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March 23, 2012

Shadman Chowk of Lahore is likely to be officially named Bhagat Singh Chowk

CHANDIGARH: The Shadman Chowk of Lahore is likely to be officially named Bhagat Singh Chowk this year, two years after democratic, secular and socialistic organizations of Pakistan on their own named the place after the martyr.

"Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharief's spokesman and senator Parvez Rashid, during a meeting with members of Bhagat Singh Foundation of Pakistan, recently assured that a bill to name the chowk after Bhagat Singh will be passed in the House," foundation's president and legal and human rights adviser to Punjab governor, Abdullah Malik, told TOI over phone from Lahore.

Senator Shaukat Basra, along with others, has already sent a bill to this effect to the house, but it has to be officially moved and adopted for the change to happen, Malik said. Within a few years, the revolutionary youth icon against oppression has now become a point of discussion in Pakistani discourse.

Every year, the foundation observes the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh at Shadman Chowk where maps suggest Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev might have been hanged on March 23, 1931. Malik said the ideas of Bhagat Singh are fast catching up in Pakistan, which is facing religious fundamentalism. This year, instead of observing the martyrdom day, the whole week has been dedicated to the revolutionary, he said. A day before the martyrdom day, a theatre performance "Rang De Basanti" was enacted in Lahore.

The foundation has been pleading that history of freedom fighters, irrespective of their religion, should be taught in the syllabus of Pakistan. Bhagat Singh's life is part of this glorious history.

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