Pakistan government has finally renamed Shadman Chowk as Bhagat Singh Chowk in Lahore as a mark of respect to the martyr and an acknowledgement of his role in the struggle against British rule.
Freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev Singh were hanged on March 23, 1931, in Lahore jail, which at that time stood at the present day roundabout.
The jail was demolished in 1961 and on the execution ground, Shadman Chowk was built. Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) director Diep Saeeda told TOI over phone from Lahore that it was a welcome step taken a tad too late.
“We had been advocating for naming the place after Bhagat Singh for many years and only on the martyr’s 105th birth anniversary (September 28), the demand has been accepted,” said Saeeda.
“Bhagat Singh belongs to all of us and we wanted his memory to be preserved for the coming generations. We will soon press the Pakistan government for building a Bhagat Singh monument at the chowk,” he said, adding that the memories of martyrs have not faded from the minds of Pakistanis even after 81 years of Bhagat Singh attaining martyrdom.
Jawahar Lal Nehru University professor Chaman Lal, who has authored several books on Bhagat Singh, termed it as a big occasion. He said, “Pakistan authorities need to be complimented for this otherwise delayed decision”.
Civil society activists of Pakistan had been holding a candle light march at the chowk every year on March 23 (Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom day) demanding the renaming.