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AAP set to herald revolutionary spirit in Bhagat Singh’s ancestral village

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is all set to herald a new ‘Inquilab’ or revolutionary spirit, at least this is what the party that came to power in Punjab by sweeping the assembly polls with a three-fourths majority as heavyweights fall by wayside just five days back is indicating.

Chief Minister-designate Bhagwant Mann is all set to don his traditional ‘basanti’ turban during the oath-taking ceremony in this village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, who laid down his life for the country’s Independence, on Wednesday afternoon amidst a mass gathering of some 5,00,000 audience.

In an appeal, Mann has requested people across the state to reach Khatkar Kalan, some 80 km from the state capital Chandigarh on the highway to Jalandhar in Nawanshahr district, for the swearing-in ceremony by wearing ‘basanti’ (yellow) turbans and draping yellow shawls or stoles.

“We will colour Khatkar Kalan in ‘basanti rang’ that day,” Mann said in a message.

What is the relevance of ‘basanti’, the colour of spring?

A ‘basanti’ turban or ‘dupatta’ is associated recently with a year-long agitation of farmers against now repealed three farm laws, but also with the sacrifice and patriotic spirit. Also the colour signals celebrations, a springtime kite-flying festival.

Members of a group called the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee say thousands of people, comprising women, young and old, with grit, determination and revolutionary thoughts of Shahid-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, will be gathering for Mann’s oath with the commitment and spirit of volunteering.

Men will be wearing T-shirts with photos of Bhagat Singh on them and women donning yellow ‘dupattas’ on their heads that represent the colour of martyrs, a member of the committee told IANS on Tuesday. “Yeh naya inquilab hai! (This is a new revolution!).”

Activists inspired by the thoughts of Shaheed Bhagat Singh will be shouting slogans ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ at the venue. Even many of them will be seen carrying a photo of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

“Age doesn’t matter but your passion does,” remarked octogenarian Dalbir Kaur, who is reaching here on Wednesday after travelling seven-eight hours on a tractor-trailer from a village in Amritsar district along with her fellow villagers.

She says a batch of volunteers have been assigned a duty to run ‘langars’ or community kitchens en route and in Khatkar Kalan to serve the food to all regardless of caste or religion. The children will wear their best clothes to enjoy the patriotic spirit.

Several artists, singers, ex-servicemen, trader organisations, commission agents and youth clubs across the state have joined the campaign to mobilise people to reach Khatkar Kalan to witness the ceremony.

The oath-taking ceremony is just ahead of the death anniversaries of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru who were hanged by the British colonialists on March 23, 1931.

This village has witnessed several political theatrics after India’s Independence.

During his visit on the freedom fighter’s martyrdom day in 2003, former President late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had said he was indeed delighted to visit the home of one of the most inspiring and revolutionary freedom fighters of Mother India.

“It is indeed like a pilgrimage for me to have come to this village of Khatkar Kalan which has produced one of the greatest sons of the Indian soil, Shaheed Bhagat Singh.”

Khatkar Kalan with a population of some 2,000-odd is currently one of the most modern and developed ones, thanks to the government and the philanthropic spirit of well-heeled NRIs.

The ancestral maternal house of the revolutionary in the village, where Bhagat Singh came a few times, is a national monument. No one from his family has lived in the village for the last many decades.

The village has a memorial-cum-museum, a centrally funded Rs 26 crore project, with true-to-life recreations of moments from the freedom fighter’s short but significant life.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Anirudh Tiwari, Director General of Police V.K. Bhawra and Additional Chief Secretary A. Venu Prasad have reviewed arrangements at Shaheed-e-Aazam Bhagat Singh memorial and museum, the venue of the ceremony.

They said that since it is a mega event with historic significance and the entire nation will be looking towards the state, every officer is duty bound to make it a huge success.

An official statement said befitting arrangements are being made for this prestigious event in which lakhs of people are expected to take part.

The event is expected to see key dignitaries, including several Chief Ministers.

AAP set to herald revolutionary spirit in Bhagat Singh's ancestral village.
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