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Freedom from rule, but not from copyright!

Freedom from rule, but not from copyright!
Freedom from rule, but not from copyright!

Freedom from rule, but not from copyright!

Bhagat Singh was hanged long before I was born, but not only my generation but the generations before and after him in India have always been attracted to Bhagat Singh.

On March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore along with his fellow revolutionaries Raj Guru and Sukhdev.

An interesting twist of fate, I was born into a Sikh family in India, later moved to London and now I am researching the Indian independence movement in the British Library on the occasion of Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary.

In the library I found a catalog that read: ‘Prohibited Publishing Materials’ and includes pamphlets, posters, pamphlets, paintings and handouts. This is the material that was banned by the British government in India for four decades before independence.
Of particular interest to me are the posters with pictures of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Raj Guru.

Surprisingly, Bhagat Singh could not be free even 86 years after his death. The Bhagat Singh whom most people in India call Shaheed Bhagat Singh. He was a great speaker and knew the power of both written and spoken words.

Bhagat Singh fought for independence but posters related to his execution have not been released till date.

The British Library informed me that these posters could not be reprinted under British copyright law.

I discovered Shyam Sundar Lal Picture House in Kanpur who published these posters.

Harish, grandson of Shyam Sundar Lal, picked up the phone. When I asked him about the posters, he said he was completely ignorant. He used to say in Hindi: ‘Madam, why don’t you understand, we are the grandsons of those who made it, we don’t know anything.’

So we asked a colleague to make a sketch of the posters, which may not be exact copies of the original but still provide information to our readers about the content of the original posters.

The first picture is of a writing pad with the famous picture of Bhagat Singh wearing a hat. This is a picture of a young revolutionary we all know.

The former head of the British Library’s Asia-Pacific and African Collection said that a printing press had tried to impress the youth by printing a picture of Bhagat Singh on the writing pad, which was at the forefront of the independence movement.

What is special about this poster is that the portrait of Bhagat Singh included in it is often compared to the famous portrait of Che Guevara taken by Alberto Corda.

This picture is famous for Bhagat Singh’s idealism and sacrifice.
Another poster, in Hindi and English, reads, “Three Sinas of India.” And courage is evident, and there is no sign of fear anywhere.

The third poster reads, “Judgment in the Lahore conspiracy case,” and presents the severed heads of the three revolutionaries as a sacrifice to the motherland.

The fourth and final poster shows the three revolutionaries being taken to heaven after the angels were hanged.

These posters show the gap between the British government’s views on Bhagat Singh and the sentiments of the people. The government considered them rebels and criminals, while in the eyes of the people they were freedom fighters whose place was none other than heaven.

Bhagat Singh’s nephew Abhay Singh Sindhu told us that his family members had seen such posters and they were created by people who appreciated Bhagat Singh’s legacy and considered him a hero of freedom.

Abhay Singh was disappointed that the posters were still chained to copyright law.

He says Bhagat Singh’s pictures are now in the public domain and his family keeps distributing them so that future generations can be aware of Bhagat Singh’s struggle and his sacrifices for the country.

100th Anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy

At the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy around the world on April 13, as in previous years, people are demanding a formal apology from the British government for this tragic incident.

In 1919, the subcontinent was ruled by Britain. At Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, some nationalists were protesting against the new British tax and the forced recruitment of Indians into the army. Meanwhile, a large number of people were present to attend the crutch festival.

At that time, the British government had imposed martial law in the city to prevent large public gatherings.
To disperse the crowd, Brigadier General REH Dyer was sent, who ordered the firing without warning. The firing continued until the soldiers ran out of bullets.

According to British government sources, 379 people were killed in this tragic incident, but the historians of the subcontinent believe that the death toll was close to 1000.
Addressing the British Parliament last Wednesday on the 100th anniversary of the incident, Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed “regret” over the incident but did not formally apologize.

“The Jallianwala Bagh tragedy of 1919 is a shameful stain on British Indian history,” he said.

On this, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labor Party, said that a clear apology should be made for the Amritsar massacre.
Indian politician and Congress party leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted on the occasion that expressing regret was the first positive step but it was not enough.

He said that Britain had to apologize and atone for all the atrocities committed during the British rule and not just one.
Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also backed the apology in a tweet.

He said he supported the UK’s apology to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Bengal famine.

At the same time, he demanded that the Koh-i-Noor diamond be returned to the Lahore Museum “where it should be.”
Speaking today, Dr Chris Moffett, a lecturer and historian at Queen’s Mary University in London, said:

He says Bridget has further complicated the current situation, with right-wing voices proudly claiming that no one should be ashamed of the history of British rule.
Dr. Chris says that at a time when extreme right-wing and racist movements are on the rise, it is imperative that the UK address its bitter past and its long-standing legacy as soon as possible.

Dr. Timur Rehman, an assistant professor and political scientist at Lahore University of Management Sciences, says, “The massacre at Jallianwala Bagh was an incident of colonialism. It is not important to apologize for just one incident. The important question is how do the people of Britain view their historical heritage and how do the people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh understand it and how do they overcome it?

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