The first Ranbir Singh Memorial Lecture was organised to celebrate Ranbir Singh’s 111th Birthday at India International Centre. Ranbir Singh was a fellow freedom fighter with Bhagat Singh, but he was essentially a a journalist and a literary man. In 1953, he became the Chief Editor of Milap, which has been the largest circulated Urdu daily, since its inception in Lahore. He became treasurer of the All India Newspaper Editor’s Conference (A.I.N.E.C) in 1953, the Secretary General in 1957 and the President in 1967. The Ranbir Singh Archive and lecture series is his grandson, Mr. Anand Kamal Goel’s attempt to keep his legacy alive, while also surfacing the buried stories of the freedom struggle.
All know about Bhagat Singh but not many know about his organisation and the brave hearts who manned it – The ‘Hindustan Socialist Republican Army’. Most people don’t know about Ranbir Singh’s sacrifices as a freedom fighter and that he was a part of the HSRA. We are attempting to remember these buried stories of the freedom struggle to inspire the rising generations to feel responsible, take initiative and then learn to live with dignity.
We wanted to evoke the sense of patriotism among contemporary youth. The Ranbir Singh Archive is taking conscious steps to meet these objectives by collecting and animating documents and photographic evidences from that part of history which had been enshrouded for a long period.
The first Ranbir Singh Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Irfan Habib on ‘The Legacy of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’, in which he shed light on various lesser known facts about the man’s life while also talking about his writings and the diary he wrote while being jailed. He said, “There is an essential difference between history and heritage. While heritage cannot be changed, history is dynamic.”
Anand Kamal Goel said, “My grandfather experienced and imbibed a lot more than most people can, in a lifetime. His youth was spent in actively struggling to see the dawn of free independent India, and he was able to witness that. Through this initiative, we are trying to explore different facets of him that are largely undocumented, in a consolidated manner.”
Both Bhagat Singh’s nephews General Sheonan Singh and Professor Jagmohan Singh enthralled the audience with anecdotes and stories of Bhagat Singh and Ranbir Singh’s friendship and camaraderie.The event was attended by the crème of Delhi’s society as industrialists, academicians, diplomats and politicians from all parties gathered to pay tribute to those who had a role to play in India’s struggle for freedom.