Only four authentic photos of Bhagat Singh be displayed at offices: Expert

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in his speech on Republic Day had announced that all city government offices would only have the portraits of Bhagat Singh and B R Ambedkar instead of politicians.

Published: 29th January 2022 09:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2022 11:34 AM   |  A+A-

Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Retired professor Chaman Lal, an authority on Bhagat Singh, on Friday wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, urging him to use only “real photos” of the legend instead of the painted portraits in public offices. Kejriwal in his speech on Republic Day had announced that all city government offices would only have the portraits of Bhagat Singh and B R Ambedkar instead of politicians.

Lal, an honorary advisor at Bhagat Singh Archives and Resource Centre, Delhi Archives, said that most often painting-based pictures are put up in public offices and during national events, which are not authentic. He shared a set of four photographs of Singh, which are the sole authentic pictures taken during his lifetime and certified by his family.   

Photos shared by the expert | express

“It is requested that while using Bhagat Singh photographs in government offices, only one of these real photographs may be used and any painting-based unreal photo may be avoided for the office use of a historic personality. These photos are certified by the family of Bhagat Singh,” the letter dated January 28, read. Lal said that many times, the central government and even the Punjab government have been using painting-based unreal pictures of Bhagat Singh in advertisements, which always have been objected to by the legend’s family and scholars of freedom struggle.

Speaking to this newspaper, Lal said, “In case of national figures anywhere, pictures used are always the ones released by the government. However, in the case of three martyrs from Punjab —Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, and Kartar Singh Sarabha — real pictures have seldom been used.  

He added, “The painting-based pictures, which show him wearing a yellow turban, are mostly from folklore and popular songs based on his sacrifice such as ‘Mera rang de basanti chola’, from which during the 1950s, painters picked up the colour of the turban in their paintings.” Lal described that Singh always wore a white khadi kurta-pajama and a white turban or a khaki shirt and shorts with a hat. This is the only real attire he ever donned.

Bhagat Singh’s nephew Kiranjit Sandhu told this newspaper, “This move by the Delhi government will inspire the next generation. We’ve been requesting time and again that his real photos only be used,” said Sandhu. Sandhu said the pictures include the one of his childhood when Singh was 11. The other where he is a teenager, was taken from a group photo of the Dramatic Club of National College, Lahore. The one where he is handcuffed is from Lahore Jail around 1925. 


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