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Updated: November 17, 2012 01:28 IST

Renaming of Lahore chowk hits another road block

Anita Joshua
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Portrait of Bhagat Singh
The Hindu Archives Portrait of Bhagat Singh

As anticipated by some civil society activists, the bid to rename Lahore's Fawara Chowk in the Shadman area after revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh has hit another road block with the Lahore High Court on Friday stopping the Punjab Government from notifying a government-appointed committee's decision in this regard.

Two days after the `Dilkash Lahore Committee' cleared the proposal to rename Fawara Chowk (also referred by some as Shadman Chowk) after Bhagat Singh, the Tehrik Hurmat e Rasool moved the High Court. According to a PTI report from Lahore, the petitioner alleged that the Bhagat Singh Foundation - one of the organisations advocating the renaming of the roundabout after the revolutionary who was hanged there - was funded by the Indian spy agency, RAW.

The Tehrik Hurmat e Rasool is headed by Amir Hamza, a leader of the Jamat `ud' Da'wah (JuD) which has been objecting to the move ever since the District Coordination Officer announced the decision to revert to Fawara/Shadman Chowk's old name, Bhagat Singh Chowk, on his 105th birth anniversary on September 29.

In view of the protests, the matter had been referred to the `Dilkash Lahore Committee' which gave its nod of approval to the proposal at its meeting on Wednesday. The Committee had five ulema - including from the Badshahi Mosque and Jamia Naeemi - and no one objected to the proposal at the meeting though some were of the general view that non-Muslims should not be commemorated.

The JuD and others subscribing to the right wing ideology are also of the opinion that since Pakistan is a Muslim country, its major roads and roundabouts should not bear non-Islamic names. They also staged demonstrations in Lahore on Thursday and eye-witnesses said one of the photographs on a JuD banner suggested that renaming the roundabout after Bhagat Singh amounted to an attack on `Nazaria-e-Pakistan' (ideology of Pakistan).

Till Partition, the roundabout had been called Bhagat Singh Chowk in memory of the fact that the revolutionary had been hanged there by the British on March 23, 1931, for his role in the Lahore Conspiracy Case. Viewing Bhagat Singh purely as an Indian freedom fighter, Pakistan renamed the place soon after Independence.

For over a decade now, civil society activists have been demanding that Shadman/Fawara Chowk revert to its old name; arguing that Bhagat Singh was as much a part of Pakistani history as he is of India. And, over the past couple of years, they have made it a point to refer to Fawara/Shadman Chowk as `Bhagat Singh Chowk' to register their determination to challenge the official narrative.

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`Nazaria-e-Pakistan' mmm... I thought the concept proved and is notorioius. It proves that basing a country alone on religion will never survive. A hypocritical country who'se whole existence is based on US dollars - a country which they ultimately want to help destroy - go figure!

from:  Bijan
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 17:47 IST

We Pakistanis proudly love and respect our freedom and all freedom
fighters including Mr.Bhagat Singh.Cynical fanaticism has no
boundaries.Fanatics are found in India too. We do not bother about them,
nor do we like to blame all sensible Indians to be ashamed for them. We
are looking forward for a prosperous Pakistan and India, emerging as
good friendly neighbors coexisting with dignity and honor.

from:  A Pakistani
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 15:04 IST

Its gives me pain in my heart by seeing this kind of quote, I personally feel bhagat singh won the battle against the bristish but lost to his own people.

from:  sangam kumar chaturvedi
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 14:43 IST

Sri;

We didn't gain anything from Indian independence, which was simply a result of change of colonial guard from UK to USA. The real struggle was to partition South Asia so we could be free as well.

from:  Tipu Qaimkhani
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 13:47 IST

Is it not there internal matter?

from:  Madhusudan Namjoshi
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 12:07 IST

India's secularists must take note of these incidents in Lahore. What is happening in Pakistan, will happen in India also, if the intolerant ideologies supported by the mullahs are allowed to roost.

from:  Sagar
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 11:52 IST

Dear Pakistan, Your are doing no favour to the memory of Baghat Singh.
Please drop the idea and spare us of unwanted controversies. He will be
fondly remembered as giant colossus who defied the might of the British
Empire and not because some dusty street corner is named after him!

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 10:35 IST

Bhagat Singh is living in the sole of millions of Indians. Renaming the chowk of Lohar is immaterial for us.

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Nov 17, 2012 at 09:00 IST

What do you expect? It is Pakistan. Pakistanis should be ashamed to enjoy the fruits of the
sacrifice made by Bhagat Singh but cannot name the crossing after him. He was born and
died there. Unfortunately it is called Pakistan now.

from:  Sri
Posted on: Nov 16, 2012 at 22:54 IST
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