National monument status eludes building
Ferozepur March 23:
The martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on March 23, 1931, laid the foundation for the independence of the country.
Every year, functions are held in every nook and corner of the country to pay tributes to the national heroes by the leaders of almost all the political parties of Punjab. However, the national heroes have been made a channel by the politicians to strike an emotional chord with the people to fetch votes instead of preserving the things which remain associated with them.
In Ferozepur, known as ‘Shaheedon Ki Dharti’, a building, which was reportedly used by Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his associates for making bombs and holding secret meetings, has been lying in a bad shape. The leaders of Punjab could not find enough time as well as funds to preserve the two-storeyed building, located at Toori Bazar, which can collapse any time. The first floor of the building was used by Gaya Parshad, an associate of Bhagat Singh, who practised medicine and the second floor was used by them for making bombs and to evolve a strategies to fight the British.
Bhagat Singh also got his hair cut from a barber, Gajjanand, who ran a shop, located in front of the building, to escape the police net after killing Saunders, a British police officer, to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. Now, the upper portion of the dilapidated building is occupied by a family while the two shops on the ground floor are used by a businessman dealing in grocery. The third shop has been turned into a store by another businessman. The building is in the possession of a local trust.
Kulbir Singh Sidhu, who remained Commissioner of Ferozepur division in 2005-06 and tried to preserve the building, said, “I made efforts to get the building declared as a national monument. However, due to lack of interest on the part of successive state governments, it could not get that status.” He said even a team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Surinder Pal Singh, Director, National Museum, visited the building and got an offer from the trustees saying they could transfer it to the government if it is converted into a national monument.
Vijay Sharma, a local businessman, whose father Ram Gopal Sharma served food to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev by hiding it in a school bag, when he was just eight years old, said it was unfortunate that neither the Punjab government nor the Central government had shown any respect to the relic to preserve it for posterity. He said his father Ram Gopal Sharma, who died last year, waited for the memorial of the national heroes to come up in that building till he breathed his last. He said the building could still be declared a national monument, if the government make efforts in this regard. Ferozepur DC KK Yadav said if the claims were found to be true, efforts would be made to preserve the building.