March 24, 2015
Sikh community leaders in Karachi are very disappointed with left-wing parties and the government for not commemorating the 84th death anniversary of legendry freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in the city.
Bhagat Singh, a socialist leader who was one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement, was born on September 28, 1907, into a Sikh family in Lyallpur – now Faisalabad. He was hanged at the age of 23 for shooting a British police officer in Lahore on March 23, 1931.
“Not a single leftist party or civil society organisation bothered to commemorate the anniversary of Bhagat by organising a candlelit vigil or a seminar in Karachi,” said Sardar Ramesh Singh, head of the Pakistan Sikh Council, who organised a prayer at Gurdwara Guru Granth Sahib in the Ranchor Line area.
The Sikh community organised prayers at Gurdwara level in different parts of the province, he said.
“Bhaghat Singh was not only a hero of the Sikh community; he fought for freedom for all people of the region from British imperialism. Since he was born and died in Pakistani Punjab, the Pakistani government should commemorate his anniversary as a national hero,” Ramesh said while talking to The News.
In Lahore, leftwing parties and civil society activists organise a candlelit vigil every year on his death anniversary. This year, the Awami Workers Party (AWP), a progressive party that was formed after the merger of various small leftist groups, organised a gathering at Shadman in Lahore where Bhagat was hanged.
In Karachi, leftist groups did not organise any programme to commemorate Bhaghat’s anniversary. However, in other parts of Sindh, especially in Moro, the AWP organised lectures in this regard.
Naghma Shaikh, Karachi president of the Democratic Students Federation, a leftist student group, said Bhagat was an icon for the youth and an inspiration for the working class.
“When young people think of career, partying and family, Shaheed Bhagat scarified his life at the age of 23 for independence from the British Raj,” Shaikh told The News.