LAHORE: A colorful fountain lies in the middle of a roundabout which connects important thoroughfares like Shadman Road, Jail Road, Ferozepur Road and the canal. However, the installation has a bloody past and at its base, in red paint, the words “Bhagat Singh Chowk” are written in both English and Urdu.
Even in the city of Lahore, which houses this monument, few people know that Bhagat Singh, a legendary revolutionary of the Indian Subcontinent, was hanged at this roundabout which is now located behind the Services Hospital.
This place which is now unofficially called Bhagat Singh Chowk by the youth of Lahore earlier fell under the Lahore Jail. In the evening on Friday, a few people gathered at Bhagt Singh Chowk to commemorate the great revolutionary. Talking to The Express Tribune, Rai Asad, a Punjab University student, says, “The message of Bhagat Singh tells us the struggle against a classless society can never end without fruits.”
He continues the roundabout was once located adjacent to the boundary wall of the Lahore Jail. That was the time Bhagat Singh and his comrades were imprisoned and eventually hanged. “Back then, the gallows were located at the spot which is today officially called the Shadman roundabout and unofficially Bhaghat Singh Chowk.”
Another activist, Rashid Khalid, states it is high time the roundabout is renamed Bhagat Singh Chowk as today’s day and age needs a revolutionary like him. He continues that a couple of years ago, the government finally decided to rename the roundabout in honor of Bhagat Singh. However, the decision prompted protests by some religious parties and the government was forced to withdraw its decision.
Another activist, Shazia Khan, points out that Bhagat Singh is a hero of the independence “a son of this soil. He must be recognised by Lahorites.”
She demands that local heroes and icons of the independence movement should be celebrated.
“The people of the subcontinent will never forget the struggle of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his companions,” she says. “
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2018.