A picture depicting a historical moment in India’s freedom struggle has been exhumed from a rubble of neglect and apathy, from under the weight of time, relatively unscathed. A rare and revolutionary picture of the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, banned by the British regime, will be published afresh along with some rare documents by the Bihar State archives in three huge volumes after 86 years.
Titled, ‘Teen Shaheed’ (Three Martyrs), the lithograph published in Kolkata also depicts a cell filled with revolutionaries, a ship full of people being transported to ‘Kala Pani’ (Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands) on the right side of the work and the image of Lord Krishna on the top, showering blessings on the revolutionaries.
The picture was banned and seized by the British government after the three freedom fighters were hanged in Lahore in 1931. It was captioned with the famous couplet “Rang De Basanti Chola (Dye My Robe The Colour of Spring)…”, was found in the Bihar State Archives (BSA), buried among some of the rare documents that were banned across the country by the British government.
Bihar State Archives Director Vijoy Kumar said, “We went through our records here at the State Archives, and collected and collated documents and literature which were proscribed during the British Raj.”
He said the work titled “Proscribed Documents in the Records of the Bihar State Archives – Vol I, Vol II and Vol III”, with focus on the period 1915-1947, is currently “in press” and would be out by March-end.
The picture also carries the name of Shivaji Press Calcutta where it was printed. “During the last couple of years, we have arranged many documents of British Raj here. Most of the documents carry the information related to Bihar (now divided into Jharkhand and Odisha) but some documents have valuable information on other states and the freedom movement,” added Vijoy.
Other records pertain to Bihar Congress leader Sri Krishna Singh, who was charged with sedition and arrested for writing the play “Bharat Durdasha” and acting in it, in his hometown Haveli Kharagpur in Munger in 1923.