PATNA: Union home minister Amit Shah will attend a programme to mark the birth anniversary of Veer Kunwar Singh, one of the great heroes of 1857 revolt against the British rule, at his birthplace Jagdishpur in Bihar's Bhojpur district on April 23.
It will the second such event after the celebration of Mauryan dynasty ruler Ashoka to revive the old glory and make the new generation aware of the contributions and heroic deeds of the sons of the soil. The Bihar government later announced to observe the Ashok's birth anniversary as a state function.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers have planned to bring together people from 12 districts and organise a collective waving of 75,000 national flags to make the programme a historic one. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Thakur said, “The event will be recorded in Guinness World Records.”
BJP state chief Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal said Kunwar Singh's birth anniversary would be a non-political event. The motive behind the mega celebration is to inform the coming generations about the sacrifices of Veer Kunwar Singh, who fought 15 times against the British Raj at the age of 80. When one of the bullets hit Singh's left wrist, he felt his hand has become useless and that there was an additional risk of infection from the bullet. He drew his sword and cut off his left hand near the elbow and offered it the Ganga, Jaiswal said, quoting some books of history.
BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said altogether 75,000 'rashtra bhakts' (patriots) will be waiving the national flags on the occasion, a first of its kind across the globe. “Preparations for the mega event are complete,” he said on Thursday.
The function is largely seen as BJP's attempts to expand horizons in a push for nationalism. After the Uttar Pradesh victory, BJP has started focusing on Bihar with renewed energy as it aims at showcasing its organisational skills by making the birth anniversary of Kunwar Singh a grand show. It will also help the BJP send a message of the party's growing clout in the state, a political analyst Pramod Kumar said.
However, BJP's function has drawn sharp reactions from Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal United. RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari said that no political party should try to usurp the legacy of Veer Kunwar Singh. “The great freedom fighters should not be projected as a mascot on nationalism,” the RJD spokesperson remarked. However, a JDU leader on condition of anonymity said that it was a great honour for Kunwar Singh but questioned the need to make it a show of national flags.
Welcome arches, posters and banners have been erected along the road from Patna to Jagdishpur in Bhojpur district. The banners and posters carrying pictures of Kuer Singh and the first battle for India's freedom will greet the visitors on the 90-km long stretch.
The programme is part of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' being observed across the country to mark the 75th anniversary of the country's freedom. The union home minister will also attend a meeting of the workers of the party at Sasaram in the neighbouring Rohtas district.