Udham Singh’s ‘Heer’ on display

The original copy of the “Heer”, owned by Shaheed Udham Singh, was put on display at Ghadari Museum of Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall – the torchbearer of the Ghadar movement and its ideologies.

A rare possession, the book has been displayed in a glass box for the public ahead of the 18th Gadhari Mela, beginning on October 29.

jplus2The book, donated by an England-based NRI, has been in the possession of the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Library since 1988.

“It was an honour as well as responsibility for me to hand over this historic book to some conscientious organisation. And there could be nothing better than the Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Hall,” said Sohan Singh Cheema, the man who donated the rare book.

Talking about the discovery of the book from an old trunk at his ancestral house at Cheema Khurd village in Nurmahal, he said, “My father died in 1963. It was during my visit back home from England in 1970 that I found this worn-out book wrapped in a cloth in an old trunk. The book was handed over by Shaheed Udham Singh to my father Babu Karam Singh Cheema days before he died on July 31, 1940.”

Babu Karam Singh was one of the founder members of the Indian Workers Association (IWA) in the UK. It was here that Shaheed Udham Singh gave this book to Karam Singh to keep it with him forever. “I took the book to England and kept it with me for a long time. It was in 1988 that I decided to hand over the book to Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga who had come to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of the IWA in England. Since then the book has been lying with the DBYH library,”he added.

Though Udham Singh wanted to take the oath of “Heer” before his death, he could not do so. “My father tried his best to send this book to Udham Singh in jail but nothing could be done. And after that, the book remained as a prized possession with my father,” said Cheema.

“The book bears the signature of Shaheed Udham Singh on one of its pages. Initially we preferred to keep this book in the archives of the DBYH but after receiving queries from everywhere, we decided to put it on display,” said Gurmeet Singh, convener of cultural affairs, Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Committee.

Kusum Arora, Tribune News Service

Leave a Reply