Adieu Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga

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Adieu Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga

Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 4
Rich tributes were paid to Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, Ghadarite, at his native village Bilga, near here, yesterday. Baba Bilga was cremated with state honours amidst loud slogans of “Baba Bilga amar rahe” and “Baba Bilga di soch te, pehra deyange thok ke.”

The followers of Baba Bilga and his ideologies reached from far and wide. Apart from the family members of Baba Bilga, his close associates especially reached India to pay last respects to the departed soul. At the local Desh Bhagat Yadgaar Hall (DBYH) the scene was nothing short of another “Ghadari Mela,” the annual event, which is held every year on November 1.

Kulbir Singh Sanghera, elder son of Baba Bilga, said, “Baba ji was highly commended personality due to his logical, scientific and contemporary ideologies, which are relevant even today. We held similar condolence meetings in the UK as well and people reached from across the world as a mark of respect to the departed soul.”

Even the grandsons of Baba Bilga were seen lost in the memories of bygone days. Talking to The Tribune, the elder grandson of Baba Bilga, Amanbir Singh Sanghera, said, “Despite his fragile health he remained active till his last breath. For us he was an encyclopedia, a great knowledge hub. Even to this date he could speak for hours with logical conclusions.”

Sharing some sweet memories, he said Baba ji was an instant starter. He was a quick decision maker and never pondered over an issue for long. “As a young boy I visited India in 1988 during my vacations and stayed here at DBYH with Baba ji for a long time. One day Baba ji asked me, do you want to see India? And I agreed with a nod. Within no time he packed his bag and took me to the local bus stand from where we reached Kashmir.”

“Throughout the journey Baba ji met scores of Kashmiris and took interest in their local issues. And he never complained of fatigue or tiredness during the journey. He was an apt example of Never say die attitude,” he added.

Rajbir Singh, the younger son of Baba Bilga, maintained that it was his optimistic zeal towards life which made him an iron man. “Even some days before his death he was busy dictating instances from history which he wanted to compile in the form of a book titled History of Bilga. He had an amazingly sharp memory and could narrate minute details of the Ghadar party and freedom struggle. Though the book has been left midway but we will complete it soon,” he said.

He added that Baba Bilga never preached anything to the masses. He had a methodological approach towards life and loved to discuss issues concerning India. “Recently we recorded the voice of Baba Bilga in eight cassettes, which would be digitised soon and available in the form of cassettes,” said Rajbir.

In fact, Chandana Anand, an American citizen, took away the cassettes and is presently working upon the digitisation of those CDs. Another close associate of Baba Bilga, Tari, a UK citizen and a member of the Indian Workers Association, said, “His demise has created a vacuum which can never be filled. He was the voice of the masses and always expressed concern for the downtrodden.”

Among his contemporaries was Jagjeet Singh Lyallpuri, a fellow comrade of Baba Bilga, who had met Baba Bilga for the last time on May 7 in the UK. “When I met him for the last time he shook hand with me and said, “Hun safar da ant hai” (It is the end of my journey). And he died on May 22,” he added.

At Bilga village people jostled to have a glimpse of Baba Bilga for the last time. Despite scorching heat, the villagers stood in the streets to pay last respects to Baba Bilga. It was a tearful adieu to the revolutionary Ghadarite. Even when the cremation began members of trade unions kept shouting slogans reflecting the ideology of Baba Bilga.

Kartaro, an elderly woman from Bilga village, said, “He was a great loyalist of the Ghadar Party and remained true to his soul. The so-called politicians of the present times who leave their party for the sake of money should learn something from Baba Bilga. We are proud to be a resident of this glorious 
village,” she added. 

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