India must at least obtain digital copies of documents held in Lahore archives, says Prof. Chaman Lal.
A former senate member of Punjab University and honorary advisor, Bhagat Singh Archives and Resource Centre, Delhi Professor Chaman Lal has urged the Punjab government to take up the issue of acquiring files relating to the court cases of Bhagat Singh presently at the Punjab Archives in Anarkali tomb, Lahore in Pakistan.
Professor Lal, in a letter to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh through Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, has pointed out that it is well known that Punjab Archives in Anarkali tomb in Lahore (Pakistan) has many files relating to the court cases of Bhagat Singh. “Its numbers were mentioned from 135 to 165. Scholars, including me, visiting this archive have not been shown these files. However, situation has now changed for the better. On March 23, 2018, for the first time Lahore archives held a month-long exhibition of more than 200 items from the Bhagat Singh files. There was a plan to digitize these files,” he wrote.
He added that in a latest book on The Execution of Bhagat Singh by Barrister Satvinder Juss, Professor of Law at Kings College London, has for the first time produced the details of 160 files relating to Bhagat Singh’s case.
“Barrister Satvinder Juss as British scholar was given access to these all files, and he made liberal use of the resources of these files in his book published in 2021 from London and New Delhi. I think it is Indian Punjab’s moral duty to acquire the copy of these files digital as well as photocopy, if not original. It is also Pakistani Punjab’s moral responsibility to happily share these files with their Indian Punjab government,” Prof. Lal wrote.
Professor Lal said it is a happy situation that Pakistan is preserving legacy of Bhagat Singh in a proper manner and allowing even foreign scholars to consult these.
“But this is as much a fact that Bhagat Singh enjoys a special status in India and especially in Indian Punjab as their most beloved revolutionary hero. So, it is most appropriate that after 74 years of Partition and almost nine decades of Bhagat Singh’s execution, the records of Bhagat Singh case files are kept in one of important archives of Indian Punjab, in some University or State archives. I hope that Punjab government will immediately set in motion the official communication with Pakistan to acquire these most valuable historic records, which includes many unrevealed aspects of Punjab history as it includes thousands of pages of documents, photographs and other material,” he added.