MARCH 23, 1931: CONTEMPORARY INDIAN HISTORY LOOKS TO RHYME IT IN 2015

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
― Mark Twain

The resonance of the assonance the time weaves is an imperative that inevitably comes. That is the history of history.

So history may be subjected to subjective subjugations, manipulating it to the extent to sound its alter-ego. But, in the contemporary history where history records itself, as the time moves ahead, by having enough of the ‘types’ being its eyes and ears, that they preserve its objectivity for everyone who cares for.

So, people, even in the archetypal dictatorships, take on to the streets, to revisit their history, to correct their history, to make premises for a history that would be recorded ‘as it goes’.

Like everywhere else, in the contemporary history, it is true with the contemporary Indian history as well, including its Independence Movement.

Most of us (who are willing) have access to what happened during the pre-Independence era and what followed.

And it tells us India owes its Independence in 1947 to the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. No rational mind would debate it.

And it is equally true that no rational mind would debate the contributions of those who differed with the Mahatma on the issue of ideology – the league of revolutionaries including Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh and many more.

They all inspired the ordinary Indians to go beyond their personal perceptions to raise a collective call for full independence.

But the way the post-Independence India followed its history skewed the facts of its Independence struggle giving space to few while ignoring others. It left it poorly expressed. It left it incompletely done, a verse with no rhyming.

So, while most of us, who bother to read, know about Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, or even Bal Gangadhar Tilak or Gopal Krishna Gokhale or Lala Lajpat Rai or Madan Mohan Malaviya or many more like them – but don’t know when they were born, when they died, the place of their final journies, where their descendents are – because the politics of post-Independence India never bothered about them beyond lip-service.

But as Mark Twain says, history does find ways to find elements to rhyme itself.

March 23 is the Martyrdom Day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru who were hanged by the colonial British rulers in a Lahore prison in 1931.

March 23 comes every year and goes. Apart from routine mentions and some social media activity (in recent times), it doesn’t generate much buzz.

But with a changed political dispensation with a different ideology, Indian politics is searching for different symbols, to add to the existing ones or to replace them – to rework the ideological symbolism of Indian politics.

And March 23 has rightly found a prominent place in this search, and through it, the contemporary Indian history has found the elements to find a way to rhyme its tales on Indian freedom struggle.

The Martyrdom Day of the great revolutionaries this year is going to create front page headlines and round the clock coverage and thus a greater public exposure.

A very handful of Indians would be aware of ‘Hussainwala’ or ‘Khatkar Kalan’ but tomorrow most of them would be reading or googling about them.

The colonial cowardice of the then British government pushed for a secretive, hastened hanging of the revolutionary trio and their bodies were cremated at Hussainiwala in Punjab’s Ferozepur district. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going there tomorrow to pay his tributes. A PM is going there after 30 years when it had to be a regular affair.

Khatkar Kalan is the ancestral village of Bhagat Singh. It is Punjab’s Nawanshahr district that is now known as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. Anna Hazare is going there tomorrow to pay homage.

Let’s see if we see similar moves followed with native places of Sukhdev and Rajguru.

The Aam Aadmi Party is going to launch a state-wide agitation in Uttar Pradesh against the Land Acquisition Bill. Congress is going to do that in Tamil Nadu.

Include many other planned and unplanned incidents on the similar lines and expect social media trends generating high volumes.

So, there are by-the-government- and anti- government moves planned for tomorrow, but the good thing for Indian history is that March 23 is the central theme, the common cord of all.

Hope, the rhyming will be lyrically balanced this time.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/