Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Birth anniversaries of Bhagat Singh Shaheed and Mahatma Gandhi

Counterpunch, October 2, 2007

Two Indian Birth Anniversaries
The Meteor and the Mahatma

By NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN

This week marks the birth anniversaries of two of India's heroes. As everyone knows, that of Mahatma Gandhi falls on Oct 2. Of the other -- I am ashamed to say that until a couple of days back I didn't even know Bhagat Singh's birthday. I only learnt of it from an article by Mahir Ali , to be informed that September 28, 2007 was Bhagat Singh's birth centenary!

It is the lot of many historical figures to be known mainly for one thing. Gandhi is anchored in the Indian consciousness as the leader of India's independence struggle, and known in the rest of the world as an apostle of non-violence. Ask anyone in India about Bhagat Singh and they would say that he went to the gallows for shooting a British policeman. Others might add that he did so without flinching, refusing even to appeal his case. Some might know that he had exploded a bomb in India's Central Assembly. Part of this name recognition can be credited to a couple of recent Bollywood films about his life.

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