Bhagat Singh’s home to be restored as national heritage

Owner of the house agrees to renovation; says he is proud of the structure

Asif Mehmood March 23, 2019
Singh’s house has a berry tree, a mango tree and small room believed to have been his bedroom. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: A committee formed to restore the house independence movement hero Bhagat Singh will soon visit 05-GB in the Bhangay village area of Faisalabad. Subsequently, the house will be included by the provincial government as among the buildings of national heritage.

Some days ago, the Government of Punjab formed a committee comprising officers of the archaeological and tourist departments. These authorities will dig out old pictures to restore the residence of Bhagat Singh and prepare maps of different parts of the building, including its structure, roof and doors. The heritage site would be restored after taking permission from its owner.

Archaeological Department Deputy Director Afzal Khan said his team would visit the house in a few days and take into stock how much of the structure was in original condition. He maintained it was necessary to take the house into national custody, declare it a heritage site and restore the building.

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“The owner of the house can live there, but the structure or the design of the building cannot be changed,” he said. He further stated that if the owner of the house failed to agree, the government wielded the authority to take the residence into custody due to its historical significance.

The owner of this house, Chaudhry Rehmat Wark, said he was ready to protect the structure and allow it be included among national heritage sites. According to him, 90% of the house has been newly-constructed, but two rooms, along with their doors and roofs, were restored in original condition.

A few dishes which used by Bhagat Singh and his family were also safe within the four wall of the residence. He stated Sikh delegations from across the world, including India, visit the house and express their happiness. Wark and his family said they were pleased to live in the residence where the martyr Bhagat Singh was born.

In 2014, the district government of Faisalabad declared the house as part of the country’s national heritage and now the provincial government had taken on the responsibility of its restoration. Fans of Bhagat Singh hope the restoration and protection of his residence can portray a positive image of Pakistan to the world.

The name of Shadman Chowk in Lahore was changed in 2012 to Bhagat Singh Chowk, but after some reservations, this matter was place before the court where it was still pending. Shadman Chowk is the place where Bhagat Singh and his companions were hanged for the murder of an Englishman.

Seminar on Singh’s struggle

A seminar to commemorate the struggle and sacrifice of Bhagat Singh and his comrades was held at Punjab Institute of Language, Art, and Culture Lahore on Thursday.

The programme was organised by the Progressive Writers Association (PWA) in collaboration with the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA). The purpose of the gathering was to introduce the struggle of Bhagat Singh to the new generation. A lot of people see Bhagat as the symbol of revolution. Tanveer, a member of PWA, said Bhagat was hanged to death on the night of March 22, although the execution was scheduled for March 23.

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The decision was taken after a large number of people had gathered outside the central jail in support of Bhagat. He said that the magistrate refused to sign the orders of his hanging at night. A new magistrate, Kasuri, was summoned for the purpose.

Bhagat was born in Faisalabad. His family had fought against imperialism. His uncle had started a movement against the British Raj called "paghrhi sanbhal jatta" for peasant rights. He came to Lahore and took admission in National College.

He was also a witness to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and murder of famous Indian national activist Lala Lajpat Rai. All these things played a role in his transformation as a revolutionary. Politically, his most important role was the formation of Nojawan Sabha, a revolutionary organisation of the Indian youth.

with additional input from our correspondent 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2019.


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