On Martyrs’ Day, a student, a young farmer, a woman activist lead the charge at different farm protest sites

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Shaheed Diwas was observed at more than 120 protest sites across Punjab and Delhi borders Tuesday. At several such sites, speakers invoked the legacy of Bhagat Singh and urged youngsters to study the lives of revolutionary freedom fighters. The Indian Express profiles a few among them.

Kuldeep Singh Dhaula, 27

Education: 10+2
Profession: Farmer

Kuldeep Singh is a marginal farmer with around three and a half acres of land in Dhaula village of Barnala district. His father died last year, days before lockdown, due to a heart attack. Kuldeep said, “I have been part of BKU (Dakaunda) since I was 21 years old. Though I lost my father months before farm laws were passed, I still remained active in protest against farm laws….I have been to Delhi morcha a couple of times and I must say that Delhi morcha could not have been successful had youngsters not taken part. Hence, on Martyrs’ Day, we are remembering them once again and we are telling youngsters that there is a need to walk in the footsteps of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev who laid their lives for the country.” Speaking at Barnala railway station Tuesday afternoon, he had said,”Youngsters need to take part in large numbers to get farm laws repealed. Today, we need to read Bhagat Singh’s diary yet again…We have two libraries in our village to inculcate reading habits among youngsters.”

Hoshiar Singh Salemgarh, 25

Education: MA History student

Hoshiar Singh Salemgarh

Hoshiar Singh is the president of Punjab Students Union (Randhawa) in district Sangrur. On Tuesday, he was at Tikri border and he was one of the speakers at BKU (Ugrahan)’s stage at Pakoda Chowk. He hails from village Salemgarh of Sangrur and is from a farming family. He said, “College students are related to movement against farm laws and hence they realise the importance of Martyrs’ Day in this farm movement. I was at Tikri border Tuesday afternoon and we have issues like unemployment before us already while farm laws are staring us too…We need to read Bhagat Singh’s thoughts once again.”

Navjot Kaur, 24

Education: M.Sc (Maths)
Profession: Private tutor

Navjot, who takes private tuitions of mathematics in Barnala, is also a stencil sketch artist. Her father, Hakam Singh Noor, has authored three books. She said, “I got to read a lot when I was a child and even used to take part in plays on social issues. Bhagat Singh’s thoughts are always in my mind. So keeping this in mind, I went to Barnala railway station Tuesday, to pay tributes to him. To remind people that we need to read books too apart from being part of revolution. This is what the great revolutionary wanted.”

Gurpreet Kaur Brass, 38

Education: Class 10 pass
Profession: Farming

Gurpreet Kaur Brass

Gurpreet hails from Brass village of Patiala district of Punjab and is mother of a 19-year-old son. She is member of BKU (Ugrahan)’s women wing. She said, “I read the oath for thousands of youngsters in Sunam youth rally this Sunday and Tuesday, I was at different protest sites in Patiala and even addressed women in Brass village. I and my husband do farming at our five and a half acres family land. Bhagat Singh spoke about Jativad and even today, we are facing differences at every step. I strongly believe that movements give results when youngsters become part of it. I had been at Delhi borders a number of times and I never found any youngster misbehaving with women ever. Youngsters just need to learn one lesson — josh de naal hosh vi rakho.”

Sukhjinder Singh, 41

Education: MA Punjabi, Masters in Journalism, B.Ed
Profession: Unemployed

Even after getting three degrees and clearing teachers eligibility test (TET), Sukhjinder is still unemployed. He leads the Unemployed TET pass B.Ed Teachers Association. He said, “Our members are sitting on a 24×7 dharna outside the house of Education Minister Vijayinder Singla demanding jobs. We started this dharna on December 31 and Tuesday, it was our 84th day. On Tuesday, we did a seminar on the teachings of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev outside his house and even conducted a march in the city area holding posters of martyrs. Even today, unemployment, discrimination in the society exists and hence, it is all the more important to remember their teachings and follow their path so as to realise the dream of Bhagat Singh, who laid his life for the country at such a young age.”

Navreet Kaur, 17

Education: Class 12 student

Navreet Kaur

Teenager Navreet Kaur, a Class 12 student of Government Senior Secondary School in Jhorar village of Jagraon constituency of Ludhiana, surprised people with her firey speech. Kaur is daughter of a farmer, Charanjeet Singh, and she spoke for nearly 10 minutes on the contributions of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at Jagraon railway station and whether we have lived up to these contributions. Kaur said, “Bhagat Singh would have felt immense pain, had he seen farmers of the country sleeping on roads for the past six months..It started in September in Punjab and since November at Delhi. Revolution is needed to make movements successful and young minds like us need to walk firmly with our elders to give them physical strength.”

Jagraj Singh Kalajhad, 38

Profession: Business

Jagraj is from BKU (Ugrahan) and has a sports goods shop in Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district. He said, “During protest dharnas against farm laws, we realised the need to have youth wings of farmer unions as well along with women wings. Earlier, cadre used to be one. We need to read about Bhagat Singh….discuss about him and act on his path. This is how a movement becomes people’s movement.” Jagraj said while speaking at Tikri border Tuesday afternoon wearing a basanti pagri.

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