On 3rd June 1947 Partition plan of British colonialism


My letter in The Tribune today-12th June 2017-

Going back in time

Refer to RK Kaushik’s ‘Plan that went awry’ (June 3); I wish to submit some facts that are not in public memory, but are significant. Parliamentarian-historian Prof MN Das in his book, Fateful Events of 1947, states that Sarat Chandra Bose, elder brother of Subhas Chandra Bose, Kiran Chander Roy, JN Mondal and HS Suhrawardi tried to keep Bengal united and independent. Sarat declared that Bengal would be a socialist republic, which scared Mountbatten so much that he ensured that Bengal was divided. In Punjab too, the unionist party government led by Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana and Congress leader Gopi Chand Bhargava tried to keep Punjab united. But their plan was defeated by the Muslim League led by Jinnah, and Master Tara Singh who ripped apart the Muslim League flag. In NWFP, the Congress led by Dr Khan Sahib, brother of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, had to pass a resolution in favour of joining India or being independent, but Mountbatten saw to it that the referendum was held under Jinnah’s pressure. By a 50.46% vote it joined Pakistan. Chaman Lal, New Delhi

This is edited version-here is R K Kaushik’s article-

Plan that went awry

Divide & Rule: Mountbatten announced his plan on June 3, 1947. From left: Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Ismay, Lord Mountbatten, M.A. Jinnah at the conference on Partition.


SEVENTY years ago,  on June 3, 1947, at 4 pm the then Governor-General and Viceroy Lord Mountbatten addressed the nation over the radio. He announced his 3rd June Plan, according to which India would be free on August 15, 1947.  Known as the Mountbatten Plan, it was also announced simultaneously in the House of Lords and the House of Commons. M.A. Jinnah on behalf of the All India Muslim League, Jawaharlal Nehru on behalf of the Indian National Congress and Sardar Baldev Singh on behalf of the Sikh community, followed the Viceroy in speaking to the nation over the radio. Under the Plan, the British would transfer power to two successor authorities, the Congress and the Muslim League. In  territorial terms, the dominions of India and Pakistan would remain within the British Commonwealth. Of the  559 princely states in India, 10 states opted for Pakistan and 549 remained in India. The  British paramountcy over them would not be transferred to the two dominions and consequently would lapse constitutionally. The third option of the princely states becoming independent and not joining either dominions was kept open for them. This was denied to the British Indian provinces.The Indian Independence Act of 1947 received King George VI’s assent on June 18, 1947. This Act expressly provided for the Partition of Bengal and Punjab and also for the continuation of the Government of India Act, 1935 until the two Dominions framed their own constitutions. Until then, the Governor-General could adapt the GOI Act 1935 to suit the peculiar requirements of his dominion. Lord Listowel became the last Secretary of State. The Congress was the first to accept the Mountbatten Plan by demanding the partition of Punjab and Bengal. The AIML council session was held in camera.  It accepted the Mountbatten Plan under protest and authorised Jinnah to take  action. This was unacceptable to the Congress leaders, particularly Nehru and Sardar Patel, who wanted a clear-cut acceptance of the Plan before the Congress ratified it. Mountbatten accepted undertakings from both the Congress and the AIML simultaneously. The AIML termed their acceptance a compromise settlement. Stage was set for the creation of Pakistan. The plan for the transfer of power to India spelt out  the procedure in detail.  The provincial legislative assemblies of Bengal and Punjab would each be asked to meet in two parts, one representing the Muslim- majority districts and the other the rest of the province. The members of the two parts of each Legislative Assembly sitting separately would be empowered to vote whether or not the province should be partitioned. If a simple majority of either part decided for partition, division would take place. If partition was decided upon, each part of the Legislative Assembly would, on behalf of the areas they represented, decide whether to join the existing Constituent Assembly or a new Constituent Assembly. After this, the Governor-General would appoint a Boundary Commission “to demarcate the boundaries of the two parts of the Punjab on basis of ascertaining the contiguous majority areas of the Muslims and non-Muslims”. The Commission would also “be instructed to take into account other factors”.   The Plan allowed the existing Constituent Assembly to continue its work and laid down a procedure for those parts which had not accepted it to determine their future. The Punjab and Bengal assemblies were to decide separately whether the two provinces should be divided or stay united and which constituent assembly should  demarcate the boundaries of the portioned provinces on the basis of contiguous majority areas of Muslims and non-Muslims and other factors. In case of  the partition of Bengal, the Muslim-majority district of Sylhet would decide in a referendum whether it should be merged into East Bengal or form part of Assam and a Boundary Commission would demarcate the boundary. The Sindh assembly at a special meeting would take its decision. Voters of the NWFP assembly would decide in a referendum held under the aegis of the Governor-General and in consultation with the provincial government about one of the two options. Similarly, British Baluchistan would choose one of the options and the Governor-General was authorised to determine the mechanism. An appropriate successor authority would negotiate agreements with the tribes of the North-West Frontier. The policy towards the states was to remain the same as contained in the Cabinet Mission’s memorandum (of May 12, 1946).Listowel, the Secretary of State, suggested to Mountbatten that Lord Cyril Radcliffe be appointed to head the Boundary Commissions for Punjab and Bengal. Radcliffe, educated at Eton and Oxford, became a leading barrister in England. He had worked with Mountbatten before and since he had never been to British India, he was considered unbiased. Both Nehru and Jinnah agreed to the appointment which was formally approved by the Partition Council. At the time of his appointment, Radcliffe was Vice-President of the London Bar Association. Pakistan nominated Justice Din Muhammad and Justice Muhammad Munir as members of Punjab Boundary Commission, while India nominated Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan and Justice Teja Singh. The Boundary Commissions were constituted before the arrival of Radcliffe on July 8, 1947. In retrospect, the June 3 Plan was not a sagacious scheme. Violence during the Partition led to the killing of more than one million people on both sides of the border, the rape of more than 80,000 women and religious conversion of more than 2 lakh people. It was a surgery without anaesthesia. 

The writer is an IAS Officer of the Punjab Cadre

My response-

‘Plan that went Awry’, while appreciating the article, I wish to add some subsequent facts, which are not in public memory, but are quite significant.
  ‘Parliamentarian-historian Prof. M N Das in his well-documented 2004 book-‘Fateful Events of 1947-The secret British game of divide and quit’ underlined these facts-
1. Sarat Chander Bose, elder brother of Subhas Chander Bose, Kiran Chander Roy, J N Mondal-comrade of Dr. Ambedkar and Bengal Premier of the time H S Suhrawardi tried their best to keep Bengal united and independent. Sarat Chander Bose declared that Bengal will be a ‘Socialist Republic’, which scared Mountbatten so much that he saw to it that Bengal was divided. Hindu Mahasabha leaders NC Chatterjee, father of ex Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and many Congress and Muslim League leaders defeated the plan to keep Bengal united, for voting in favour of partition in Bengal assembly on 20th June 1947.
2. In Punjab also, secular Unionist party government led by Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana and Congress leader Gopi Chand Bhargava tried to keep Punjab united. Khizar Hayat Khan even banned RSS and Muslim League National guards in January 1947. But their plan was defeated by Muslim League led by Jinnah and Master Tara Singh who brandished sword in front of Punjab assembly in Lahore on 4th March 1947, tearing Muslim League flag and giving slogan of ‘Pakistan Murdabad’, which led to the untold suffering mentioned by RK Kaushik to Punjabis of all communities.
3. In North West Frontier Province(NWFP-now named Pakhtunwa-Khyber), there was Congress government led by Dr. Khan Sahib( on whose name Delhi’s Khan Market is named), brother of frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan,. Assembly would have passed resolution in favour of joining India or being independent. But Mountbatten  saw to it through his Governor to have referendum held there, under Jinnah’s pressure, which by just 50.46% majority voted in favour of joining Pakistan. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan could never forgive Congress party for this betrayal and said that ‘they had been stabbed in the back and left to wolves’ by Congress party.
3. There was no sanctity to leave India on 14/15th August 1947, there was one year time in this plan to transfer power, as was done by Mountbatten, while Cyril Radcliffe was partitioning such a huge country on maps, without ever visiting the actual sites of Punjab. If partition was to take place, it could have been as per Dr. Ambedkar advice to transfer communities to both countries in planned and peaceful manner and lot of administrative measures could have been taken in few more months. It would had made no difference if partition was done in February-March 1948 with proper preparations, to save one million lives, worst in the history of the whole world. 
    Mountbatten as representative of British colonialism, Indian and Pakistani political leadership, especially religious fundamentalists of all hues in all parties in 1947 are responsible for one million murders, ten million people’s inhuman migration and other crimes.
    Unfortunately those religious fundamentalists are now in power in both countries.”

Voices Against Intolerance-Four Books


 Vivek ka Parisar(Hindi)-The Republic of reason, Selected writings of Dabholkar, pansare and kalburgi, Hindi translation-ramkishan gupta, Sahmat delhi, 2016, ist ed., pages134, price 120/ r

Dabholkar-Pansare-Kalburgi selections.jpg

           Dr. Narender Dabholkar, Comrade Govind Pansare and Prof. M M Kalburgi fell to the bullets of Hindutva terrorists during years 2013-15. Dr. Dabholkar on 19th August 2013 at Pune, Govind Pansare on 20th February 2015 at Kolhapur and Prof. M M Kalburgi on 30th Ausgust 2015 at Dharwas were shot dead in identical manner. While Dabholkar at the age of 65 years and Govine Pansare at the age of 82 years were shot dead during their morning walk; Prof. M M Kalburgi at the age of 77 was shot dead at his residence in Dharwad at the time of breakfast.

        There has been massive protest by writers from all Indian languages after the assassination of Kalburgi and more than one hundred writers and other artists returned their various state awards, starting with Sahitya Akademi awards returned by nearly forty writers. Writers saw a pattern in these planned assassinations of these well-known personalities, who were actively resisting the rise of Hindutva fascist tendencies in the country by their rational and scientific tempered approach.

        While Prof. M M Kalburgi, a former Vice Chancellor of Kannada University Hampi was a well-known Kannada scholar and author of many books of criticism in Kannada, others two were also well known for their writings in Marathi on rationality and history. To pay tributes to the departed souls, Sahmat brought out the collection of their selected writings in English and Hindi in 2016, as part of resistance movement against the forces who assassinated them.

       In this collection there are five essays by Dabholkar, three by Pansare and four by Kalburgi. Apart from their writings Maharashtra CPM leader Ashok Dhawle, Megha Pansare-daughter in law of Govind Pansare and Dr. M S Ashadevi-a student of Kalburgi have paid tributes to them in their short writings/memoirs. Sahmat has its writing on killings of rationalist bloggers in Bangladesh included in the end of book and introduction is by eminent science writer Jayant Narlikar. Sahmat has underlined the purpose of bringing out this book as to promote the ideas of three martyrs of free thinking and rationality.

     Jayant Narlikar in his brief foreword has remembered Jawaharlal Nehru for emphasising on scientific temper and opined that only scientific perception can eliminate blind faith and intolerance in society.

    Ashok Dhawle in his tribute to Dabholkar has compared assassination of Dabholkar to earlier assassination of Communist MLA Krishna Desai in early 1970’s by Shiv Sena and noted the anger of common people at this dastardly act of Hindutva terrorists.

        Megha Pansare in her personal memoir has noted that how Govind Pansare rose from the family of a daily wage rural labour and became a kind compassionate comrade and grandpa, who even after tragic death of his young son Avinash, took care of whole family.

 Dr. M S Ashadevi has narrated how Prof. Kalburgi was a hard taskmaster to get his students work hard, as he himself was a disciplined scholar and researcher.

  The first essay of Dabholkar is-‘Faith and Blind Faith’, in which author has underlined the perception of his organisation-‘AndhShradha Nirmulan Samiti’-Committee for eradication of blind faith’. Dr. Dabholkar has explained the difference between faith and blind faith. He tells the faith also to be relevant and explains difference between faith and trust. By simple examples, he tells how faith is formed and how there are difficulties in discerning between faith and blind faith. Most of such difficulties arise in the area of religious faiths. He supports the critical approach to analyse things and faiths. Some blind faiths get evaporated with time and development of scientific truths such as ‘Sun revolves around earth’! Dabholkar underlines four aspects to verify ‘faith’-To verify truth from facts, non-violence, to be dynamic and finally to make humans sublime. In second essay ‘Scientific Perception’, he begins with explaining the verification of evidence by way of observation, reason, guess and verification. He speaks in favour of ‘looking at the problem from all angles’ as a ‘correct attitude’. Dabholkar emphasis is on ‘self-control, Curiosity, humility and fearlessness as qualities of rational person.

   Dabholkar in his third essay discusses-Why our society lacks scientific perception? He starts from family, which is autocratic, does not encourage the tendency to question among children, feudal attitude of patronising. In next essay rationalist Dabholkar focuses upon morality and blind faith. Moral values or moralism is projected as part of religious faith, which remains unquestioned, leading to feudal kind of loyality, which is detrimental to the growth of critical thinking.

  Dabholkar finally comes to the issue of ‘Reason and scientific temper’, where he opines that blind faith has engulfed every aspect of our society, our writers, Universities are breeding ground for blind faith. He underlines that the relevant size of man’s brain, his power of pressing the thumb, his power of speaking and language has made man more powerful than other big and strong species. Though he acknowledges the contribution of ancient India in field of ayurved, mathematics etc.,, but he chides the kind of mythology being promoted as pusjpak viman, brahmastars etc.

         Govind Pansare in his first essay ‘Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy’ underlines the irony that none in Congress party has any knowledge of Gandhi’s tradition and Sangh parivar trying to appropriate his legacy despite being killing him, is ironical. He tells us that there were seven murder attempts were made on Gandhi, including four alone by Godse, succeeding in his last attempt. In second essay Pansare discusses-What should be the approach of Communists towards religion?’ He explains the oft quoted Marx quotation-Religion is the opium of masses in its full text, whereas mostly the other part of quotation is left out. Marx describes religion as ‘sigh of the sufferer’ before terming it as ‘opium’ which helps the victim to bear the suffering of poverty. His third essay is –The thought of majority’ (Bahujan). He reminds the legacy of Dalit activist Vithhal Ramji Shinde, whose contribution to Dalit awakening is ignored.

  Kalburgi’s four essays are on literature. The first one analysing difference between Writing, poetry and literature. In second important essay he discusses ‘literature as collective property, partly as individual possession’. Third is ‘Riti sahitya aur Lok sahitya’-the ornamental literature and people’s literature, favouring the later. His fourth and last essay is somewhat technical-‘The structure of research’. It is like a teacher’s lecture to his research students, in which he explains the various aspects and process of research work.

    All three martyrs were known masters of their respective fields. In this selection only a small part of their writings are presented in order to make readers aware of their talent and how Hindutva terrorists had silenced that talent brutally. Yet they could not crush their ideas, which live in more strength through their writings now reaching more people through translations.

   Sahmat Delhi has done well to bring out his collection to perpetuate and promote their ideas, sought to be crushed by physically silencing them by anti-human forces of our society.


In Dark Times: Voices against Intolerance, Sahmat Delhi, 2016 ed., pages 152, price 150/ rupees

Dark Times.jpg

  Eminent economist from JNU Prof. Prabhat Patnaik has put up small introduction to this collection of documents from protesting writers/artists and scholars after the assassination of Prof. M M Kalburgi in Dharwad in Karnatka on 30th August 2015. Starting from Udai Prakash it continues till today. This collection has statements from various groups of historians, scientists and individual writer’s statements, while returning their awards. Sahmat has made good collection of documents and also includes many reports from media a kind of exhibitor of protest.



  “Pratirodh’(Hindi), ed. Mrityunjay, Navarun Ghaziabad, 2016, pages 128, price 100/ rupees

Pratirodh title


This collection is focused on resistance of Indian writers/artists to the prevailing atmosphere in the country created by present government in the name of Hindutva. Terrorising minorities in the name of beef, abusing writers for returning awards in protest against such atmosphere is the hallmark of present regime. This collection includes the writers protest letters on returning their awards since September 2015. About forty writers returned Sahitya Akademi awards, which remained big news, but it is more than 130 writers/artists and others who had returned awards. This book has collected 117 names, but list has not concluded yet. It is good collection in Hindi of resistance movement, unique in nature. Young Hindi scholar Mrityunjay has edited this important collection.













 One Part Woman (novel), Perumal Murugan, Translation Anirudh Vasudevan, Penguins India Delhi, 2014 ed, pages 240, price 299/ rupees

One Part Woman-Perumal Murugan

   This is one of controversial novels of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, which made him suffer a lot at the hands of high caste Hindutvaites in Tamilnadu. Published in 2010 in Tamil and 2014 in English, this novel is based on rather unusual theme of a childless mother who is in deep love with her husband, but goes for a night on religious function, where in dark men and women meet freely mostly for this purpose to get pregnant, which they are not able to get from their husbands. Such practices are not uncommon in many societies and even in Mahabharta times-Pandu, the father of Pandvas was considered weak and Kunti got her sons from different mates!

  240 pages novel divided in 34 chapters begins with hero Kali visiting his in laws. Ponna his wife was sister of his friend Muthu. They were too passionate in their love making but Ponna was not conceiving and in her worry she would ask Kali in intimate moments, if he would marry another woman for child! Kali’s great grandfather was Nachimuthu. There was a chariot festival every year in the temple of Maadhourbaagan-the half female god in their area. Here the childless women used to go looking for a mate to get conceived later. Kali and Muthu in their early youth had been going there to ‘enjoy’! But when elder women of two families started thinking of sending Poona there, as Kali was not inclined to marry again, he was so much in love with Ponna; Kali started getting agitated and upset at the very idea. Ponna’s sense of achieving motherhood was also asserting. Elder women of the family finally plan it without making Kali know it, as he was too much resisting the very idea. Ponna goes and finds a soft youth for mating. Novel ends with Kali yelling as Ponna being ‘whore’ after consuming lot of ‘arrack’! There are details of life an story line of novel, which makes an interesting read, but the controversy was centred on why this ‘practice’ has been depicted in novel, which according to the so called leaders of this particular community was ‘insulting’! The novel is good in fictional art, but may not have got this much attention, had the totally unnecessary controversy has not erupted. The so called ‘protectors of social mores’ have created a hell for creative writers in India by their illiterate intolerance towards any art. Perumal Murugan at one time was made to declare the death of his ‘writer’ and only recently he has revived himself as a ‘poet’, an understandable creativity after such shocks in life. The novel is worth reading to know many cultural traits of South India.

ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ – ਲਾਹੌਰ ਤੋਂ ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ ਤਕ


ਲਾਹੌਰ ਸਥਿਤ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦਾ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਕੈਂਪਸ।

ਲਾਹੌਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ 14 ਅਕਤੂਬਰ 1882 ਨੂੰ ਹੋਂਦ ਵਿੱਚ ਆਈ। ਕਲਕੱਤਾ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ (24 ਜਨਵਰੀ 1857), ਬੰਬਈ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ (24 ਜੁਲਾਈ 1857) ਅਤੇ ਮਦਰਾਸ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ (5 ਸਤੰਬਰ 1857) ਮਗਰੋਂ ਇਹ ਦੇਸ਼ ਦੀ ਚੌਥੀ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਬਣੀ। ਇਸ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਅਲਾਹਾਬਾਦ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ 16 ਨਵੰਬਰ 1889 ਨੂੰ ਹੋਂਦ ਵਿੱਚ ਆਈ।
ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਉਚੇਰੀ ਸਿੱਖਿਆ ਦੇ ਉਥਾਨ ਦੀ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਦਿਲਚਸਪ ਹੈ। 1904 ਤਕ ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਵੱਖ ਵੱਖ ਕਾਨੂੰਨ ਸਨ। 1904 ਵਿੱਚ ਦੇਸ਼ ਦੀਆਂ ਸਾਰੀਆਂ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀਆਂ ਸਬੰਧੀ ਕਾਨੂੰਨ V99 ਹੇਠ ਲਿਆਂਦਾ ਗਿਆ। ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਪੰਜ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀਆਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੁਰਾਣੇ ਕੁਝ ਨਿਯਮ ਹਾਲੇ ਤਕ ਲਾਗੂ ਹਨ। ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਸੰਸਥਾਵਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਸੈਨੇਟ ਅਤੇ ਸਿੰਡੀਕੇਟ ਚੁਣੇ ਜਾਣ ਦੀ ਰਵਾਇਤ ਹਾਲੇ ਵੀ ਕਾਇਮ ਹੈ। 1947 ਤਕ ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ਾਂ ਨੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚ 496 ਕਾਲਜ ਅਤੇ 21 ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀਆਂ ਕਾਇਮ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ। ਦੇਸ਼ ਵੰਡ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਦੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਹੁਣ ਤਕ 750 ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀਆਂ ਹੋਂਦ ਵਿੱਚ ਆ ਚੁੱਕੀਆਂ ਹਨ ਅਤੇ 35,000 ਤੋਂ ਵੀ ਵਧੇਰੇ ਕਾਲਜ ਹਨ।
ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦੀ ਸ਼ੁਰੂਆਤ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਕਰੀਏ ਤਾਂ ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ਾਂ ਨੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਉਚੇਰੀ ਸਿੱਖਿਆ ਦੇ ਪਸਾਰ ਲਈ 1 ਜਨਵਰੀ 1864 ਨੂੰ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਕਾਲਜ ਸਥਾਪਿਤ ਕੀਤਾ। ਧਿਆਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਹਵੇਲੀ ਨੂੰ ਕਾਲਜ ਦੀ ਇਮਾਰਤ ਵਜੋਂ ਵਰਤਿਆ ਗਿਆ। 1869 ਵਿੱਚ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਨਾਂ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਕਾਲਜ ਰੱਖਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਜੋ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਕਾਲਜ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ। ਤੇਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਵਰ੍ਹੇ ਚੱਲੀ ਮੁਹਿੰਮ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਹੀ ਇਸ ਕਾਲਜ ਨੂੰ 14 ਅਕਤੂਬਰ 1882 ਨੂੰ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦਾ ਦਰਜਾ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ।

ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ, ਚੰਡੀਗਡ਼੍ਹ।

ਇਸ ਦੌਰਾਨ 1870 ਵਿੱਚ ਓਰੀਐਂਟਲ ਕਾਲਜ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਸਥਾਪਿਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ। ਇਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਸੰਸਕ੍ਰਿਤ, ਅਰਬੀ, ਫ਼ਾਰਸੀ, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, ਹਿੰਦੀ ਵਰਗੀਆਂ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾਵਾਂ ਉੱਤੇ ਧਿਆਨ ਕੇਂਦਰਿਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ। ਓਰੀਐਂਟਲ ਕਾਲਜ ਵਿੱਚ 1879 ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਸ਼ੁਰੂ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ। ਦੇਸ਼ਵੰਡ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਨਾਂ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ ਅਤੇ ਸੱਭਿਆਚਾਰ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਰੱਖਿਆ ਗਿਆ। ਕਾਲਜ ਵਿੱਚ 1983 ਤਕ ਹਿੰਦੀ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਵੀ ਚੱਲਦਾ ਰਿਹਾ।
ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦਾ ਗਵਰਨਰ ਸਰ ਚਾਰਲਸ ਅੰਫਰਸਟਨ ਐਚੀਸਨ ਇਸ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦਾ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਚਾਂਸਲਰ ਸੀ। ਉਸ ਨੇ ਸਰ ਜੇਮਜ਼ ਬਰੈਡਵੁੱਡ ਲਾਇਲ ਨੂੰ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਉਪ-ਕੁਲਪਤੀ ਨਿਯੁਕਤ ਕੀਤਾ। ਕਿੰਗ’ਜ਼ ਕਾਲਜ, ਲੰਡਨ ਵਿੱਚ ਅਰਬੀ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰੋਫ਼ੈਸਰ ਗੌਟਲੀਬ ਵਿਲਹੈਮ ਲਾਈਟਨਰ ਨੂੰ 1882 ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦਾ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਰਜਿਸਟਰਾਰ ਲਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ। ਉਸ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਸੰਸਥਾ ਦੇ ਵਿਕਾਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਉੱਘਾ ਯੋਗਦਾਨ ਪਾਇਆ।

ਚਮਨ ਲਾਲ (ਪ੍ਰੋ.) ਮਾਣਮੱਤਾ ਵਿਰਸਾ

1875 ਵਿੱਚ ਸਥਾਪਿਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਮਹਿੰਦਰਾ ਕਾਲਜ, ਪਟਿਆਲਾ ਇਸ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਮਾਨਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਕਾਲਜ ਸੀ। ਸੇਂਟ ਸਟੀਫਨਜ਼ ਕਾਲਜ, ਦਿੱਲੀ 1881 ਵਿੱਚ ਸਥਾਪਿਤ ਹੋਇਆ। ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੀਆਂ ਉੱਘੀਆਂ ਸ਼ਖ਼ਸੀਅਤਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਫੈਲੋ/ਸੈਨੇਟਰ ਚੁਣਿਆ ਗਿਆ। ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਦੇ ਮਹਾਰਾਜਾ ਰਣਬੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ, ਪਟਿਆਲਾ ਦੇ ਮਹਾਰਾਜਾ ਰਾਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ, ਨਾਭਾ ਦੇ ਰਾਜਾ ਹੀਰਾ ਸਿੰਘ, ਕਪੂਰਥਲਾ ਦੇ ਰਾਜਾ ਜਗਤਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ, ਜੀਂਦ ਦੇ ਰਾਜਾ ਰਘਬੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ, ਬਹਾਵਲਪੁਰ ਦੇ ਨਵਾਬ ਮੁਹੰਮਦ ਸਦੀਕ ਖ਼ਾਨ, ਮਾਲੇਰਕੋਟਲਾ ਦੇ ਨਵਾਬ ਇਬਰਾਹਿਮ ਖ਼ਾਨ, ਫ਼ਰੀਦਕੋਟ ਦੇ ਰਾਜਾ ਬਿਕਰਮ ਸਿੰਘ, ਮੁਨਸ਼ੀ ਹੁਕਮ ਚੰਦ ਅਤੇ ਸੋਢੀ ਹੁਕਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਜਿਹੇ ਵਿਅਕਤੀ ਸ਼ਾਮਲ ਸਨ। 1907 ਵਿੱਚ ਸਰ ਪੀ.ਸੀ. ਚੈਟਰਜੀ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਉਪ-ਕੁਲਪਤੀ ਬਣੇ ਜਦੋਂਕਿ ਡਾ. ਉਮਰ ਹਯਾਤ ਮਲਿਕ ਦੇਸ਼ ਵੰਡ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਸਥਿਤ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦੇ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਉਪ-ਕੁਲਪਤੀ ਸਨ। ਅਖੰਡ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਇਸ ਨੇ ਵਿਸ਼ਾਲ ਖਿੱਤੇ ਦੀਆਂ ਵਿੱਦਿਅਕ ਲੋੜਾਂ ਪੂਰੀਆਂ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ। 1922 ਤਕ ਅਣਵੰਡੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਮੇਤ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਖੇਤਰ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਅਧੀਨ ਆਉਂਦਾ ਸੀ ਜਦੋਂਕਿ 1947 ਤਕ ਜੰਮੂ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ, ਬਲੋਚਿਸਤਾਨ ਅਤੇ ਉੱਤਰ-ਪੱਛਮੀ ਸਰਹੱਦੀ ਸੂਬਾ (ਹੁਣ ਖ਼ੈਬਰਪਖ਼ਤੂਨਖਵਾ, ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ) ਵੀ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਅਧੀਨ ਸਨ। ਇਹ ਵੀ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ ਸਥਿਤ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦਾ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਵਾਲੀ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਨਾਲੋਂ ਵਖਰੇਵਾਂ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਜੋੜ ਵੱਖਰੇ ਰੱਖੇ ਗਏ, ਪਰ ਇਹ ਸੱਚ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ। ਦਰਅਸਲ, ਦੇਸ਼ਵੰਡ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਨਾਂ ਦੋਵਾਂ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਜੋੜਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਸੀ।
ਦੇਸ਼ਵੰਡ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਨੂੰ, ਖ਼ਾਸਕਰ ਚੜ੍ਹਦੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਵਾਲੇ ਪਾਸੇ, ਕਾਫ਼ੀ ਮੁਸ਼ਕਿਲ ਦੌਰ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਗੁਜ਼ਰਨਾ ਪਿਆ। ਬਟਵਾਰੇ ਸਮੇਂ ਫ਼ੈਸਲਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਦੋਵੇਂ ਪੰਜਾਬਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਇਮਤਿਹਾਨ ਲੈਣ ਦੀ ਜ਼ਿੰਮੇਵਾਰੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਦੀ ਹੋਵੇਗੀ। ਇਸ ਮੰਤਵ ਲਈ ਰਜਿਸਟਰਾਰ ਮਦਨ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਸ਼ਿਮਲੇ ਤੋਂ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਗਏ। ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਮਦਨ ਗੋਪਾਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੇ ਦਫ਼ਤਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਹੀ ਨਿੱਜੀ ਸਹਾਇਕ ਨੇ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦਾ ਕਤਲ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ। ਇਸੇ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਅਰਥ ਸ਼ਾਸਤਰ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਦੇ ਮੁਖੀ ਪ੍ਰੋਫ਼ੈਸਰ ਬ੍ਰਿਜ ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ਦਾ ਵੀ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਦਫ਼ਤਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਹੀ ਕਤਲ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ। ਦੋਵਾਂ ਦੇਸ਼ਾਂ ਦਰਮਿਆਨ ਝੁੱਲੀ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਦੀ ਹਨੇਰੀ ਕਾਰਨ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੇ 27 ਸਤੰਬਰ 1947 ਨੂੰ ਚੜ੍ਹਦੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਵਿੱਚ ਵੀ ਇਹ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਸਥਾਪਿਤ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਕਾਨੂੰਨ ਪਾਸ ਕੀਤਾ ਜੋ 1 ਅਕਤੂਬਰ 1947 ਨੂੰ ਹੋਂਦ ਵਿੱਚ ਆਈ। ਗਵਰਨਰ ਸਰ ਚੰਦੂ ਲਾਲ ਤ੍ਰਿਵੇਦੀ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਕੁਲਪਤੀ ਸਨ। ਇਸ ਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਸ਼ਾਸਨ ਸ਼ਿਮਲੇ ਸਥਿਤ ਕੈਂਪ ਤੋਂ ਚਲਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ। 8 ਫਰਵਰੀ 1948 ਤੋਂ 31 ਮਾਰਚ 1949 ਤਕ ਜਸਟਿਸ ਤੇਜਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਆਨਰੇਰੀ ਵਾਈਸ-ਚਾਂਸਲਰ ਨਿਯੁਕਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ। ਮੌਜੂੁਦਾ ਸਮੇਂ ਪੀਯੂ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਦੇ ਉਪ ਕੁਲਪਤੀ ਡਾ. ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰ ਮੋਇਨ ਨਾਸਿਰ ਅਤੇ ਪੀਯੂ, ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ ਦੇ ਉਪ ਕੁਲਪਤੀ ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਅਰੁਣ ਕੁਮਾਰ ਗਰੋਵਰ ਹਨ। ਆਪਣੀ ਸ਼ੁਰੂਆਤ ਦੇ ਸਮੇਂ ਤੋਂ ਹੁਣ ਤਕ ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੋਵਾਂ ਸੰਸਥਾਵਾਂ ਨੇ ਬਹੁਤ ਵਿਕਾਸ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੈ। 1947 ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਦਫ਼ਤਰ ਸੋਲਨ ਛਾਉਣੀ ਵਿਖੇ ਤਬਦੀਲ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤੇ ਗਏ ਜਦੋਂਕਿ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਵੱਖ ਵੱਖ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਅਤੇ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਵੱਖ ਵੱਖ ਥਾਵਾਂ ’ਤੇ ਚਲਦੇ ਰਹੇ। ਇਸ ਮਗਰੋਂ 1960 ਵਿੱਚ ਸਾਰੇ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ ਸਥਿਤ ਕੈਂਪਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਚੱਲਣ ਲੱਗੇ।
ਦੇਸ਼ ਦੀਆਂ ਉੱਘੀਆਂ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਬਰਾਬਰ ਦੀ ਕਾਰਗੁਜ਼ਾਰੀ ਦਿਖਾਉਣ ਦੇ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਕੇਂਦਰ ਅਤੇ ਸੂਬਾਈ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਇਸ ਨਾਲ ਮਤਰੇਈ ਮਾਂ ਵਾਲਾ ਸਲੂਕ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਹੈ। ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਬਜਟ ਦਾ ਹਿੱਸਾ 40 ਫ਼ੀਸਦੀ ਤੋਂ ਘਟਾ ਕੇ 8 ਫ਼ੀਸਦੀ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ, ਇਸ 8 ਫ਼ੀਸਦੀ ਰਕਮ ਦੀ ਅਦਾਇਗੀ ਵੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾ ਰਹੀ। ਕੇਂਦਰ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਇਸ ਦੀਆਂ ਵਿੱਤੀ ਲੋੜਾਂ ਦਾ 92 ਫ਼ੀਸਦੀ ਹਿੱਸਾ ਮੁਹੱਈਆ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ, ਪਰ ਇਹ ਵੀ ਸਿਆਸੀ ਕਾਰਨਾਂ ਕਰਕੇ ਇਹ ਸਹਾਇਤਾ ਰੋਕਦੀ ਰਹਿੰਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿਉਂਕਿ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਸਿੱਧੇ ਤੌਰ ’ਤੇ ਮਨੁੱਖੀ ਸਰੋਤ ਮੰਤਰਾਲੇ ਦੇ ਕੰਟਰੋਲ ਹੇਠ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ।
ਦੇਸ਼ ਦੀ ਆਜ਼ਾਦੀ ਦੇ ਘੋਲ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਨੇ ਵਧੀਆ ਭੂਮਿਕਾ ਨਿਭਾਈ। 1932 ਦੇ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਕੈਲੰਡਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਇੱਕ ਘਟਨਾ ਬਾਰੇ 8 ਅਕਤੂਬਰ ਨੂੰ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਦਰਜ਼ ਹੈ। ਦਰਅਸਲ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਸਾਜ਼ਿਸ਼ ਕੇਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਟ੍ਰਿਬਿਊਨਲ ਨੇ ਭਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ, ਸੁਖਦੇਵ ਅਤੇ ਰਾਜਗੁਰੂ ਨੂੰ ਫਾਂਸੀ ਦੀ ਸਜ਼ਾ ਸੁਣਾਈ। ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀਆਂ ਅਤੇ ਅਧਿਆਪਕਾਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਵਿਰੋਧ ਸੁਭਾਵਿਕ ਹੀ ਸੀ। ਅੱਠ ਅਕਤੂਬਰ ਨੂੰ ਪੁਲੀਸ ਨੇ ਕਲਾਸਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਦਾਖ਼ਲ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਇਸ ਨੂੰ ਦਬਾਉਣ ਦੀ ਕੋਸ਼ਿਸ਼ ਕੀਤੀ। ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦੀ ਸੈਨੇਟ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਦੀ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਸਖ਼ਤ ਸ਼ਬਦਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਮਤਾ ਪਾਸ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਿ ਪ੍ਰਿੰਸੀਪਲ ਦੀ ਸਹਿਮਤੀ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾਂ ਪੁਲੀਸ ਕੈਂਪਸ ਵਿੱਖ ਦਾਖ਼ਲ ਨਹੀਂ ਸੀ ਹੋ ਸਕਦੀ!
ਅਫ਼ਸੋਸ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਇਹ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਪੀਯੂ, ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ ਨੇ ਦੇਸ਼ਵੰਡ ਕਾਰਨ ਪੈਦਾ ਹੋਈ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਦਾ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰ ਹੋਏ ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਐੱਮ.ਜੀ. ਸਿੰਘ ਅਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਬ੍ਰਿਜ ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ਦੇ ਨਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਤਖ਼ਤੀਆਂ ਤਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਲਾਈਆਂ ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਪੀਯੂ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਦਫ਼ਤਰਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਕਤਲ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਗਿਆ ਸੀ। ਭਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੇ ਸਾਥੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਦੱਤ ਵਰਮਾ ਦੀ ਵੀ ਕੋਈ ਯਾਦਗਾਰ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ ਜਿਸ ਨੇ ਜੇਲ੍ਹ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਰਿਹਾਅ ਹੋਣ ਮਗਰੋਂ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਅਧਿਆਪਨ ਕਾਰਜ ਕੀਤਾ। ਪੀਯੂ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਦੀ ਵੈੱਬਸਾਈਟ ਬੜੇ ਮਾਣ ਨਾਲ ਦਾਅਵਾ ਕਰਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਨੋਬੇਲ ਪੁਰਸਕਾਰ ਜੇਤੂ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨੀ ਵਿਗਿਆਨੀ ਅਬਦੁਸ ਸਲਾਮ ਅਤੇ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਵਿਗਿਆਨੀ ਹਰਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਖੁਰਾਣਾ ਇੱਥੋਂ ਦੇ ਪੁਰਾਣੇ ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ ਹਨ ਜਦੋਂਕਿ ਪੀਯੂ, ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ ਦੀ ਵੈੱਬਸਾਈਟ ਹਰਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਖੁਰਾਣਾ ਦਾ ਜ਼ਿਕਰ ਤਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਦੀ।
ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਨਾਲ ਜੁੜੀਆਂ ਉੱਘੀਆਂ ਸ਼ਖ਼ਸੀਅਤਾਂ:
– ਉੱਘੇ ਲੇਖਕ ਮੁਲਕ ਰਾਜ ਆਨੰਦ ਅਤੇ ਹਿੰਦੀ ਨਾਵਲਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਆਲੋਚਕ ਹਜ਼ਾਰੀ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦ ਦਿਵੇਦੀ 1960ਵਿਆਂ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਟੈਗੋਰ ਚੇਅਰ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰੋਫ਼ੈਸਰ ਰਹੇ।
– ਓਰੀਐਂਟਲ ਕਾਲਜ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਦੇ ਅਧਿਆਪਕ ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਦੇ ਬਾਨੀ ਮੁਖੀ ਡਾ. ਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀਵਾਨਾ ਕਲਕੱਤਾ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਤੋਂ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਾਹਿਤ ’ਤੇ ਪੀਐੱਚ.ਡੀ. ਅਤੇ ਪੀਯੂ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਤੋਂ ਡੀ.ਲਿਟ. ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲੇ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਵਿਅਕਤੀ ਸਨ।
– ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਦੇ 134 ਸਾਲਾਂ ਦੇ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਜਸਟਿਸ ਤੇਜਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਇੱਕੋ ਇੱਕ ਸਿੱਖ ਸਨ ਜਿਸ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਉਪ ਕੁਲਪਤੀ ਦਾ ਅਹੁਦਾ ਸੰਭਾਲਿਆ।
– ਸਾਬਕਾ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਡਾ. ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਅਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੋਫ਼ੈਸਰ ਬੀ.ਐੱਨ. ਗੋਸਵਾਮੀ ਨੇ ਐੱਮ.ਏ. ਇਕਨੌਮਿਕਸ ਅਤੇ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਧ ਅੰਕ ਹਾਸਲ ਕਰਨ ਦਾ ਰਿਕਾਰਡ ਬਣਾਇਆ।
– ਸਾਬਕਾ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਇੰਦਰ ਕੁਮਾਰ ਗੁਜਰਾਲ, ਸ਼ਾਇਰ ਇਕਬਾਲ ਅਤੇ ਫ਼ੈਜ਼, ਬਲਰਾਜ ਤੇ ਭੀਸ਼ਮ ਸਾਹਨੀ ਅਤੇ ਵਿਗਿਆਨੀ ਸਤੀਸ਼ ਧਵਨ ਵੀ ਪੀਯੂ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਹੇਠ ਆਉਂਦੇ ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਕਾਲਜ, ਲਾਹੌਰ ਦੇ ਪੁਰਾਣੇ ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ ਸਨ।
– ਲੇਖਕ ਜੇਐੱਨਯੂ, ਨਵੀਂ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਤੋਂ ਸੇਵਾਮੁਕਤ ਪ੍ਰੋਫ਼ੈਸਰ ਹੈ।

Panjab University-Lahore to Chandigarh



Panjab University: Journey and evolution

The first university in North India has a proud past. Even as these are separated by an international border, the campuses in Lahore and Chandigarh share a common history and legacy. The present focus, naturally, is to respond to the needs of the students and the nations that they serve


Chaman Lal

The University of Punjab at Lahore was set up on October 14, 1882. It was the fourth university of India although it was the first university that expanded its scope from being an examining university to teaching and examining both. Preceding it were the University of Calcutta (set up on January 24, 1857), the University of Bombay (July 24, 1857) and University of Madras (September 5, 1857).

The evolution of higher education in India is interesting. Till 1904, all universities had their own statutes. Thereafter, all five universities (the aforementioned four and Allahabad University (established November 16, 1889) were brought under the Indian Universities Act VIII of 1904. Many features still continue with all these five universities. These include elected Senate and Syndicates in these institutions. Till 1947, the British established in India 496 colleges and 21 universities, the last one being Sagar University in 1946.

At present, there are more than 750 universities, including private, deemed ones and more than 35,000 colleges in divided part of India. If Pakistan and Bangladeshi institutions are counted, it might cross 1,000 universities and 50,000 plus colleges!

Birth of an institution

It was the setting up of a Government College in Lahore on January 1, 1864, as part of the British scheme of expanding higher education in India that eventually led to the establishment of Punjab University. The college was housed in Dhyan Singh Haveli. It was renamed Lahore University College by 1869, and thereafter became Punjab University College, Lahore. There was a systematic campaign to upgrade the college to university for 13 long years before the University of the Punjab came about on October 14, 1882.

In between, the Oriental College, Lahore, was set up in 1870. It focussed on Indian languages like Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Punjabi, Hindi. Gurmukhi was recognised by Oriental College as early as in 1877 and Punjabi (Gurmukhi) department was opened in Oriental College in 1879. It was renamed Punjabi Language and Culture Department after Partition. The Hindi department has been functioning in the college since 1983.

Punjab Governor Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison was appointed the first Chancellor of the university. He appointed Sir James Bradwood Lyall as the first Vice-Chancellor. He was succeeded by Sir Baden Henry Powell.

Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, Professor of Arabic at King’s College London, was named the first Principal of Panjab University College. He later took over as the first Registrar of University of the Punjab in 1882 and contributed immensely to the university’s development.

Set up in 1875, Mahindra College, Patiala, was the university’s first affiliate college. St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, was established in 1881.

Distinguished Punjabis became the first Fellows/Senators of the university. They included Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Kashmir, Maharaja Rajinder Singh of Patiala, Raja Hira Singh of Nabha, Raja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala, Raja Raghbir Singh of Jind, Nawab Mohd. Siddique Khan of Bahawalpur, Nawab Ibrahim Khan of Malerkotla, Raja Bikram Singh of Faridkot, Munshi Hukam Chand and Sodhi Hukam Singh among others.

It took a quarter of a century for the first Indian Vice-Chancellor, Sir P C Chatterjee, to be appointed in 1907.  Dr Umar Hayat Malik took over as the first Vice-Chancellor in September 1947 at Lahore in post-Partition period. Punjab University, Lahore, as it was popularly known, catered the vast area in pre-Partition India. Apart from the undivided Punjab, which was a huge state, it also covered the Delhi region till 1922, Jammu and Kashmir, Baluchistan, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), now known as Pakhtunwa in Pakistan, till 1947.

It is sometimes believed that the University of Lahore was spelled as ‘Punjab’ and it changed to ‘Panjab’ in Chandigarh to differentiate! This, however, is not true. Both spellings are in use in pre-Partition Punjab University records.

In times of trauma

After Partition, Punjab University went through traumatic times, particularly in East Punjab, the Indian part of Punjab. It was agreed at the time of Partition that examinations will be conducted by the University of the Punjab, Lahore, on both sides. For this purpose, Registrar (Examinations) of the University Madan Gopal Singh, who was in India at the time of Partition, travelled to Lahore from Shimla, leaving a note for eminent artist Krishan Khanna’s father — ‘See you when I get back, that is, if I get back’! He was murdered by his personal assistant in his office in the university!

Progressive economist Professor Brij Narayan, who was the head of the economics department and wrote on ‘Sufferings of Peasants’, had opted to stay back in Lahore. He too was similarly murdered in his office.

The long shadow of hatred destroyed the University of Lahore’s humanist tradition and the nascent government in East Punjab was compelled to bring an ordinance to set up East Punjab University on September 27, 1947, which came into existence on October 1, 1947. Sir Chandu Lal Trivedi, Governor of East Punjab, became its first Chancellor. The administrative offices of the university were set up in a camp in Shimla. Justice Teja Singh was appointed Honorary Vice-Chancellor of the university from February 8, 1948 till March 31, 1949, when he was appointed first Chief Justice of Pepsu High Court. The first convocation of the university was held on March 5, 1949, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhbhai Patel. Justice Teja Singh was succeeded by G C Chatterjee for four months and then Dewan Anand Kumar for eight years, followed by the legendary Amar Chand Joshi for another eight years. Since 2016, economist Dr. Zaffar Mueen Nasir has been heading the PU Lahore as Vice-Chancellor while scientist Prof. Arun Kumar Grover has been the Vice-Chancellor of PU Chandigarh since 2012.

Both universities have expanded a lot since their inception. Punjab University, Lahore, has now five campuses — two in Lahore and three outside Lahore-Gujranwala, Jhelum and Khanaspur. Its original location Government College, Lahore, has now turned into a full-fledged research-oriented university named as Government College University, Lahore.

The Indian odyssey

PU administrative offices shifted to cantonment in Solan after 1947. The departments were also located in various places — Department of Chemical Engineering was located in Delhi Polytechnic, Delhi; Botany, Zoology and Chemistry departments started in Khalsa College Amritsar, so was Punjabi department agriculture college was also set up at Amritsar. Government College, Hoshiarpur, took care of many PG departments like economics, English, zoology, before all departments finally shifted to the present campus of Panjab University at Chandigarh by 1960.

Despite scoring almost equal to central universities like JNU, Hyderabad, Delhi University in academic world in rankings, Panjab University at Chandigarh is being given a step-motherly treatment by both the state and central governments. The Punjab Government has literally stopped contributing its 40 per cent budgetary share to the university since long and even the reduced meagre 8 per cent is not being paid by it. The central government, which is taking care of 92 per cent of university’s financial needs, keeps choking it of funds due to political reasons as it is not directly controlled by the MHRD.

Role in freedom struggle

During the freedom struggle, Punjab University Lahore, played a brilliant role. From the calendar of 1932, one reads the Senate proceedings relating to October 8, 1930, an incident in DAV College, Lahore, when the police entered the campus and beat up a professor and some students in his classroom. The context was: on October 7, the Lahore Conspiracy case tribunal had announced its verdict — committing Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru to gallows. Protests by students and teachers in Lahore was natural and the police tried to suppress these by entering the classrooms on October 8. Condemning the police act, the University of Punjab Senate protested and passed a strongly worded resolution that without the Principal’s consent, the police couldn’t enter the campus!

A forgotten legacy

Sadly Panjab University, Chandigarh, has not even put any plaques in the university in memory of Prof. M G Singh, Prof. Brij Narain, who became victims of Partition-induced hatred and were assassinated in their offices in PU, Lahore, nor about Bhagat Singh’s comrade Prem Dutt Verma, who taught in Panjab University, Chandigarh, after his release from jail.

The Lahore website of the university proudly claims Pakistani scientist Abdus Salam and Indian scientist Hargobind Khurana as its alumni Nobel laureates of 1968 and 1979 with photographs and brief biographies. The Chandigarh website does not even mention Hargobind Khurana.

— The writer is a retired Professor from JNU, New Delhi, and Fellow of Panjab University Chandigarh
















Punjab Elections-2017-Saffron Everywhere-Where are White and Red Colours?


Punjab Elections-2017-Saffron Everywhere-Where are White and Red Colours?

Chaman Lal*

Looking just at newspaper or electronic media pictures, one finds candidates of all major parties coloured in saffron, by their turbans or by scarfs, to see the difference one has to carefully look at the logos or election symbols on their scarfs, whether these are ‘Hand’, ‘Kamal’ or ‘Jhadu’! One wonders where the white ‘Gandhi’ cap or ‘Nehru Jacket’, which were symbols of Congress party after or even before 1947 have disappeared? Though Mahatma Gandhi never wore cap, yet white cap and jacket worn by Jawahar Lal Nehru had become iconic ‘Gandhi Cap’ and ‘Nehru Jacket’! Then Anna Hazare worn Gandhi Cap, became the signia of Kejriwal led ‘Aam Admi Party’ in its debut in Delhi. Communist Party of India and its later variants-CPM, CPI-ML or other leftist groups did not wear ‘Red turban or cap’, yet their meetings and processions during elections since 1952 in PEPSU and in Punjab were marked by ‘Red Flags’! 2017 elections seems to have cleared off all colours, but saffron! Even in some earlier elections, the two major parties-Akalis and Congress party were identified by ‘White’ and ‘Blue’ turbans and white Khadi kurta-pyjamas, only Bhartiya Jana Sangh (BJS) party, an earlier version of BJP, was marked by saffron and ‘Deepak’, their election symbol. It was Khalistan oriented radical movement in Punjab, which has forced Akalis to turn ‘Saffron’ or Yellow’ from Blue and Congress from white to yellow or saffron! Khalistan or radical movement is over but their fundamentalist religious impact has been appropriated by traditional parties, pitiably leaving their own proud secular tradition behind! In terms of iconic value of colours, it seems all parties, except left parties have surrendered to ‘Saffron’ colour! And this surrender is not limited to just adopting their iconic colour, this goes further, it has adopted their populist and dangerous slogans and narrow sectarian ethnic or identity outlook as well. The way activists of all three parties are changing colours by defecting to each other parties, confirms the fact that none of them are there for any party ideology, but for pure opportunism to play power games. Arvind Kejriwal led AAP’s popular slogans are-‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Inqlab Zindabad’, an impossible combination of RSS variety of ‘nationalism’ and Bhagat Singh variety of ‘Revolutionary Socialism’! Antics of AAP leader Bhagwant Mann in wearing saffron colour turban in Bhagat Singh style is total falsification of history as Bhagat Singh never ever wore a saffron or yellow colour turban in his life! They sang songs like ‘Rang de Basanti Chola…in courts and jail’, but never worn either yellow/saffron turban, cap of clothes! All saffron colour turbaned, paintings based photographs of Bhagat Singh are distortions of his personality and ideas! In his four real photographs, he wore only white coloured turban and Khadi kurta-pyjama, as was dress of all freedom fighters in those days, not just Congress men. (See-Four real photographs of Bhagat Singh)


Where the left stands in 2017 Punjab elections? From 1951-52 Pepsu (Patiala and East Punjab States Union) elections, they had strong presence in assemblies. In 1951-52 Pepsu assembly, they had six members elected in 60 member assembly, repeating same number in 1954 by elections again. Pepsu was merged with Punjab on 31st October 1956 before next elections. Apart from CPI, Lal Communist Party, Kisan Mazdoor Parja Party and Forward Bloc (Marxist) were other left parties in elections at that time. In 1951-52 Punjab elections out of 126 seats, left parties secured six seats, repeating same number in 1957 elections with total seats after merger of Pepsu increasing to 154. Socialist Party too has strong showing in first elections to Punjab assembly and in 1957 elections too. In 1962 elections CPI increased its tally to nine members and Socialists also winning 4 seats. With CPI split in 1964, they fought separately in 1967 elections and their joint strength reduced to eight only, with CPI winning five and CPM three. Harkishan Singh Surjeet won his only contested elections in 1967 Punjab Assembly, CPI stalwart Satya Pal Dang won from Amritsar and became minister in first non–Congress government in Punjab in 1967. CPM also split in 1967 with Naxal groups coming in existence with ‘Boycott elections’ call, hurting left in elections further. Their strength further reduced to six in 1969 by elections with CPi having won four and CPM just two.  In 1972 elections, CPI made a big comeback with winning 10(ten) seats and one going to CPM. Satya Pal Dang made hat trick by winning Amritsar seat three times in row! In 1977, post emergency elections CPM overtook CPI for first time by winning eight seats, while CPI getting down to seven, yet their combined strength increased to all time high of fifteen. Satya Pal Dang retained his seat fourth time.



CPI again overtook CPM in 1980 post Indira Gandhi return elections by winning nine seats and CPM getting reduced to five only. But the combined strength remained little harmed down to 14 from 15. Satya Pal Dang the most popular Communist leader could not retain his seat this time. 1985 elections fought under the shadow of Rajiv-Longowal accord on Punjab, was to give walk over to Akali Dal tacitly by Congress party and it hit the Communists most hard. Only CPI could win just one seat in this election, even Satya Pal Dang loosing again to Congress candidate. 1992 elections held under shadow of Khalistani guns, were boycotted by Akali Dal, giving a walk over to Congress party. Left parties suffering heavily at the hands of Khalistani terrorists made small comeback in this election, with CPI winning four seats and CPM one. Even CPIML, contesting under Indian Peoples Front (IPF) platform, secured a seat in this election, though their elected MLA defected to Congress party later. One seat was won by UCPI also, which was close to Congress party. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) made the best show in this election by winning all time high nine seats, which it could not sustain again. Vimla Dang, wife of Satya Pal Dang and leader in her own right won back Amritsar-west seat from Congress party. 1997 elections showed the down fall of left forces in election arena, as CPI got only two seats and CPM none. 1997 was a clean sweep for Akali-BJP allowance with BJP winning 18 seats alone with Akalis@75. 2002 was return of Congress party and CPI could won two only. By this time CPM had also split into CPM and CPM (Punjab), which affected its electoral fortunes rather badly.

2007 and 2012 elections saw the nemesis of left presence in Punjab assembly as none of the party made even a symbolic presence. 2007 saw the phenomenal rise of BJP, winning 19 out of 23 contested seats, perhaps highest percentage of winning ratio of candidates!

2017 situation is politically much different from 2012 or earlier. It should have been a matter of concern to left forces, the way they are being marginalised in most of the states, where they had respectable presence earlier like in Bihar, UP, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra etc., that they are not able to make their presence felt in state assemblies, despite having some support from few mass organisations on the ground, particularly after they lost West Bengal in 2011 after 34 years rule! With the coming to power of RSS controlled Modi government in centre in 2014 and subsequent events have accentuated that crisis. Rise of Aam Aadmi Party on political horizons had raised hope of another liberal force coming to fore to compensate loss of Congress party, but its too early splits and loss of its moral core in persons of Prashant Bhushan and Dr. Dharamvir Gandhi MP like people has dazed that hope too fast, in fact faster than 1977 Janta Party debacle in just three years. Whether in 1977 Janta experiment or now in AAP experiment, it is rightist RSS controlled BJP, which is expanding its socio-political base at the cost of liberal and left forces. Half term of Modi Government and its autocratic fascist like decisions have already given shivers to the spines of liberal forces and left was expected to give lead in such situation to build a strong resistance movement, which includes resistance in electoral arena also, but it seems left in India in general and in Punjab particular is failing in its duty.

What are the present left forces in Punjab? They are of two kinds-Parliamentary groups/parties, who are participating in elections and some radical mass organisations, campaigning for ‘Raj Badlo Samaj Badlo’(Change the system, Change the Society). In their campaign they urge people to use ‘NOTA’ button! Those participating in elections are three party left alliance of CPI, CPM and RMPI (CPM-Punjab earlier), fourth partner of this alliance CPIML(Liberation) has come out and declared its own eight candidates. There are two more left oriented forces in electoral fray-AAP rebel MP Dr. Dharamvir Gandhi led Punjab front inclusive of among others-Democratic Swaraj Party led by Prof. Manjit Singh, an activist of CPM earlier, now with Yogender Yadav’s Swaraj India, broken from AAP. All these groups have put up candidates on many seats against each other. Three group left front has declared support for 69 seats to AAP or Congress candidates, while contesting on 48 seats themselves-CPI-23, CPM-12, RMPI-13. Dr. Gandhi front is contesting upon 15 seats with few more candidates from Democratic Swaraj Party being supported by Dr. Gandhi. Few more left candidates might be contesting as independent candidates as part of other groups of CPIML, ten candidates being sponsored by CPIML-New Democracy group.

The groups campaigning for NOTA are like few mass peasant organisations like-Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), Bharti Kisan Union(Ekta), Naujwan Bharat Sabha etc. Few of these peasant organisations do hold strong base among Malwa peasants and are able to get compensation and other reliefs for suicide committing peasant families by radical agitations. Though they don’t trust parliamentary system, yet by campaigning for NOTA, provided by the election commission only, they are legitimising that very system, which they claim to fight. While launching radical mass agitations, they have no compunction in negotiating with Chief Minister or other officials of the government, yet they continue to have no faith in ‘system’! These radical ML parties and groups are so insecure about participating in electoral system that they think the system is so ‘corrupt’ that their own elected revolutionary cadres will get corrupted, it has happened in case of many CPIML MLA’s joining ruling parties in Bihar or Punjab. But this is ironic that training and appropriation of Marxist ideology is by cadres of revolutionary groups is so weak that they can’t not be trusted to be sent to Assemblies/Parliament! Despite the fact that left parties MPs and MLAs like A K Gopalan, Jyotiromoy Basu, Bhupesh Gupt, Inderjit Gupt, A K Roy, Satya Pal Dang and many more have played such historic role in raising issues of workers and peasants concern and have been able to get some reliefs for them through parliamentary forums. Even Bhagat Singh and his Naujwan Bharat Sabha used to intervene even during British colonial established Central assembly or local elections by supporting socialists/progressives among Congress candidates like Diwan Chaman Lal, and face the ire of rightist Congress men like Lala Lajpat Rai, who used to say that ‘these young men want me to become ‘Lenin of India’, which I don’t want to be! Comrades of Bhagat Singh during his life time and after remained always in close touch with socialists among Congress party like Jawahar Lal Nehru and Subhash Chander Bose at all India level or in Punjab with Dr. Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew like leaders! Radical groups have not gained so big mass base in India, that they could fight the battles like in China, Russia or Cuba to siege power through insurrection. In absence of that, not availing the opportunity to participate in bourgeoisie led parliamentary system to focus upon most burning issues of oppressed sections of society is self-defeating.

CPIML(Liberation) built iconic Dalit singer  Bant Singh Jhabbar in Mansa district, whose daughter was raped by feudal lords and his two arms slashed, has now joined AAP and campaigning for them. Irony is that when Jhabbar joined AAP, on same time and stage his assailants also joined AAP and they were made even to share the stage. It was later that AAP got rid of his assailants!

Punjab has gone through the terror of Khalistani movement period from both Khalistanis and the state and is now facing worst crisis of peasant suicides every day with high unemployment among youth, leading them towards suicidal path of drug consumption. Corruption by ruling parties earlier by Congress or presently by Akali-BJP combine is also pinching issue for common people, so are ‘Notebandi’ or police atrocities, institutionalised even worse than colonial period. Just recently a court in Patiala ordered seven high ranking police officers to pay 49 lakh rupees compensation to Kirpal Singh, who was assisting human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra in collecting data on extra-judicial killings named as ‘encounters’, he was also pursuing the case of Khalra’s killing by the police, so stop him from doing so, Patiala police trapped him a false rape case, of which he was acquitted. He filed perjury case and was awarded the monetary compensation! What Kalluri is doing in Chhatisgarh was common in Punjab during Naxalite rebellion in seventies and Khalistani rebellion in eighties!

What will left get in this crucial elections, which they themselves think that stopping ongoing ‘Communal fascism ‘and worst still, danger of its continuation beyond 2019 elections is their primary task, if they are not able to impress upon people to send even a few of them to state assembly?

Ironically none of the party including even left parties are presenting an alternative socio-economic-political vision of Punjab or India in general, based on their iconic heroes-Bhagat Singh and Ghadar party-the ideal of revolutionary socialism. So much so, none of the parties, who were vocal at the time of Bhagat Singh was insulted by Haryana RSS Chief minister ML Khattar by favouring unknown RSS leader Mangal Sen for naming Chandigarh airport in his name, rejecting earlier decision of Punjab and Haryana governments to name it on Bhagat Singh’s name, are raising this issue in this election. Though airport was not named on Mangal Sen’s name due to fierce protests, it has not been named on Bhagat Singh’s name either, putting the salt on wound by insulting Bhagat Singh’s popular icon further! Denial of Jallikattu could take shape of Tamil pride, but Bhagat Singh’s insult does not hurt Punjabi pride!


                  Whole tactic of contesting elections in large number of seats by left parties is a flawed one. What they get is just few hundred of votes in each constituency, forfeiting the security deposits and becoming target of ridicule among electorate. If they are able to come at even number three or four with at least few thousands of votes, then also it could be considered respectable, but securing few hundred votes in each constituency brings not only ridicule, in some cases charge of political opportunism as well, as where the difference of elected MLA with number two is just of few hundreds or less, left candidates are charged with helping the winning candidate! If left is serious about making its presence felt, then they should focus upon about 10-12 constituencies only, where they think they have real strong base and should put all their cadres energies on those seats with the target of winning and reaching assembly to make their presence felt by raising real issues of people like peasant suicides, youth unemployment or institutionalised police atrocities, students-employees issues, atrocities on women etc., and it does make difference if mass organisations supporting them come out on roads, while elected MLAs fight on these issues inside assembly! Issues of the people need to be fought both inside and outside parliamentary forums, only then some relief within the system can be secured, as it used to be earlier.

   In present elections, left forces are trying their luck at seventy plus seats out of 117 and it is doubtful even to win a single seat. So like 2007 and 2012, 2017 Punjab assembly may again be without any left representative getting elected. It is still time to join the heads together of all left groups-four left parties, Dr. Dharamvir Gandhi, rebel AAP MP and Democratic Swaraj party and identify not more than 15 seats all over Punjab and make a powerful joint campaign, by even convincing the NOTA campaign groups among left to join the united effort to send at least five members to state assembly to forcefully focus upon peasant and youth issues! Rather than frittering away their energy in 70+ odd seats, they should try to regain the lost ground on fewer selected seats. No body stops them from holding public meetings where they have no candidate for giving their party programme and vision of future Punjab! They had fifteen MLAs inside assembly at one time, let them start to regain that lost ground and strength by breaking the jinx of zero for the last one decade! Programme and demands of the various left groups/parties are not different, they are mostly common, they just have to fine tune these and fight unitedly by shedding their egos and one-upmanship and plan realistically.

On other seats they should make realistic analysis and advise their cadres accordingly, undoubtedly Akali-BJP alliance should be their main target to defeat convincingly. But among two possible alternatives-AAP and Congress, they should make dispassionate critical analysis of both. The tendency to hit Aam Aadmi Party viciously, because of Arvind Kejriwal’s certain wayward manoeuvres is not the best political move under present circumstances, if people wish to try a new untested party, let them try and learn from their experience and also learn always to be on guard with all political parties and keep mass pressure always on to focus on public issues.

        #Left of the Punjab, unitedly fight the elections realistically, you have nothing to lose but zero!

*Chaman Lal is retired Professor from JNU, New Delhi and author of books on Bhagat Singh and other revolutionary heroes.

Prof.chaman@gmail.com, 09868774820/09646494538

  1. no. 2690, Urban Estate, Phase-2, Patiala(Punjab)-147002


To be an Atheist or NOT to be!


In ancient times -Male sage Yajnavlakya had threatened Gargi-the woman philosopher to not ask too many questions-Yajnavalkya said: “O Gargi, do not ask too much lest thy head should fall off. Thou askest the Deity about which we are not to ask too much. Do not ask too much, O Gargi.”Brihdarnkya Upanishad-Sixth Brahma!

        Asking too many questions even today is as much dangerous as in ancient times, at least in India, South Asia or religious dominated societies as one can see the happenings in Vrindavan in October 2016 and National Human Rights Commission dismissing appeals about it later.


                           There was a time when E V Ramaswamy Naicker, more popularly known as Periyar, started Self Respect Movement, which was rationality based and atheist in nature could blow up the conservative foundations of religion, particularly Brahiminical religion in South India. During freedom struggle, many leaders of the movement with their enlightened scientific outlook turned atheists such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jai Prakash Narain, EMS Namboodripad, whole lot of Socialists and Communists and above all most revered revolutionary hero of the nation-Bhagat Singh, who proclaimed himself an atheist with his essay-‘Why I am an Atheist’, written almost a year ago before his execution on 5-6th October 1930 in Lahore jail, after meeting another revolutionary Randhir Singh, who had refused his wish of courtesy call, because ‘Bhagat Singh shaved his hair’ and became a ‘fallen Sikh’! Bhagat Singh sent back message that ‘It was just one part of his body, he shelved for the freedom of the country; we are going to shelve each and every part of our bodies for the nation in near future, but your narrowness pinches’! After receiving this emotional message, Randhir Singh agreed to meet Bhagat Singh and after his meeting with Randhir Singh, Bhagat Singh jotted down his classic essay, as he was so far-sighted that his meeting with Randhir Singh can be given distorted colour later, which exactly happened! Randhir Singh after his release just after meeting Bhagat Singh in Lahore jail, put in his memoirs that ‘Bhagat Singh had ‘admitted’ his sin’ of ‘cutting his hair’ and on his advice has turned into Sikh religious faith’!

   Irony is this that Periyar in his editorial on 29th March 1931 issue of his Tamil journal Kudai Arsu admired Bhagat Singh for his courage of conviction as atheist and got its Tamil translation, done by Comrade P Jeevanandam and published it as a booklet from his publication in 1934, which has run into tens of editions by now and Tamilnadu has always celebrated Bhagat Singh more for his revolutionary ideas than his heroic romantic image!

     85 years later on 14-15th October, when Balendu Swami, an earlier Hindu faithful, turned into atheist, due to his sense of rationality developed by his study and experiences of life, invited many of his atheist friends from his face book page to join his birthday bash, which fell on 14th October and discuss the ideas of atheism in his private place called Ammaji Ashram on Parikrma road of Vrindavan, which runs an eco-friendly restaurant also, known as ‘Ammaji restaurant, built in memory of his deceased mother. Vrindavan, otherwise a small town of less than sixty thousand population, is an attractive place, where foreigners, mostly European whites can always be found in large numbers fascinated by the charming personality of Lord Krishna and apart from large number of other older Hindu temples, which include temples relating to stay of sixteenth century Bhakat poets-Chaitnya Mahaprabhu and rebel Hindi poet Meera Bai, a new modern ISKON temple is much centre of attraction. Vrindavan is known for its nearby Barsana temple Holi festivities also, where not hundreds rather thousands of foreigners turn up to enjoy the sight of ‘Lathmar’(Stick Beat) Holi of men and women. Sometimes foreigner women getting molested in melee of surging crowds is not uncommon on this occasion. Vrindavan is also known for its population of ‘Widows’, which are in number of thousands and live in temples/ashrams of Vrindavan. Their tales of sufferings including their exploitation, have also been filmed, serialised many a times in films and media.

  Balendu Swmi coming from a religious family background had spent more than three years in a cave like place without meeting any member of family or any other, just in meditation is search of ‘God’! And when he could not ‘discover’ or find him, his reason turned him to atheism. Balendu Swami experimented with Birthday Atheist meet last year also, but it did not get much publicity and was limited to facebook page event, yet nearly hundred people did gather and from far and wide on their own expenses-men and women both, many with families and made friends with Balendu Swami. But this time Facebook page of the event got larger publicity and print media also took note of it, so it attracted nearly five hundred plus strong response from at least sixteen states. People travelled from as far places as from Belgaum in Karnataka, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, apart from nearby states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, UP included as site itself. Seeing the larger response even for private event, Balendu Swami took caution to inform and seek permission from local authorities, as he has booked many hotels for his guests to stay in Vrindavan. Somehow some mischievous elements in local electronic and print media probably incited by some local religious Hindutva groups, telecast/printed few generalised anti-religion philosophical comments of Balendu Swami as ‘anti-Hindu’ on 13th and 14th October local Hindi papers/TV channels. Some people had reached a day earlier, but large number reached on 14th October morning to evening, as they were supposed to meet at 2 pm. On 14th October morning not more than 50 persons, led by a saffron colour dress Sadhu attacked Ammaji ashram with sticks, stones, damaged its signboard, broke its glasses and misbehaved with guests reaching there. One lady photojournalist Sarvesh from Delhi was badly beaten as she was recording the attack on her mobile or camera. Few policemen who could have easily controlled this small motivated crowd, rather helped the attackers and contributed to terrorisation of guests, large number of them left as dictated by police there. One big group from Punjab, which came with their own hired big vehicle was attacked and they went away, though later regretted going away under such pressure. While travelling from Delhi, close to Vrindavan around 1 pm, I also got a phone call from a guest coming from Ghazipur in UP about the situation. I reached the town by 2 pm and remained in touch with friends who were already inside the ashram. Police and attackers forced Balendu Swami to give in writing that meeting is cancelled. However there was no formal meeting on record, so many people, including me entered Ammaji Ashram after 3 pm through back gate, as on front gate few policemen and agitators were still menacingly telling people to go away.

   Nearly two hundred people including many families-people from 2 year kids to 80 years old, men and women, students, teachers, professionals included, after tea and snacks, sat on chairs informally and cultural items started to be performed. Poetry of Pash, Faiz and other songs were sung by Ajit Sahni from Ramnagar-Nainital group. Later a play Panchali based on Mahabharata tales was presented and discussion on play also took place after. During dinner time Birthday cake was cut by Balendu Swami with his German wife Ramona and one year daughter Apra by his side and all gathered sung birthday songs!

         Next morning after breakfast at Ashram, about hundred persons held a discussion on atheist views of Bhagat Singh and many participants made suggestions to take this discussion further. UP participants declared to hold a big atheist meet in Prime Minister Modi’s constituency Benares/Varanasi, with big preparations including security concerns. Delhi participants started making preparations to hold another national level meet of atheists in Delhi by December. Delhi meet is likely to focus on the increasing attacks by Hindutva groups on any kind of rationality or scientific temper oriented meets, which is a fascist kind of stifling the freedom of free thought ensured by Indian constitution. Participants were worried that even in ancient times Charvak, Ajit Keshkambli like thinkers, Samkhya Darshan like school of thoughts could practice or believe in agnosticism or atheism in India itself, yet in 21st century, when in many advanced and developed countries, faith in religion is becoming rare, here in South Asian countries religion is becoming increasingly tool of fascist stifling of free thought and scientific rational thought processes. On 4th October IPTA conference was attacked by similar Hindutva groups at Indore in M.P., Vrindavan attack was continuation of such tendencies starting from attack on JNU/HCU/Central University of Haryana attack on Mahashweta Devi play Draupdi-an ominous sign for coming times, if not resisted massively by all liberal-democratic-rational thinking sections of society!


Facebook pages links-





https://www.facebook.com/swamijibalendu/?fref=ts 178500 likes for page

The Colour of Pain: Five Punjabi Poets



On Diwali day this year Gufatgu-online journal of Indian Writers Forum has come out with its fifth issue, which is focused more on poetry from many languages and five poems are from award returning and other radical Punjabi poets.

With Diwali greetings


This selection is dedicated to the first death anniversary of Professor M.M. Kalburgi on 30thAugust 2016. The day was marked by a gathering in Dharwad of cultural activists, as well as many of the writers who returned their awards in 2015 in protest against the murder of Kalburgi and the rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. Of the five poets in this selection, Surjit Patar, Darshan Butter and Jaswinder were among the writers who returned their awards in 2015. Returning his award, Patar said, “The murder of writers, scholars and thinkers in this diverse country is painful… Even more painful is that these murderers get away…”


Lal Singh Dil

Wordslal 1

Words have already been said
much before us and
much after us.
Cut off every tongue of ours
If you can,
But words have already been said.

Read more by clicking at the Gufatgu link given above


Why Che Guevara and Bhagat Singh are most loveable youth icons!


che-kundan bhagatsingh(2)



Few days ago Indian and Pakistani youth celebrated Bhagat Singh’s 110th birth anniversary on 28th September and few days from now the whole world youth will be remembering Che Guevara on 9th October, completing 49 years of his martyrdom at the hands of US supported Bolivian reactionary regime in 1967.

While Che Guevara became symbol of resistance to US imperialism from early seventies in the height of Vietnam War and by the passing of time and with publication of his writings became more and more fascinating hero of the youth world over. Bhagat Singh phenomenon among Indian youth was there since his martyrdom in 1931, but it is only in digital times that his image as hero has travelled beyond India. Pakistan youth and liberal intelligentsia are now equally enamoured of him and claim him to be Pakistan’s hero. Left intelligentsia world over is now recognising Bhagat Singh also as much a hero, as Che Guevara is!

How both these youth icons have sustained and expanded as hero image among youth? Bhagat Singh lived between 1907 and 1931 for just twenty three years five months, whereas Che Guevara lived from 1928 to 1967 for 39 years. Bhagat Singh got seven years plus political life, whereas Che’s political life was started from the age of 23 years, when as a student of medicine, he travelled around South America on his motor cycle with a friend Alberto Grenado in 1951 for 8000 kilometres.  Journey took Guevara through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Miami, Florida, for 20 days, before returning home to Buenos Aires. They spend nine months in this travel and spent some time in leper colony in Peru. The sight of crushing poverty, hunger in rural areas made him think of liberation of South America. Prior to this he took a solo journey in Northern Argentine for 4500 kilometres alone on an engine fitted bicycle in 1950. In 1953, he completed his medical studies and officially became Dr. Ernesto Che Guevara!

Ernesto Guevara was born in Argentine on 14th June 1928 in a well to do family. But he got enlightened atmosphere at home to grow intellectually. He got asthma from his childhood, which did not leave him till the end of his life, yet he excelled in swimming, football, golf and was untiring cyclist! Ernesto was born three years before Bhagat Singh was hanged by British colonialists.

Bhagat Singh also got political awareness from his family, whose grandfather, father and two uncles were part of freedom struggle of India and there were lot of books and journals at his home in many languages, which made him grow into a multi lingual personality. Bhagat Singh’s early life was also shaped by Punjab peasants suffering from debt, against which his Uncle Ajit Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai were organising resistance movement. Bhagat Singh became full blown political activist at the age of 16 years only when revolutionaries formed Hindustan Republican Association(HRA), which five years later turned into Hindustan Socialist Republican Association/Army(HSRA) due to ideological colour given to it by Bhagat Singh by his deep study of Marxism and Soviet revolution of 1917.

Che Guevara after 1951 motor cycle trip, started again on July 7, 1953, Guevara this time to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. On December 10, 1953, before leaving for Guatemala, Guevara sent an update to his Aunt Beatriz from San José, Costa Rica. In the letter Guevara speaks of traversing through the dominion of the United Fruit Company; a journey which convinced him that Company’s capitalist system was a terrible one. In Guatemala he saw the overthrow of democratically elected President Arbenz’s government by American supported local right-wing forces in 1954. Guevara himself was eager to fight on behalf of Arbenz and joined an armed militia organized by the Communist Youth for that purpose, but frustrated with the group’s inaction, he soon returned to medical duties. Following the coup, he again volunteered to fight, but soon after, Arbenz took refuge in the Mexican Embassy and told his foreign supporters to leave the country. Guevara’s repeated calls to resist were noted by supporters of the coup, and he was marked for murder. He had to seek shelter in Argentine embassy, before he could get safe passage to Mexico. He worked as doctor in Mexico, where he met Castro brothers in 1955, who were trying to organise Cuban revolution from Mexico. Castro had attempted revolution in Cuba in July 26th 1953 movement by attacking military garrison in Moncada and were sentenced for long jail terms. They were released after two plus years and had come over to Mexico. Che Guevara joined with them here and they set out on leaking cruise Granma with 82 fighters for Cuba through sea on 25th November 1956. While reaching mountains of Sierra Maestra in Cuba, Cuban dictator Batista forces had killed most of them, only 22 remaining met after many days in mountains and Che Guevara was put in command second to Fidel Castro and within two years they made the world’s most amazing revolution and captured power on 1st January 1959. Batista and his supporters fled to Miami in US. Che himself liberated Santa Clara with just 400 hundred soldiers from ten times army of Batista! This is world’s only example of 82 men army throwing 80 thousand army of Batista regime in just two years time!

Che Guevara helped Cuban revolution succeed, he was one of senior minister in Castro cabinet, yet his heart was in revolution, he wished to make in whole of Latin America. Most of all he wished to make in his birth country Argentina, where one of his Cuban comrade went but lost life too soon. He was feeling restless and went to Congo and other African countries to help national liberation movements. Later in 1966, he decided to go to Bolivia and try Cuban like revolution, where a Communist party already existed, but which was divided in Moscow and Beijing camps and did not help Che. Che tried on his own to organise the guerrillas force, despite suffering from his asthma all the time, but failed due to heavy odds. US supported Bolivian dictator Barrientos got him killed brutally after he was captured on 8th October. One day Che was in captivity, he was tortured most cruelly, but he kept his head high all the time and it was his manner of facing death, that made him immortal and hero of the world youth. He wrote his own epitaph earlier-‘Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this our battle cry may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons.’

Che Guevara was true internationalist, born in Argentina, fought in Guatemala and Congo, made revolution in Cuba and died in Bolivia while making revolution.

Che Guevara in his sixteen years active life did so much, apart from making Cuban revolution and trying revolution in Congo, Africa and Bolivia, he wrote so much. His Motorcycle Diaries, Bolivian diaries, Guerrilla Warfare, Congo Diary, Cuba and the road to Socialism, Che Guevara Reader-which included number of his speeches, letters and interviews, Global Justice, n Marx and Engels and many more writings show the remarkable mind of Che. Five of his children survived him, some of them are now known figures in Cuba. Che’s personal collection of books included books by Jawaharlal Nehru as well, whom he met during a visit to Indian and Pakistan. He was probably not aware of Bhagat Singh’s writings, whom he would had loved like he loved Castro!

Jail Notebook of Bhagat Singh from 12th September 1929 to undated time before 23rd March 1931 and Bolivian Diaries of Che Guevara from 7th November 1966 to 7th October 1967, just a day before his capture, though different make interesting reading. While Bhagat Singh was taking notes of world classic books on literature, history and political economy, Che was taking critical notes of his revolutionary activities. Both were voracious readers and would be found reading in most odd conditions of underground life. Both faced death in a most honourable manner. Bhagat Singh writing to Lieutenant Governor of Punjab to shoot them being ‘war prisoners’ and Che exhorting the killer to tell-‘shoot coward…’! Both were warm hearted and friendly personalities. Memoirs of comrades and friends of both have narrated number of incidents of their warmth.

Both were the best sons of humanity produced so far-that is why both still inspire love and respect among youth!


*Chaman Lal is retired Professor of JNU, New Delhi and author of few books on Bhagat Singh. He can be reached at prof.chaman@gmail.com


  1. no 2690, Urban Estate, Phase-2, Patiala(Punjab)-147002


The Last Rebel-Chittagong revolutionary memoirs



How a new book on Chittagong revolt keeps the forgotten war alive

The Last of the Rebels: Ananda and his Masterda is a teenager’s eyewitness account of the 1930 uprising.


|   Long-form |   09-09-2016



The Chittagong revolt of 1930 has been one of most important revolutionary movements during the freedom struggle. It exploded on April 18, 1930 and, by 1934, it had given the country many a martyr, the last being the leader of the movement Master Surya Sen, who was executed in January 1934.

But several revolutionaries lived long lives, like the Ghadarite Babas of 1915. Incidentally, both got together in Andaman’s Cellular Jail and other prisons for long incarcerations. Survivors of both movements – Chittagong and Ghadar – mostly joined Communists and few affiliated with the Congress party, but none embraced the so-called “nationalist” RSS!

A teenager’s eyewitness account of the Chittagong Uprising.

Many survivors of the movement wrote their memoirs, helping historians analyse the movement with authentic documentation. Anant Singh, Kalpana Dutt and a few more had memoirs, though some remained untranslated, But Kalpana Dutt’s memoirs were translated to English and few other languages. Two films, Chittagong and Khelenge Ji Jaan Se were based on the memoirs and other works.

Ananda Gupta’s memoir is the latest addition to works about the Chittagong rebellion. Gupta, who joined the movement as a teenager like the others, had lived abroad – mostly in the UK – to get treatment for the illness that followed a prolonged jail term. He had spoken to his family members, who gave the memoirs shape in the form of a bilingual volume written in English and Bengali – a rarity in the publishing world.

It is co-authored by the mother-daughter duo of Nivedita Patnaik and Piyul Mukherjee. While Patnaik has wrought the Bengali text, her daughter Piyul has reproduced it in English.

The Foreword of the memoir is written by Subrata Bose, the nephew of Netaji Subhas Bose, who carried forward Netaji’s ideas of a Forward Bloc and remained member of Parliament from the party.

Subrata Bose quotes Sir Samuel Hoare, British secretary of state for India between 1931-35, in the Foreword: “In the battle for India’s freedom, the Chittagong uprising of 1930 turned the tide, and brought in its wake a rising and a clamour for immediate Independence.”

Subrata calls the Chittagong heroes as “youthful revolutionaries, who in their love for the freedom of their nation, allowed their own lives to be put at stake, facing the most vindictive torture imaginable without complaint. Their sacrifice has just no parallel anywhere. They are the unvanquished children of Mother India.”

The English text offering an insight into Ananda Gupta’s struggles describes him as one among the “clutch of teenagers” who participated the Chittagong armoury raid in 1930.

Chittagong is called Chattogram in Bengali and falls in present-day Bangladesh. A young Ananda Gupta was caught in the French territory of Chandannagar by the notorious police commissioner Charles Tegart with noted leaders of the movement like Ganesh Ghosh and Loknath Bal, while one of their youngest comrades and Anand’s closest friend Jeebon Ghoshal lost his life to British bullets.

Ananda was sentenced to transportation for life to the Andamans after two years in 1932, though he was not even an adult then. He spent 16 years in jail and was released in 1946, just a year prior to Independence.

During the jail term, asthma had wrecked his body from inside and he was forced to move to England for treatment, supported by his wife, who had laboured hard to get her husband treated. Gupta later recovered from his serious ailments.

Born on September 26, 1916, the revolutionary was just 14 when he joined Masterda Surjyo Sen’s army. He passed away in December 2005 and the volume was brought out on his birth centenary as a dedication to his many struggles.

The memoir’s Introduction describes the Chittagong revolt as “A Forgotten Chapter” and Ananda Gupta as disciple of Masterda – Surya Sen.

Fifty years after Independence, Gupta had visited the Andaman prison, a second time in his life, at the invitation of then president KR Narayanan. Only now, he was an “honoured prisoner”!

The memoir opens with an account of Ananda Gupta’s meeting with Master da. He was interviewed by Surya Sen after his recruitment to the revolutionary group in 1929 at the age of 13 years! Surya Sen is said to have explained to the young rebel the world vision of revolution, inspired by Irish nationalists and the Easter uprising.

The second chapter recounts the details of April 18, 1930, the day of Chittagong armoury raid. Ananda remembers how he would drive revolutionaries to the target, who destroyed a telegraph machine led by Ambikada. Ganesh Ghosh was designated as “Field Marshal” at the time. Then begins the famous Jalalabad battle, which Gupta recounts as another historic event in Masterda’s life. Most touching is the description of the young revolutionaries’ martyrdom, the first to fall was Hargopal (Tegra) Bal, then the youngest martyr Nirmal Lala, his young voice calling out “Vande Mataram” before it fell to silence. There were many others.

In “Feni Encounter”, Gupta recounts how Ganesh Ghosh escaped the police by posing as rural folk – “dehati log”. Another chapter describes the savage killings at Chandernagar, close to Calcutta, where Gupta and the others had sought refuge.

Among the four revolutionaries – Ganesh Ghosh, Ananda, Lokenath Bal and Jeebon Ghoshal, the last fell to bullets, while the rest were arrested by Charles Tegart on  September 1, 1930 for illegally attacking foreign territory.

Gupta details life in incarceration and how brutal torture could not break the spirit of freedom in Ganesh Ghosh, Anant Singh. How, at such a young age, Ananda refused to eat the food offered by jail authorities, unless his comrades were afforded the same.

He also narrates the corruption inside the jail’s walls. The rigorous imprisonment meant the revolutionaries were made to do hard labour – from morning till evening and served a tasteless coarse meal. Gupta describes the 1933 hunger strike of prisoners following which conditions changed for the better; how Karl Marx’s Das Capitalreached the jail also comes with a humorous take.

The news of Masterda’s hanging in 1934 grips the comrades with sadness. The humanist nature of Irish doctor Colonel Fischer is also underlined, the same doctor who sent him to England after his release, as he had set up private practice in Calcutta after he left Andamans.

The overwhelming personality of Netaji Subhas Bose and how it somewhat overshadowed his elder brother Sarat Chander Bose’s role in freedom struggle also finds a mention in the memoir. Sarat was stronger than his younger brother in many respects and a more committed socialist.

It was he who defended Chittagong revolutionaries in courts, and helped them in various other ways, by liberally funding them, even offering to help them escape prison.

Sarat was member of Bengal legislative Assembly at the time of Partition and he stood for a united Bengal with the then chief minister of Bengal, Suhrawardi. Their resolution of United Bengal was defeated by the Congress and the Communist party at the time as they voted for the division of Bengal on communal lines, against the principles of language and culture and the unity of people.

In fact, Jinnah was prepared to accept Bengal and Punjab as unified independent nations. Punjab’s chief minister Khizr Hyat Khan Tiwana and Congress leader Gopi Chang Bhargav too were in favour of a united Punjab. Had the two nations come into being at that time, the political climate in South Asia would have been different!

The communal cauldron in South Asia would not have gained steam. Had Subhas Chandra Bose been present in the political scene, the history of Bengal would have been different today.

Another interesting chapter focuses on a meeting with Charlie Chaplin, who had met Gandhi in London. Gupta was so impressed by the showman that he arranged for a private audience with him during one of his journeys.

The meeting proved to be pleasant and much longer than the fixed five minutes, as Chaplin was keen on listening to the Indian revolutionary!

After release from jail, Gupta joined Jyoti Basu and the others in a prisoner release movement. All his life, Masterda’s flame was kept alive by Gupta and, at the age of 81 years, he is said to have said that given the chance, he would join the rebellion. Gupta harboured no regrets in the aftermath of the failure of the Chittagong movement.

Along with moving accounts of his family, the book’s appendices trace the history of Bengal, starting from the 7th Century AD, focusing more on twentieth century and renaissance movement, as well as the role of radical nationalists in successive rebellions. The third appendix is a sketch of Master Surya Sen.

Another focuses on the American war of Independence and Irish rebellion, which impacted the Chittagong revolutionaries. The book also underlines the differing views of Gandhi and Tagore on social issues and the latter’s concern for revolutionaries.

In bringing Gupta’s witness of the rebellion to life, the translators have done a commendable job of preserving the memories of their kin, which are crucial to understand the participation of teenagers in India’s revolutionary movements, which continue to this day.

2 h



  by Taboola 

#Bengal#The Last of the Rebels#Chittagong


CHAMAN LAL @profchaman

The author is a retired professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the author of Understanding Bhagat Singh.


Gurvinder’s Punjabi film ‘Chauthi Koont’ based on Waryam Sandhu stories




           10th August-Vasant Kunj Mall-Delhi-Film ‘Chauthi Koont’-Gurvinder/Waryam Sandhu

This is Gurvinder’s second film based on Punjabi literary classic


This is Gurvinder’s second film based on literary Punjabi classics. First was ‘Anhe Ghode da Daan’based on Gurdial Singh’s novel. Novelist created a modern meeting of a mythical story, but which turned into a complex film. The film got international acclaim but few audience. His second film based on Waryam Singh Sandhu’s two stories-‘Chathi Koont’(Fourth direction) and ‘Main Hun Thikthak Han’(I am all right now) has earned both international acclaim as well as good number of audience in cinema houses. Film begins with screen shot of story Chauthi Koont, in which two Hindu and one Sikh passenger trying to travel back to Amritsar through only late evening train going from Ferozepur but having no passenger in it. As is common in Indian society’s ‘jugad’ system, they all three are able to push into guard room, which already is having few more passengers. It seems through Guard dream or one of Hindu passenger narrating earlier story of his life, which begins the screen shooting of second story, a longer one-‘ Hun Main Thikthak Han’(I am all right now), in which common people in rural areas of Punjab getting crushed under both Khalistani and state terror is depicted in powerful manner. Joginder, a well-built Kabaddi player is reduced to a beggar state by both terrorists and state armed forces. He is ordered to kill his pet dog by terrorists, as his barking affects their night movements. The dog is loved by all family members-particularly Joginder’s son and daughter. Joginder has tried many times to leave the dog at faraway places, but he finds back his home and returns! They ask veterinary hospital staff to poison the dog, but the concerned Khalsa Sikh employee refuses to kill ‘innocent’ dogs, even if he has to leave his job. They take poison home but not able to kill and if in night terrorists come to terrorise, day comes and comes the armed forces to insult who are attacked by loyal and faithful dog to pin the officer down and dog is just saved. In night time when dog does not stop barking, Joginder in a spur of moment, hits him with farm belch which kills the dog, while dog is being taken by the family out of village, story returns to Chauthi koont as Amritsar station is nearing and guard instructs passengers to get down few yards before the station. When two Hindu passengers rush to go to the Sikh passenger resents their letting him alone by not waiting for him.

  Stories and film both faithfully depict the Punjab reality of 1970’s, which shows that Punjabi people-both Hindus and Sikhs and before 1947-Muslims-Hindus and Sikhs all have lived in peace and harmony and helped each other in time of need. It is only vested political interests which create Bhindrawales and Hafiz Saeeds or Togadias to divide people on religious basis and fight each other to serve these anti-human forces. State armed wing does not protect the common people, they rather harass them as much as the terrorists of religious fundamentalists harass them.

        Film is almost faithful recreation of stories and is realist to the core. One may say Waryam Sandhu is lucky to have got Satyajit Roy of Punjabi cinema in Gurvinder. The way Satyajit Ray immortalised Vibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhya’s novel ‘Pather Panchali’, later the trilogy of the same, Gurvinder has recreated Waryam stories into that realist model of Ray. Of course two situations are entirely different. Pather Panchali was scenic depiction of rural poverty of 1950’s Bengal, whereas Chauthi Koont is recreation of 1980’s terror of common people of Punjab, particularly in rural side at the hands of both Khalistanis and state armed forces!

   Film has good music composition without songs and the language part and acting is so naturally depicted that one does not feel the film is being played by actors, the Majhi dialect of Punjabi has come so naturally from all actors, as if film is being just shot in day to day routine life of people.

    Waryam Sandhu has made no major departure from the text of his stories in film and the dialogues are almost reproduction of stories itself. Both writer and director deserve audience compliments for this marvelous Punjabi film. Gurvinder has brought Punjabi cinema to not only national map, but international as well, but this cinema still is waiting for audience, which could make producing such films financially viable. Till now these are being produced by some official or non-official support. Hope it is produced in Hindi as well for larger audience!