International and Comparative Librarianship

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tucked away in library, a slice of (India's) freedom struggle

Extract:
By Ritika Jha | IANS – Yahoo news and Punjab Newsline

Chandigarh, March 24 (IANS) To relive the era of India's freedom struggle and hail the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, a library here has developed a 'freedom-special' section that also contains books once issued to him when he was in jail.

With over 500 books, this section at the Dwarka Dass library in Lajpat Bhavan has original copies of the court proceedings of the Lahore conspiracy case (1928-29) - which led to the trial of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.

'A number of such books and documents which were compiled during the freedom struggle have been available in the library since it was established in 1921 in Lahore,' librarian G.S. Thakkar told IANS.

'We have put them in the special section to give our readers a real feel of the freedom struggle, as they enter it,' he added.

The library, which was named by freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai in memory of his friend Dwarka Dass, was re-located from Lahore to Chandigarh in 1966. It is housed in Sector 15.

The freedom section has more than 10 books read by Bhagat Singh in the Central Jail in Lahore, where he was lodged and later hanged along with Rajguru and Sukhdev March 23, 1931, for hatching a conspiracy against the British government.

Records of the library tell about the books, mostly revolutionary literature, that were issued to Bhagat Singh and that he read in Lahore.

Some of the books he took included 'Mother' by Maxim Gorky, 'God and the State' by Michael Bakunin, 'Les Miserables' by Victor Hugo and 'Career of a Nihilist' by S. Stepniak.

He also got a pamphlet, 'Civil War in France' by Karl Marx, issued.

Original copies of the reports on each of the Indian National Congress (INC) sessions held since the party's establishment in 1885 till 1931 (when Bhagat Singh was hanged) are also available in the section.

George Allen's 'Jalianwalah Bagh massacre at Amritsar' and Surendra Nath's 'India's Struggle for Independence' are among the 'most-referred' in the library till date, Thakkar said.

While the former carries real pictures of the massacre spot, the latter is known to be the first book written by an Indian author on freedom struggle.

'Freedom fighters like Sardar Bhagat Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai are the real heroes. I am glad to know that the library offers such unique information relating to them,' said Sandeep, a regular visitor.

'Their contributions preserved in these books and documents can, in many ways, arouse a sense of responsibility and accountability among young readers,' he asserted.

The library was established by veteran freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai in 1921. He had established the Servants of the People Society in 1921 at Lahore, which was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. In 1928, he led a silent, non-violent protest against the Simon Commission in Lahore (now in Pakistan). In the police cane charge, he was seriously injured and later succumbed to his injuries.

Bhagat Singh, an eyewitness to the event, was very upset and vowed to take revenge from the British.

'When the proceedings of the Lahore conspiracy case had begun in the Lahore court in 1928, police used to check the records of the Lajpat Bhavan library in search of information on Bhagat Singh,' Thakkar added.

(Ritika Jha can be reached at ritika.jha3@gmail.com )

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1 Comments:

Anonymous hindu blog said...

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8:07 AM  

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