Aziz (Boga sweeper), Adnan (advocate Pran Nath Metha) Mohsin Ali Danish (jailer Akbar Khan), Tayyab and Akmal (jail officials) while Sobia Zaidi and Huma Safdar performed choreography.
At nearby Shadman Chowk roundabout, civil society activists held a demonstration under the umbrella of Institute for Peace and Secular Studies.
Carrying placards, the demonstrators joined by Labour Party Pakistan activists demanded that the Shadman Chowk be renamed after Bhagat Singh who was hanged there on March 23, 1931. They also raised slogans like `Inqilab Zindabad,’ Bhagat Teray Khoon Se Inqilab Aaey Ga,’ and ‘Amriki, Arab Samraj Murdabad’.
They also informed Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi that the Punjab government had been approached in 2001 that Bhagat Singh should be recognised as one of the heroes of independence movement and Shadman Chowk be renamed after him, but no action was taken.
Mr Hashmi assured the demonstrators that he would take up the matter with federal and Punjab governments. He said that a block in the ETPB offices would be named after Bhagat Singh on Thursday.
The ETPB would also give award to a Sikh on the occasion of Baisakhi every year who would have contributed to the cause of independence.
Also, the Punjabi Language Movement observed the death anniversary of Bhagat Singh at its Shama Chowk office on Wednesday.
Movement convener Chaudhry Nazeer Kahut said the Quaid-i-Azam made no secret of his sympathies for Bhagat Singh and other freedom fighters in the Lahore prison.
“Jinnah sahib in his speech in the Central Assembly on Sept 12, 1929, said `the man who goes on hunger strike has a soul. He is no ordinary criminal, who is guilty of cold blooded, sordid wicked crime’.
“It is clear that Jinnah Sahib considered Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev freedom fighters. If the father of the nation admires a freedom fighter, how can we ignore him? Why not Serdar Bhagat Singh be declared the hero of independence movement in our history and text books?
“After partition of Punjab, creation of Pakistan and freedom of India, where do Punjab’s heroes of independence movement like Rai Ahmed Khan Kharral and Bhagat Singh stand? Why discriminate Bhagat Singh and other Punjab’s heroes of independence?” asked Kahut.
Allama Iqbal was Bhagat Singh’s favourite revolutionary poet. It was Maulana Zaffar Ali Khan who for the first time floated the title of Shaheed for Bhagat Singh.
Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore. He demanded that a statute of Bhagat be installed there and the Qadahfi Stadium also be renamed after him.