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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Defence Investiture Ceremony

The glitz and glamour of Cinema is overwhelming.  Media would devote the first page and photo feature to any cine related event – be it filmfare award of any other award involving cinema – worser still even for any function where a cine person is the chief guest.    Did you notice the  news item on Defence Investiture ceremony or know anything of  its significance?

Most unlikely.  Before you read some thing on the Investiture – Today [23rd March]  is the death anniversary of effulgent  Shahid Bhagat Singh.  For those of us born and brought up in the Southern part of India, not much of history of those martyrs is known as we did not have great details in our school books nor was it inculcated through folk legends. 
We often attach great importance to the soil or the place and that way Khatkar Kalan is a historic village for it has given many famous patriots and freedom fighters like Sardar Kishan Singh, Sardar Ajit Singh, Sardar Swaran Singh, Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh.   Nawanshahr  situtated on the banks of river Sutlej is a city in Punjab which was upgraded as a district in 1995, now it is a municipal council in the district named after the revolutionary and is called Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar district in Punjab.  It reportedly was built during the reign of  Khilji (1295-1316).  In Sept 2008, in commemoration of Shahid’s 101st birth anniversary, Punjab CM Prakashsingh Badal announced the formation of a district after him.  
Whilst gleaning the net this particular piece from Daily times of Pakistan [March 2004] captured attention.    :  Pak Daily times on Bhagat

It is an article on the celebrations of the 73rd death anniversary of Sardar Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhadev, that was celebrated in the city of Lahore in March 2004.   On that day, Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign had held a rally, which started from Faletti’s Hotel and ended at Shadman Chowk where all the three leaders were hanged in 1931. Kiran Jeet Singh, the nephew of Bhagat Singh,  had been specially invited from India to participate in the rally.  The efforts and ideology of the martyrs were lauded.

In India, there are many documents on the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh who was born on 28th Sept 1907 and was hanged on 23rd March 1931 are available.  He came from a family long associated with revolutionary activities.   He was deeply attached to Lala Rajpat Rai who started National College in Lahore.  Lajpat Rai led the protest against Simon commission at Lahore on 30th Oct 1928 and was beaten brutally by Scott. He later succumbed to the injuries.  Bhagat vowed revenge.  The Defence of India Act was in someways an ordinance to combat the revolutionaries.  On 8 April 1929, Singh and Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the  assembly.   Bhagat  & Dutt were sentenced to 'Transportation for Life' for the bombing on 12 June 1929.Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder.   On 1st  May 1930, by declaring an emergency, an ordinance was passed by Lord Irwin, that shifted the Lahore Conspiracy Case Trial from the court of Rai Sahib Pandit Sri Kishan to a Special Tribunal of three judges. On 7 October 1930, this tribunal convicted Singh among others and sentenced him to be hanged till death.  On 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev.  Bhagat Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on banks of Sutlej river. The Bhagat Singh Memorial was built in 2009 in his hometown of Khatkar Kalan and a museum by the name "Shaheed-e-azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Museum" has been built at his maternal village, where sand and newspaper stained with his blood and his half burnt bones are preserved  These exhibits are silent reminders of supreme sacrifices these martyrs made for the motherland. They shall inspire the generations to come

The splendour of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is multi-dimensional. It is a vast mansion and its architecture is breathtaking.  It is the residence of the President of the largest democracy in the world.   Amongst its pristine halls, there is the Durbar hall which has a  2-ton chandelier hanging from a height of 33 meters.  In the erstwhile British period, it had separate thrones for the Viceroy and Vicereine.  This hall is the centre for  State functions,  Defence Investiture ceremony,  Padma awards etc.,

On 18th March 2011,  President Pratibha Devisingh Patil decorated the nation’s brave soldiers at the Defence Investiture Ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
Ms. Patil presented 75 medals —14 Param Vishist Seva Medal, 13 Kirti Chakra, 25 Ati Vishist Seva medals and 23 Shaurya Chakras — at the ceremony attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and top brass of the armed forces. It is the time when military personnel are recognized for their bravery. 

The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil presented the Defence Investiture Awards to  Defence and Paramilitary personnel at a function in the Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 18, 2011. The President presented 13 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 4 Kirti Chakras (2 of them posthumously), 2 Uttam Yuddh Seva Medals, 24 Ati Vishist Seva Medals, 2 Bar to Shaurya Chakras and 19 Shaurya Chakra Medals (5 of them posthumously), to the Officers or Next of Kin who were present at the function.

The Kirti Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. It may be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, including posthumous awards. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Maha Vir Chakra.  It is second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards; it comes after Ashoka Chakra and before Shaurya Chakra.

The Shaurya Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy. It may be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, sometimes posthumously. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Vir Chakra. It is generally awarded for Counter-Insurgency operations and actions against the enemy during peace-time. It is third in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards and comes after the Ashoka Chakra and the Kirti Chakra. It precedes the Sena Medal.

The Ashok Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peace time equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for the "most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice" other than in the face of the enemy. The decoration may be awarded either to military or civilian personnel and may be awarded posthumously.

Last year, the  president also named an Indian Air Force officer for Shaurya Chakra for saving a Russian-origin MiG-27 aircraft after a snag while being airborne at 9,500 feet. Flight Lieutenant Manish Arora was flying the MiG-27 when the canopy of his aircraft burst leading to injury to him and damage to the aircraft's cockpit. The fighter pilot recovered from the mishap quickly to get the aircraft to safety.

The cash purse accompanying these awards is very meagre and not commensurate either with the act or with the present age.  It’s time the Country honours and people recognizes its brave sons in the best possible manner

Jai Jawan   Jai  Hind.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

1 comment:

  1. saddest part of the media is that they hype even the useless news of Poonam pandey (WC2011) but fails to even mention or publicise the real heroes who lay their lives for the nation without expecting anything in return ...A simple urge to our so-called Alert-media ... If u cant take part in the bravery act then atleast do ur job properly so that even the sacrifice of our real heroes (Army personnel) dont go unnoticed.