– Appeals political parties to work collectivery for cherishing the aspirations of freedon fighters
Kartarpur (Jalandhar): Making a fervent appeal to the leaders of all the political parties to work in unison cutting across the party affiliations to ensure the overall development and prosperity of the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today called upon the people to take a solemn pledge to emerge both the Punjab and country as front runner globally thereby cherishing the aspirations of countless martyrs and patriots who laid down their lives to free our motherland from the yoke of British imperialism.
Addressing a mammoth gathering on the historic occasion of foundation laying ceremony of the state-of-the art Jang-e-Azaadi memorial over an area of 25 acre here today, the Chief Minister said that it was a humble tribute to numerous unsung heroes of the national freedom struggle especially from the state, who made enormous contribution at the altar of the motherland. At the same time Mr. Badal avowed to make Punjab a vibrant and progressive state in the country, free from the maladies of unemployment, poverty and illiteracy as dreamt by our great freedom fighters. Recalling the unparalleled and unique sacrifices made by Punjabis in the Indian freedom struggle, he mentioned that 80% sacrifices had been made by Punjabis alone in the national freedom movement despite the fact they merely constituted two percent of country’s population.
The Chief Minister further said that it was also a matter of sheer pride and honor for us that all the watershed movements associated with the country’s freedom struggle like Kuka, Ghadar, Kamagata Maru, Agrarian, Gurdwara Reforms and Babbar Akali were spear headed by the brave Punjabis from this sacred land. Mr. Badal said that he bows his head in reverence to the martyrs of the Doaba region for their supreme contribution in the freedom struggle and said that this Jang-e-Azaadi memorial was a real tribute in recognition to their unprecedented sacrifices, which would ever act as a beacon to guide the destiny of our future generations.
Highly appreciating the indomitable spirit of Punjabis of gallantry, courage and valour, the Chief Minister said that they had inherited the spirit of self sacrifice and patriotism from Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, Sri Guru Arjun Dev ji, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur ji and Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, who had waged a relentless battle against injustice, tyranny and oppression to safeguard the human rights of the innocent and helpless people. Reiterating the firm commitment of state government to perpetuate the rich legacy of Punjabis in the national freedom struggle, he commended the efforts of Executive Committee of the Jang-e-Azaadi foundation under the apt leadership of its President and Managing Editor of the Ajit Group of newspaper Dr. Barjinder Singh Hamdard, who was instrumental in translating his lifetime dream into a reality by constructing the world class ‘Jang-e-Azaadi’ memorial to show case the unparalleled contribution of Punjabis in the national independence movement. He also urged Dr. Hamdard to complete this prestigious project within a period of 18-24 months.
Outlining the immense significance of these memorials, the Chief Minister said that only those nations survive who preserve their culture and other nations who ignored their glorious past were deemed to be vanished. He said the SAD-BJP government in consonance with this ideology has already constructed state of art Virasat-e-Khalsa memorial at Sri Anandpur Sahib, memorials of big and small holocaust in Kup Rahira and Kahnuwan respectively and Baba Banda Singh Bahadur War memorial at Chappar Chiri. Likewise, Mr. Badal said that state-of-the-art War Heroes’ Memorial cum Museum was being constructed at Amritsar over seven acres of land on the Amritsar-Attari Road, to recognize and showcase the supreme sacrifices made by the Punjabi soldiers while serving in the Armed forces thereby upholding their supreme gallantry values.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister felicitated the eminent scholars and historians including Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University Dr. Jaspal Singh, Dr. Prithipal Singh Kapoor and Dr. Harish Sharma besides noted film Director Dr. Shyam Benegal with a replica of the upcoming memorial.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister and President Shiromani Akali Dal Mr. Sukhbir Singh Baal started his speech with a Punjabi saying “Sada Kamyabi Chumme Pair Usde, Jina Kauma Nu Marn da Jhall Pai Je, Mull Painda Sada Kurbani Da Bhave Ajj pai Jave Bhave Kall Pai Je” (Success always follows the communities which dare to sacrifice, Sacrifices always being rewarded either sooner or later). He said that Punjabis always followed the teachings of great Gurus who taught us to fight for right. He said that those who sacrificed their present to secure the better tomorrow of nation had never died so for any reward but it was our prime duty to create their memorials to convey their message to our next generations.
Highlighting the role of Punjabis in the freedom struggle, Mr. Badal said that more than 80 percent of prisoners of ‘Kalepani’ were from Punjab. He lauded the decision of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to initiate the work on Punjab Jang-e-Azadi memorial after constructing memorial in the memory of great Sikh warriors. He said that all the countries of world have created grand memorials in the memory of their martyrs and it hurts him most that our country did a little in this direction.
Mr. Badal said that during last seven years SAD-BJP government under the leadership of Mr. Parkash Singh Badal put the construction of these memorials on priority list. He said that he was thankful to the contribution of Dr. Barjinder Singh Hamdarad who turned every stone to plan and execute the outline for Jang-e-Azadi memorial.
Expressing proud to be President of a party which did great sacrifices for independence and to protect the rights of Punjab, Mr. Badal shared his memories of visit to jail where Mr. Nelson Mandela has been kept for 16 years. “At that time the South African ambassador told me that his country worships Mr. Mandela for his sacrifices for the nation. I told him that I belong to Shiromani Akali Dal, a party which has uncountable Nelson Mandelas”, he added.
Mr. Badal said that whenever India faced any crisis Punjabi always lead the battle. He said that Punjabis always took it as challenge either it was battles with Pakistan to secure the borders of nation or to curb the food crisis. “It is a unique initiative of the Punjab government to construct this memorial over an area of 25 acres at a cost of Rs 200 crore, to showcase the rich legacy and enormous contribution of Punjabis in the Indian freedom struggle”, said Mr. Badal.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor of Chattisgarh Mr. Balram Ji Dass Tandon said that this gigantic memorial would ever act as a source of inspiration to sensitize our younger generations with our rich cultural heritage about which majority of them were almost ignorant. He said this superb memorial would soon become a major tourist destination not only in the country but in the world.
In his address the former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and MP Mr. Shanta Kumar said that this was a revolutionary step of the SAD-BJP government and offer a healthy platform to the people especially the youngsters to keep them abreast with our rich cultural heritage. He also lauded the contribution of Mr. Badal to conceive this project by taking a lead in the country, which would not only be a tribute to our great martyrs but also a welcome initiative to make our countrymen aware about the saga of our independence struggle.
Addressing the gathering the Leader of Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha Mr. Sunil Jakhar said that the spirit of bravery and sacrifice was not only imbibed in the blood of Punjabis but was included in their DNA. He said such initiatives which propagated a spirit of patriotism and self sacrifice amongst the people especially the younger generations must be appreciated by one and all cutting across the party lines.
In his keynote address, the President of the Executive Committee of the Jang-e-Azaadi Foundation Dr. Barjinder Singh Hamdard gave a detailed account of the upcoming memorial. He said that thorough research work in term of concept paper prepared by eminent historians and scholars especially Dr. Kirpal Singh, Dr. JS Grewal and Mr. KL Tuteja was the basis of this ambitious project. Dr. Hamdard also commended the architectural skills of internationally acclaimed architect Mr. Raj Rawail for creating this world class marvel under the visionary leadership of the Chief Minister. He also complemented the finer sense of cinematography of the renowned film maker Dr. Shyam Benegal for making a documentary film depicting different facets of freedom movement adding he said that 150 feet high Minar-e-Shaheedan would be the star of attraction at the memorial.
Earlier in his welcome address Cultural affairs and Tourism Minister Mr. Sohan Singh Thandal said that the state government has scripted a new chapter in the history of preserving Punjab’s glorious heritage by constructing the world class Jan-e-Azaadi memorial.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included Speaker Punjab Assembly Dr. Charanjit Singh Atwal, Cabinet Ministers Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, Mr. Gulzar Singh Ranike, Mr. Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Dr. Daljeet Singh Cheema, Mr. Surjit Singh Rakhra, Mr. Chunni Lal Bhagat, Jathedar Ajit Singh Kohar and Mr. Parminder Singh Dhindsa, State BJP President Mr. Kamal Sharma, President SGPC Jathedar Avtar Singh, Lok Sabha MP Jathedar Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Rajya Sabha MPs Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr. Balwinder Singh Bhunder, former Lieutenant Governor Pondicherry Mr. Iqbal Singh, ex-President PPCC Mr. HS Hanspal, Political Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Tikshan Sud, Media Advisor to Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Jangveer Singh, Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Mr. KD Bhandari, Mr. Pawan Teenu, Mr. Inderbeer Singh Bolaria and Prof. Virsa Singh Valtoha, Head Damdami Taksal Baba Harnam Singh, MLAs Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr. Manoranjan Kalia, Mr. Sarwan Singh Phillaur and Mr. Manjit Singh Mianwind, Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar Mr. KK Yadav besides leaders and workers of Akali Dal and BJP and members of SGPC.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Chief Secretary Mr. Sarvesh Kaushal besides his Principal Secretary Mr. SK Sandhu and Special Principal Secretary Mr. KJS Cheema.