Letters written by Bhagat Singh to British authorities -Chaman Lal-Published in The Hindu-15-8-11

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The letters show the amazing command Bhagat Singh had over the English language, his knowledge of legal terminology and his beautiful handwriting.

Bhagat Singh Jail Documents

-Supreme Court-1

The Superintendent

(Special Duty)

C.I.D. (Political Branch)

Lahore

Dear Sir,

I will feel much obliged if you will kindly allow me to have an interview with my father, as I have got some very important instructions to give him for my defence counsel in connection with the Delhi case.

I hope you will not disallow it on the ground that I have already had an interview, because the matter is very urgent.

Hoping to be favoured

Yours Etc.

Sd/ Bhagat Singh

Noting in Urdu by officials dated 31/5/29

Stamp in English on upper left corner of the letter — admitted in evidence and added to Special Tribunal Lahore Conspiracy case.

Sd/ Judge

Special Tribunal, date not mentioned.

Jail Document-2

In the Court of the special magistrate, Lahore

Crown VS. Sukhdev & Others

Charged under section 121N 302+120 B.

This humble petition of the accused Bhagat Singh most humbly shweth (states) —

1. That the petitioner is going unrepresented in the case.

2. That evidence has been produced in this court entangling the petitioner in the murders of Mr. Saunders and Sardar Chanan Singh,

3. That the petitioner may be able to effectively cross-examine the witnesses, that (as in Bhagat Singh’s own handwrit-____

ing) it is necessary that the petitioner may be given an opportunity to visit the spot and see the roads and other surroundings in connection with the alleged incident.

4. That the petitioner therefore prays that proper facilities to be afforded him for the said Purpose and that the production of further witnesses regarding the particular incident may be postponed till the petitioner has been able to examine the locality.

D/4th Nov.29

Sd./ Bhagat Singh

Petitioner

(Letters written by Bhagat Singh in his own hand, have been tried to be kept as close to the original as possible.)

Jail Document-3

To

The Registrar,

The Special Tribunal

Lahore Conspiracy case

Lahore

Sir,

Kindly supply me with an attested copy of the order of the special magistrate, dated 3rd May 1930, according to which the inquiry proceedings in that court were stayed.

Thanking you in anticipation

Yours etc.

D/19th June 1930

Sd./Bhagat Singh

Undertrial

Lahore conspiracy case

Lahore

To,

The Registrar,

Special Tribunal, Poonch House, Lahore

Through

The Superintendent,

Central jail, Lahore

Noting — No.7 by D/20th June 1930

Forwarded to the Registrar, Special Tribunal Poonch House Lahore, for favour of necessary action as he deem fit.

Signatures etc. Sd./ Major Ims, Superintendent, Central Jail, Lahore

Jail Document-4

In the court of the Special Tribunal, Lahore Conspiracy Case, Lahore

Constituted under the Lahore C.C. Special ordinance

Crown VS. Bhagat Singh &Others

Charged under sections121, 121A, 302, 120B etc.

Most Respectfully Shweth:-

1. That the petitioner is an accused in the above case.

2. That he is not attending the court, due to the account given in a previous letter, submitted by him before this court.

3. That he went on hunger strike in protest against certain Rules and regulations of jail department and that the hunger strike had nothing to do with the trial whatsoever.

4. That according to the provisions of the special ordinance, accused still have the right to be represented by a counsel if so desired.

5. That the case is entering a new stage i.e. the prosecution evidence is going to be closed and the accused shall be called upon to produce defence or to make statements if desired.

6. That at this delicate moment the petitioner wants the help of his relatives and legal advisers.

7. That all the interviews with relatives and legal advisers have been stopped by the jail authorities due to the so called breach of jail discipline caused by his hunger strike.

8. That the purely executive affair is hampering the cause of justice.

9. That it is prayed in the interests of justice and fair play that the court be pleased to issue orders to the jail authorities to allow him all these interviews which are very essential for defence purposes.

D/11/8/30

Sd./ Bhagat Singh

Convict-Undertrial

Central Jail, Lahore

No. 488-p D/ 11.8.30

Forwarded to the Registrar, Hon’ble Special Tribunal Lahore Conspiracy case, Lahore for favour of disposal.

Lahore / 11.8.30 Sd./ Supdt. Central Jail, Lahore

Jail Document-5

In the Hon’ble High Court of Judicature (Punjab) Lahore

Charged under sections 302, 121, 121A etc. of I.P.C

Most respectfully Shweth:-

1. That the petitioner is an accused in the Lahore Conspiracy Case, being tried by the Special Tribunal constituted under the Lahore Conspiracy Ordinance.

2. That the petitioner and his co-accused refused to attend the court in protest of certain order passed and treatment meted out to the accused.

3. That the petitioner went on hunger strike on July 28th’30 in protest against certain regulations of the jail department.

4. That the trial is entering in new stage i.e. the Prosecution evidence is about to be closed and the petitioner is to be called upon to make his statement and to offer any defence if desired.

5. That the jail authorities have altogether stopped all the interviews of the petitioner with his relatives and legal advisers.

6. That the purely executive affair is hampering the cause of justice and these orders of the executive are highly illegal.

7. That the petitioner wants the help of his relatives and legal advisers in deciding the most delicate questions of defence.

8. That there is a special provision in the Lahore Conspiracy case Ordinance to the effect that if any accused voluntarily disables himself by hunger strike or otherwise or resists his production before the court, he [will] still have the right to be represented by counsel in his absence.

9. That in the present circumstances, the accused feels quite handicapped due to the above mentioned order of the jail authorities.

10. That it is prayed that in the interest of justice and fair play, the court be pleased to issue such instructions to the authorities concerned as would be necessary to give full and proper facilities for arranging defence adequately in a case where the petitioner is being tried for such serious offences as may bring extreme penalty of law.

11. That it is prayed that the court be pleased to issue urgent orders for allowing interviews etc. at the earliest convenience.

D/11/8/30

Sd./ Bhagat Singh

Convict-undertrial

Lahore Conspiracy case

Lahore

Through The Suptdt. Central Jail, Lahore,

Central Jail, Lahore

No. 127-Sd./11/8/30

Forwarded to the Registrar of the High Court of Judicature for favour of disposal

Sd./

Jail Document-6

In the Hon’ble High Court of Judicature (Punjab) Lahore

Crown VS. Bhagat Singh & Others

(Lahore Conspiracy case)

Charged under sections 302, 121, 121A etc. of I.P.C.

Most respectfully Shweth:– 1. That the petitioner submitted a petition on 11th August 1930 to this learned court through the Supdt. Central jail, Lahore, praying the court to intervene in the matter of interviews essential for defence purposes, with concerned relatives and legal advisers, which have been stopped due to his resorting to hunger strike as a protest against certain jail rules.

2. That a full week has elapsed since and no orders have been received by the petitioner.

3. That the defence is being unnecessarily handicapped and he is suffering simply due to [the] high handedness of the executive authorities.

4. That it is prayed that immediate orders be passed to this effect and the petitioner be informed of that.

D/16/8/30

Jail Document-7

To

The Special Commissioners

Lahore Conspiracy case Tribunal, Lahore

Sir,

I have just been informed by the jail authorities that the learned court was pleased to pass orders on my application dated 11th Aug.’30, to the effect that interviews with legal adviser alone may be allowed. I was at a loss to understand the reason of such an order. Why should I not be allowed to see my relatives, when the said interviews are very essential for defence purposes? If the order is meant simply to make a show that the accused are given proper facilities regarding their defence, though in reality nothing of the sort is done, on the contrary the defence is hampered at every step, then all my petitions and representations are useless.

My legal adviser, L. Duni Chand Bar-at-Law is in jail. I want to engage a new one, which I cannot do without the help and advice of my father. Therefore the interview is very essential. I have to consult my father about offering the defence. I want to ascertain how far he can help me in this respect. If interviews will not be allowed, the court and jail authorities shall stand responsible for the serious consequences that I might have to bear for this high-handedness.

With no stretch of imagination can I understand as to why should the court of law join hands with the executive in such matters as are immediately concerned with the administration of justice and be a party to the unnecessary harassment of the accused.

I most earnestly request the court to reconsider their order passed on my said application and to issue instructions to the jail authorities to allow my interviews so long as the trial is going on. They shall have time enough to treat us as they like after conviction.

Hoping to be forwarded with an early decision.

Yours etc.

D/18th Aug.’30

Sd./Bhagat Singh

Convict-Undertrial

Jail Document-8

In the Court of the Special Tribunal,

Lahore conspiracy Case Lahore

Crown VS. Sukhdev & Others

Charged Under sections 121, 121 A, 302 & 120 B

Most Respectfully Shweth:-

1. That the petitioner has today on 22nd Aug.’ 30 been supplied with the copies of the orders of the learned court bearing the dates 11th August and 22nd August ’30.

2. That in spite of the order of 11th August, no interview has so far been allowed to him.

3. That it is impossible for the petitioner to represent his case personally before the court on 25th August due to the weakness caused by hunger strike.

4. That unless and until he is allowed to see his relatives he is not in a position to engage any counsel.

5. That unless and until he is allowed to consult his co-accused he cannot decide about other matters concerning the defence.

6. That it is for the court to see that their orders are carried into effect properly.

7. That it is prayed that the court be pleased to issue immediate orders to the jail authorities to allow these interviews without any further delay.

D/22nd Aug’30

Sd/Bhagat Singh

Central Jail, Lahore

This application was handed over to me by Bhagat Singh at the Central Jail on the 22nd August 1930.

Sd/ Fatebuhan Reg(Not Clear)

(Spellings of the words are as written by Bhagat Singh in his own handwriting.)

Jail Document-9

In the Court of the Special Tribunal

Lahore Conspiracy Case, Lahore

Crown VS. Sukhdev & Others

Charged under sections 302, 120B, 121, 121A etc. of I.P.C.

Most Respectfully Shweth:- 1. That the petitioner has just been furnished with a copy of the learned court regarding the close [of] the prosecution evidence.

2. That since the accused-petitioner has not been given any opportunity to interview the relatives and particularly his father, who is the only person interested in his defence, he is not in a position to engage any counsel or legal adviser, and without whose help he cannot decide anything regarding such a delicate matter as the defence.

3. That it is prayed that the court be pleased to see if it is proper in these circumstances to deprive a man of all facilities of defence; and to do whatever is thought proper to meet the ends of justice.

D/26/8/30

Sd./ Bhagat Singh

Petitioner

Central Jail, Lahore

Seen by all the members of Tribunal. Placed on record.

Sd. / … d. 27/8/30

Jail Document-10

In the court of the Special Tribunal

Lahore Conspiracy case, Lahore

Crown VS. Sukhdev & others

Charged under sections 121, 121A, 302, 120B etc.

Most Respectfully Shweth:-

1. That yesterday on 29th August’30 the petitioner was informed by the jail authorities that orders have been received from the local govt. to allow him interviews with the legal advisers, relatives and co-accused for discussing and deciding finally about our defence in this case on 29th, 30th and 31st August ’30.

2. That father of the petitioner who is at Ludhiana standing his own trial, has been sent for and is expected today.

3. That the petitioner shall have an interview with his co-accused tomorrow viz 31st August’30.

4. That in the present circumstances, the petitioner shall be able to decide about his defence and will inform the court about the same on Monday i.e. 1st September 1930.

5. That it is therefore prayed that the learned court be pleased to postpone the passing of any final orders on the question of defence till Monday when the petitioner shall be in a position to inform the court of his final decision regarding the same.

D/30th Aug: 30

Sd./Bhagat Singh

Petitioner

No. 182-c D/ 30.8.30

Forwarded to the Registrar to the court of Special Tribunal Lahore Conspiracy case Lahore for favour of disposal.

Lahore Central Jail Sd./30.8.30 Supdt./ Central Jail

Jail Document-11

In the Court of the Special Magistrate, Lahore

Crown Versus Sukhdev Etc.

It is submitted as follows:-

That on 21st [October, 1929] instant, an unhappy incident occurred in the court. While an approver named Jai Gopal was giving his evidence standing in the dock, he adopted such a provocative posture that apart from twisting his moustaches, he addressed the accused, Janab ye Sab ap ke kartut Hai Sachchi Sachi Baten keh raha hun [Sirs, these are all your misdeeds, telling the true incidents!]. In these most provocative circumstances the youngest of all the accused, Prem Dutt [who was just 18 years at that time, born in 1911], got excited and threw a slipper at the approver. All the accused disapproved of his act and disassociated themselves from it. They wanted to make a statement in connection with that affair. But their statement was not recorded. They then submitted a joint statement. In spite of their statement to that effect, orders were passed against all the accused and all were subjected to undergo humiliation for the fault of one person, which was against the principle of Justice.

Comrade Bijoy Kumar Sinha has already submitted a statement about what happened in the Borstal Jail on 22nd instant. On the 23rd Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt were brought to the gate of the court by the Jail authorities. But the notice wanted to handcuff them on both hands which they refused. Then a large number of policemen and a few sub-inspectors and inspector pounced upon them. A few sat on their bodies and others xxxxx (word cancelled after writing) continued violently kicking and beating. These blows were dealt mercilessly on their heads and chests. Then both of them were dragged to court-room.

They asked if the police officials were acting under his orders and if he would ask for explanation from their officials for such brutal and illegal conduct. But no attention was paid to these …

The second page of this statement is not found in the Supreme Court digital records. Many of the accused, including Bijoy Kumar Sinha and Kanwalnath Tiwari, submitted written statements on police brutalities after this incident to the court, some of which were not recorded faithfully and were distorted by court officials. This statement also seems to be part of the same records, which was probably submitted on behalf of Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt. Most of the jail statements were drafted by Bhagat Singh.

Jail Document-12

In the court of the Special Magistrate, Lahore

Crown VS. Sukhdev & Others

Charged under sections 120B+302, 121A

The petitioners respectfully submit the following:-

1. That majority of the petitioners have been in confinement for the last nine months in the above case and the rest have been so confined for terms varying from two to six months, and the case will yet take a very long time.

2. That the charges against the petitioners are of a very serious nature.

3. That the petitioners are being deprived of the fundamental right of being defended by a counsel as they are not permitted to see their attorneys and friends, a matter which the learned court has delegated to the jail authorities who have refused to allow their interview with their attorneys and friends.

4. That although the police and other officials are permitted to come freely into the courtroom, the petitioners friends are not even permitted to enter the court room.

5. That the dock in which the petitioners are kept in the course of the inquiry is always surrounded by police and jail officials and even those petitioners who are represented by counsel feel handicapped in communicating with and giving full instructions to them.

6. That an unprecedented practice of keeping an assistant jailor and some jail officials present always around the dock is being daily pursued.

7. That the petitioners have been deprived of the right of having access to newspapers which they need very badly in connection with the defence.

8. That they are being persecuted and punished by the jail authorities for matters which have occurred in the court.

9. That the petitioners are unable to take legal steps in respect of the illegal punishment inflicted on them and the illegal treatment meted out to them by the jail authorities.

10. That definite complaints filed by some of the petitioners in respect of the ill treatment and assault by the police officials have not been attended to by the authorities and while in custody the petitioners are unable to prosecute them …

Here ends the first page of the petition. The second and likely final page is not in the digital records of the Supreme Court. The second page may have just one or two more submissions and comments of the jail authorities, if at all, if they had forwarded the petition. The petition could be dated Jan.-Feb. 1930, when trial was in progress and when many unpleasant incidents took place in the course of the trial by Special Magistrate Rai Saheb Pandit Sri Kishan.

(Documents compiled by Chaman Lal.)

Keywords: Bhagat Singh, Indian Independence Struggle, Bhagat Singh letters

Rare documents on Bhagat Singh’s trial and life in jail -Chaman Lal in The Hindu

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Digitalised records with the Supreme Court reveal some inspiring facets of the revolutionary. Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt offered themselves for arrest after throwing harmless bombs in the Central Assembly to ‘make the deaf hear.’ Their case drew worldwide attention.

When the Supreme Court of India established a museum to display landmarks in the history of India’s judicial system, it also put on display records of some historic trials. The first exhibition that was organised was the ‘Trial of Bhagat Singh.’ It was opened on September 28, 2007, on the occasion of the birth centenary celebrations of one of the most significant among martyrs and popular heroes. Noorul Hooda, Curator of the Museum, and Rajmani Srivastava of the National Archives worked to collect documents, items like bomb shell remains, pictures and publications. Not all of what was collected could be displayed in the exhibition. In 2008, the Supreme Court digitalised the exhibits. Some of Bhagat Singh’s rare writings thus came to light for the first time since he was executed on March 23, 1931 at the Lahore Central Jail along with Rajguru and Sukhdev. How the three young patriots were put to judicial murder, is brought out by the eminent legal scholar, A.G. Noorani, in his book, The Trial of Bhagat Singh — Politics of Justice.

The most significant part of Bhagat Singh’s life is that spent in jail since his arrest on April 8, 1929 from the Central Assembly in Delhi, where he and B.K. Dutt offered themselves to be arrested after throwing harmless bombs in the Assembly to ‘make the deaf hear.’ They faced two trials. The first was in the Delhi bomb case. It started on May 7, 1929 in Delhi and was committed to the Sessions Judge, on charges under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code and the Explosives Act. That trial started in June. Bhagat Singh and Dutt made a historic statement on June 6. Dutt was represented by the nationalist counsel Asaf Ali. Bhagat Singh fought his own case with the help of a legal adviser.

On June 12, in less than a week, both were convicted and transported for life. From the June 6 statement to his last letter to his comrades written on March 22, 1931, a day before his execution, Bhagat Singh read and wrote so much: one can only marvel at the explosion of talent at the age of 21 years-plus. He wrote letters to family members and friends, jail and court officials, and penned major articles including Why I am an Atheist, Letter to Young Political Workers, and Jail Notebook.

On June 14, after the conviction, Bhagat Singh was transferred to Mianwali and Dutt to the Lahore jail. That was the start of a chain of struggles throughout the period they were in jail. It began with a hunger strike from June 15 by both Bhagat Singh and Dutt, demanding the status of political prisoners. Bhagat Singh was also shifted to Lahore jail after some time. He and Dutt were kept away from the other accused in the Lahore conspiracy case, such as Sukhdev. The trial in that case, related to the murder of Saunders, began on July 10, 1929. Bhagat Singh, who was on hunger strike since June 15 along with Dutt, was brought to the court on a stretcher. The other accused in the case came to know about this hunger strike on that day, and almost all of them joined the strike.

This historic hunger strike by Bhagat Singh and his comrades resulted in the martyrdom of Jitender Das on September 13, 1929. Bhagat Singh and the other comrades ended their hunger strike on September 2 after receiving assurances from a Congress party team and British officials on the acceptance of their demands, but they resumed it on September 4 as the British officials went back on their word. It finally ended on October 4 after 112 days, though the status of “political prisoner” was still not given; some other demands were acceded to.

During the Lahore conspiracy case trial conducted by Special Magistrate Rai Sahib Pandit Kishan Chand, an incident occurred on October 21, 1929. Provoked by an approver named Jai Gopal, Prem Dutt, the youngest among the accused persons, threw a slipper at him. Despite the other accused dissociating themselves from the act, the magistrate ordered the handcuffing of all of them. Bhagat Singh, Shiv Verma, B.K. Dutt, Bejoy Kumar Sinha, Ajoy Ghosh, Prem Dutt and others were beaten after they refused to be handcuffed. They were treated brutally inside the jail and at the court gate in front of the magistrate. Ajoy Ghosh and Shiv Verma fell unconscious following the police brutality. Bhagat Singh was targeted by a British officer by name Roberts.

The details of the brutalities were recorded by Bejoy Kumar Sinha. In February 1930, Bhagat Singh resumed his hunger strike for 15 days, as the British officials did not fulfil the promises they had made earlier with respect to demands.

Meanwhile, the fame of revolutionaries, arising from their hunger strikes and court statements, soared, while the image of the British was at its lowest ebb. The case drew attention the world over. While dismissing appeals from Bhagat Singh and Dutt against the Delhi bomb case judgment, the Punjab High Court in Lahore acknowledged Bhagat Singh to be a ‘Sincere Revolutionary.’

The British colonial regime led by Viceroy Irwin took the unprecedented step of issuing the Lahore conspiracy case ordinance on May 1, 1930. Under this, the proceedings that were being conducted by a Special Magistrate in Lahore were transferred to a three-judge Special Tribunal established to complete them within a fixed period. The Tribunal’s judgment was not to be challenged in the superior courts; only the Privy Council could hear any appeal. This ordinance was never approved by the Central Assembly or the British Parliament, and it lapsed later without any legal or constitutional sanctity. Its only purpose was to hang Bhagat Singh in the shortest possible time. That judgment sentencing Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru to the gallows was delivered on October 7, 1930.

The Tribunal began its proceedings on May 5, 1930. The accused in the Lahore conspiracy case refused to attend the proceedings after May 12. On that day they raised slogans and sung revolutionary songs. Brutalities were repeated on them, as in October 1929, in front of the Special Magistrate. This time Ajoy Ghosh, Kundan Lal and Prem Dutt fell unconscious. The accused remained absent during the whole proceedings and remained unrepresented by counsel. Advocates engaged to defend them were insulted by the Tribunal. Subsequently, the accused themselves directed them not to defend them in their absence. These details are in A.G. Noorani’s book, The Trial of Bhagat Singh.

What remained out of view all these years were the many letters that Bhagat Singh wrote and the petitions he sent to either the jail authorities or to the Special Tribunal or to the Punjab High Court, during the period 1929-1930. In these letters and petitions, Bhagat Singh sought to expose the British colonial regime’s determined efforts to get him hanged by denying the accused any defence during the trial. Even though the accused were choosing not to be present in the court, they were participating in the legal proceedings through counsel. The Tribunal refused the revolutionaries’ counsel, Amolak Ram Kapoor, permission to cross-examine 457 prosecution witnesses and allowed the cross-examination of only five approvers. This was a farce.

The letters reveal another hunger strike by Bhagat Singh from July 28, 1930, on which he himself informed the High Court it was against the jail rules. He was joined in the hunger strike by Kundan Lal, Prem Dutt Verma, Sukhdev and Bejoy Kumar Sinha. This hunger strike continued till at least August 22. With this, the total period of hunger strikes observed during his nearly two-year incarceration becomes about five months. Probably this is more than the total period of Mahatma Gandhi’s hunger strikes during his prolonged political career starting from South Africa.

When the court finally allowed interviews as sought by Bhagat Singh to prepare his defence, and when he asked for an adjournment of the case, the court closed the proceedings without giving any chance to defence counsel to cross-examine prosecution witnesses or present defence witnesses. Then it reserved judgment, which was delivered on October 7, 1930.

More such documents might emerge. The compilation of the complete proceedings of the Delhi Assembly bomb case and the Special Magistrate Court’s proceedings could bring more facts to light. The Punjab Archives in Lahore has 135 files of the Bhagat Singh case. These are not accessible even to Pakistani scholars; Kuldip Nayar is now trying to get access to them. In 2006, at the time of the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, the Acting Chief Justice of the Pakistan Supreme Court, Rana Bhagwan Dass, handed over to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh four volumes of exhibits of the Lahore conspiracy case. These included some new documents.

While the source of the documents in the Supreme Court records is not clearly mentioned, undoubtedly these are part of the trial proceedings at both levels. The letters, self-explanatory in the context of the freedom struggle, show the amazing command Bhagat Singh had over the English language, apart from Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi, his knowledge of legal terminology and his beautiful handwriting. In the book, Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, historian V.N. Dutta expressed doubts about Bhagat Singh’s command over English as he was an under-graduate. He sought to ascribe the language to Jawaharlal Nehru or Asaf Ali. For legal professionals, scholars and students, the letters present a wonderful experience of how Bhagat Singh had such maturity in complex matters of legal defence.

But Bhagat Singh’s very talent and competence scared the British colonial regime and it became even more determined to get rid of him.

The Supreme Court’s digitalised records include nearly 20 written Bhagat Singh documents. Some of these, such as the June 6, 1929 statement, ‘Ideal of Indian Revolution,’ have been published. Only 12 letters or petitions remain unpublished. This writer acknowledges the permission granted by the Supreme Court to do so. Ten of the documents are in complete form. Only the first page remains of two letters/documents, one relating to the October 21, 1929 incident in court and another petition from early-1930; the second and likely final page in these two are not in the digital records. Also available now is a photograph of Bhagat Singh and Dutt, published in ‘Bande Matram’, Lahore (on April 12, 1929) and Hindustan Times (April 18, 1929). This was taken by photographer Sham Lal of Kashmere Gate in Delhi on April 4, 1929 and sent to newspapers for publication by Bhagat Singh’s comrades. The writer is grateful to the National Archives, New Delhi, for providing the rare newspaper photographs.

[Chaman Lal, the editor of the Bhagat Singh Documents (Hindi: Publications Division) and the Jail Notebook and Other Writings (LeftWord), is a Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, now on deputation to The University of the West Indies, Trinidad &Tobago, as Visiting Professor.]