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    Sajjan Singh Rangroot movie review: Diljit Dosanjh goes to war for his masters

    Sajjan Singh Rangroot movie review: Diljit Dosanjh is the heart of this World War 1 drama.

    What makes a soldier ignore concerns about his life, his family behind and fight wars? The easy answer would be patriotism, the deep love one has for one’s country. However, what if you are not even fighting for your own country but people who dismissively term you slaves and treat you less than human? What drives you then? Diljit Dosanjh’s Sajjan Singh Rangroot could have answered those complex questions – at its heart, it is a brilliant story. Soldiers from pre-Independence India travelled all the way to Europe to fight against Germans and for their masters during World War 1.

    Diljit’s Sajjan Singh is one such soldier but he is neither terrified of his masters, nor in awe of them. He is fighting because he belongs to a race of warriors, the Sikhs, and because somewhere he believes that if they win the ‘Great War’ for the British, his country may be made independent. As his friends fall during the battle, there is a moment of self doubt – “Will the masters respect their blood they are spilling? Will they make Punjab independent?” But other than that rare moment, what you get in the eponymously titled Sajjan Singh Rangroot are war tropes – some existing, others it just made up.

    Martyr’s statues installed atop houses in his native village

    Martyr’s statues installed atop houses in his native village
    A statue of Bhagat Singh erected atop a residence at his ancestral village, Khatkar Kalan in Nawanshahr ahead of his martyrdom day. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

    Deepkamal Kaur

    Tribune News Service

    Khatkar Kalan, March 21An increasing following for Bhagat Singh as the youth icon is evident from the fact that the residents of his ancestral village have started installing his statues atop their houses here.Two houses from this village have got erected nicely painted statues of the martyr and one can see residents passing by these houses bowing before their revered hero as they move ahead to their destinations.Satnam Singh, a farmer whose house falls on the back of the museum at Khatkar Kalan, says, “I got the statue installed last week. I got it made and tastefully painted from an artisan in an adjoining village. I have brought up my children telling them the heroic deeds of Bhagat Singh for the country begin their day. We had his portrait in the living room of our house, too, but my family insisted that we could put up his statue too.”The statue of the freedom fighter atop the house of Bhag Singh is even more depictive. Here he has a pistol in one hand and the Tricolour in the other. Sarpanch Sukhwinder Singh of the village said, “There are about 430 families in the village and all have appreciated the move.”

    BHAGAT SINGH’S MUSEUM ‘Linking youth with martyrdom biggest challenge’

    Aparna Banerji

    Tribune News Service

    Khatkar Kalan, March 22

    As a projector runs an interview of Bhagat Singh’s mother Vidyawati in one of the suave galleries of the newly-built martyrs’ museum at Khatkar Kalan, the museum architect Shikha Jain supervises the setting up of a few exhibits (one carries a horoscope of Bhagat Singh, another carries the belongings – clothes (trousers and a tie), an inkpot, a journal and a stopwatch of Bhagat Singh’s Uncle Ajit Singh) inside the empty glass cases of the museum to prep up the site for the big day tomorrow.With the museum–finally ready to give the public a glimpse of the Bhagat Singh, ahead of a big political event by the Congress near Bhagat Singh’s museum at Khatkar Kalan, a process which has taken nine years to come to fruition – Architect of the 30,000 sq feet space Shikha Jain speaks on her experiences:How did the plan for the museum take off?Lot of land was agricultural land which farmers gave to the government for this space. By the end of 2010 the complete drawing and landscape plan was complete for construction. Since it was initiated the centre so it would come in pockets. It was also decided which agency would execute the plan. It was the government agency. They tried the Mandi Baord but since that didn’t work out, finally Markfed pitched in for the project.Were you roped in by the state government?We were roped in by the Punjab government through an expression of interest. They had called for architects and museum designers and we had 40 plus projects on our hands already and the expertise to deal with such a sensitive project.How big was the challenge to envision an entirely empty space on the life and struggle of Bhagat Singh?The biggest challenge in envisioning the museum was that Bhagat Singh is a national legend. To do a museum on him, different sensibilities would have to be factored in. There are different communities who have associations with him, Who feel strongly about him. There are family members in Punjab and other people who strongly associate with him. To take a subject, on which everyone has an opinion and to really first look at historical actual life – what are the evidences available – that was the initial challenge. Since there was there is hardly any actual evidence and information available on him at one place.So you had little to begin with?To begin with we only had a few artefacts. His janampatri (horoscope), a few artificats – total 10 to 15 artifacts were the original ones which were in the initial museum. Rest of the family history is all in the texts. So we contacted all his family members, especially his nephew Prof. Jagmohan who has done a lot of research. We even did interviews of his mother’s driver and talked to him in the village.Whatever evidence we could find was gleaned in. Prof Malwinder Singh Waraich – and his publisher Harish Jain were also of great help. The actual collection had to be recreated from all these sources. With these – we recreated the actual strory line of his life from his birth to his execution.Was it tricky to work with only 10 to 15 artefacts in such a huge museum space?The museum space is 30,000 sq feet–it took us a total of one year to come up with the idea. We had a team of historians and curators. Things had to be curated and resourced time and again. Because sometimes his family members would not come. Then the construction of the building had to be very meticulous as per exhibits. We had to get even the gallery names checked by the historians. A committee was formed for this job. Representatives from the Supreme Court and the National Archives and people like Prof Chaman Lal, Harish Sharma, Malwinder Singh Waraich, Harish Jain and representatives of the Kuka Movement were all on panel.The next challenge was creating panels for the museum. Sorting out pictures and writings and deciding which ones to include. We sorted these out through various departments so it did take some time.Is any work left to be done?Even now we need to conserve some of the items properly – a conservator needs to work on it. We shall have in house curators and conservators at the museum. On the first floor there is a conservation lab. The museum is built as per international standards. There is a ramp going up to a conservation lab. There is strorage space as well. With time it will work as an international conservation and research space for Bhagat Singh. We have fixed displays and there is also a temporary gallery – any researchers can put up temporary exhibits there in the future. Additionally, an auditorium will show documentaries of Bhagat Singh and the freedom fighters.Is the process of acquiring artefacts and documents associated with Bhagat Singh complete?We are simultaneously also outlining the potential sources for future exhibitions and anyone with valuable contributions shall be welcome.So were you inspired by the persona of Bhagat Singh along the way?Definitely, it was very inspiring. Bhagat Singh is a national legend and brave soul it was a great blessing for country to have a figure like that. We were clear the museum should send out two messages clearly– it should inspire the youth of India –especially when we were working on panels. Youth and martyrdom were two main themes we wanted to focus on.What was the greatest difficulty you faced along the way?The managing of funds. The money was planned as per 2010 estimates but we fell short of that by 2018 with inflation and escalating costs. Landscaping work worth Rs 7 crore is still left. However, we had to make do with the original budget pan and we are glad things have worked out.The museum concentrates on Bhagat Singh alone and not Rajguru and Sukhdev. Was that a conscious decision?It was a policy decision. Because this is his ancestral home. The previous museum was only on Bhagat Singh hand the whole place and funding was clearly for Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s museum, so we decided to concentrate on him.However, there are three images as well as spaces reserved for Rajguru and Sukhdev as well in the execution gallery.

    MARTYRDOM DAY OF BHAGAT SINGH, SUKHDEV AND RAJGURU Museum to be dedicated to nation today

    Tribune News Service

    Khatkar Kalan, March 22

    Capt Amarinder Singh will formally dedicate the newly-constructed Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Museum and Memorial to the nation at the martyr’s ancestral village Khatkar Kalan on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on Friday.Union Minister of State for Cultural Affairs Dr Mahesh Sharma will also be present at the function.It has also been decided that from tomorrow, the day will also be celebrated as Youth Empowerment Day in Punjab. The Punjab CM intends to initiate a crusade against drug abuse by launching Drug Abuse Prevention Officer, a campaign at the state-level by administering pledge to all participants on this day.Now, for the entry to the newly-built museum and memorial has been shifted from the main Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway to Khatkar Kalan village road where beautiful greenery welcomes the visitors. Director Cultural and Tourism Affairs Shivdular Singh Dhillon said Rs 18 crore had been spent on the construction of the museum and memorial. He claimed that the department would take concrete steps for the expansion of the museum.On this occasion, CM’s Political Secretary Capt Sandeep Sandhu and Special Principal Secretary Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar, SSP Satinder Singh, Dr Harpreet Kainth and others visited the museum. A programme will be shown on video conferencing in all districts.

    Floral tributes paid to 5 Kupwara martyrs

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, March 22

    The Army and J&K Police paid floral tributes to the five security personnel killed in a fierce gunfight in the frontier Kupwara district on Wednesday.The Army held a solemn ceremony at Badamibagh cantonment, where Lt Gen AK Bhatt, Chinar Corps Commander, and all ranks paid homage to the three soldiers killed in the gunfight on behalf of the nation. “In a show of solidarity, representatives from other security agencies also joined in paying their last respects to the martyrs,” Srinagar-based defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said.Havildar Jorabar Singh, Naik Ranjeet Khalkho and Naik Mohammad Ashraf Rather were killed in an anti-militancy operation in Halmatpora, Kupwara .Jorabar Singh, 45, had joined the Army in 1993 and hailed from Rait village in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. He is survived by his wife and three children.Ranjeet Khalkho, 33, hailed from Dudhakhuti village in Ranchi, Jharkhand, and had joined the Army in 2001. He is survived by his parents, a brother and three sisters.Mohommad Ashraf Rather, 35, had joined the Army in 2004. He belonged to Reshigund village of Kralpora in Kupwara, Kashmir, and is survived by his wife and a daughter.Floral tributes were also paid to the two policemen — Senior Grade Constable Deepak Thusoo of Nagrota and Special Police Officer Mohammad Yousuf of Kachhama in Kupwara — killed in the Kupwara gunfight.Member of Parliament Fayaz Ahmad Mir led the police and security forces personnel in paying tributes to the two slain policemen in Kupwara. In Srinagar, Inspector General of Police Swayam Prakash Pani led the police and security forces officers in the wreath-laying ceremony for the two policemen.Deepak Thusoo is survived by his aged parents, wife, 12-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter and an unmarried sister, a police spokesman said.Mohammad Yousuf is survived by his aged parents, three sons and two minor daughters, the youngest being five years old.

    Capable enough to take on Chinese forces: IAF Chief

    Nikhil Bhardwaj

    Tribune News Service

    Ludhiana, March 22

    Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa on Thursday said the Indian Air Force is capable enough to take on Chinese forces and is fully prepared to meet any challenges. Accompanying President Ram Nath Kovind at the President’s Standard and Colours ceremony at Halwara Air Force Station here, the IAF Chief said the present fleet of aircraft is more than adequate to handle any eventuality and the process is underway for the induction of new ones.  He said the plans were afoot to add more squadrons, adding that 40 new Rafale jets would also be added in the fleet of Air Force soon.On a query whether China’s newly inducted J20 stealth fighters will impact our combat capabilities as these can dodge radars, Dhanoa replied that J20s can be picked up easily by 230 SU from several kilometers against the held belief. On inadequate allocation of budget for the Air Force, the Air Marshal said the concerns had already been conveyed to the government. Speaking on the government’s policy of allowing the Air Force base for civil flights, Dhanoa said already many IAF bases were being used for the same and adequate security arrangements were in place for Air Force stations to be safe. Meanwhile, the President awarded the President’s Standard to Group Captain Satish S Pawar, Commanding Officer of 51 Squadron, and the Presidential Colours to Group Captain SK Tripathi, Station Commander of 230 Signal Unit.In his address, Kovind said: “Indian forces are committed to protecting the sovereignty of the nation. IAF has a valuable contribution to the history of the country… 51 Squadron and the 230 Signal Units have a rich history of professional excellence and served the country with honour and distinction, during peace and hostilities.” 

    Education fee cap for martyrs’ children goes

    Education fee cap for martyrs’ children goes

    New Delhi, March 22

    The government has removed the cap it had imposed last year on educational expenses paid to children of martyrs or those disabled in military action.In July 2017, the educational expenses paid to such children were capped at Rs 10,000 per month, impacting some 3,200 students studying in schools, colleges and professional institutions. The fee in professional colleges is about Rs 10 lakh per annum and there was no way for the affected students to pay up after the cap. The scheme applies equally to children of officers and jawans. The move resulted in a meager saving of less than Rs 4 crore per annum. The Tribune was the first to report on the  decision, following which the Ministry of Defence agreed to review the matter and referred it to the Ministry of Finance. The scheme was announced on December 18, 1971. — TNS

    Pak-based D-company has diversified, US lawmakers told

    Pak-based D-company has diversified, US lawmakers told
    Dawood Ibrahim

    Washington, March 23

    Pakistan-based Dawood Ibrahim-led terrorist group D-company has diversified in many other fields and built a powerful transnational crime-terror organisation in part from drug proceeds, US lawmakers were told on Friday.

    Indian underworld don Dawood, wanted in India for a number of terrorist attacks, is now based in Karachi, according to the US and Indian officials. However, Pakistan has denied his presence in the country.

    “Pakistan-based crime-terror group D-company, whose origins lie in India, expanded Karachi’s historic role as a drug transhipment point, and built a powerful transnational crime-terror organisation in part from drug proceeds,” Dr Louise Shelley, Professor at Schar School of Policy and Government at the George Mason University told lawmakers.

    Shelley claimed that the D-company has diversified.

    “D-company, like Mexican drug organisations, has diversified. They traffic weapons, counterfeit DVDs and provide financial services through their extensive system of hawala operators,” he said during a Congressional hearing organised by the Committee on House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance.

    India’s sustained campaign against Dawood was finally acknowledged by America in 2003 when the US declared him a global terrorist having links with al-Qaeda. He also faces sanctions from the UN under its anti-terror resolution.

    Vindicating India’s position that Pakistan has been sheltering Dawood, the US had said that he was in Karachi and possessed a Pakistani passport under the individual category.

    Testifying before the same Congressional sub-committee, Celina B Realuyo, Professor of Practice, William J Perry Centre for Hemispheric Defence Studies, National Defence University, said a number of recent attacks in Kabul were planned and launched from safe havens in Pakistan.

    The year 2018 has already witnessed many deadly attacks.

    On January 20, at least 22 persons, including four Americans, were killed during a 12-hour standoff with security forces after gunmen dressed as Army men raided a hotel in Kabul, frequented by many foreigners, he said.

    On January 27, an attacker detonated explosives in an ambulance in Kabul, killing over 100 people and injuring some 158, according to Afghan officials.

    Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid claimed responsibility for the attack, one week after the attack on the Kabul hotel attack, Realuyo added.

    In June last year during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, India and the US, in a joint statement after talks between Modi and President Donald Trump, vowed to strengthen cooperation against terror outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and D-Company. PTI

    Indian Army paratrooper plunges to death as parachute fails to open

    Indian Army paratrooper plunges to death as parachute fails to open
    Photo for representational purpose only. Thinkstock/Getty Images

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, March 23

    An Indian Army paratrooper, Lance Sunil Naik, died in an accident while taking part in a training mission on Friday at Agra.His parachute did not open after he jumped out of a special operations plane on a training mission from an altitude of 6,000 feet.He reportedly died on the spot.

    Chinese have finally arrived: Army chief General Bipin Rawat lauds neighbour`s military might

    Chinese have finally arrived: Army chief General Bipin Rawat lauds neighbour's military might

    They did not forget that military power should rise simultaneously with economy, said General Bipin Rawat.

    Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday acknowledged the military might of China, saying “Chinese have finally arrived”. During a media interaction, the Army chief pointed that China ensured rise of its military power along with its economic prowess.
    “Chinese have finally arrived. I can say that. They did not forget that military power should rise simultaneously with economy,” said General Rawat. He further acknowledged that China stands “strong today in the world order, challenging the might of the US”.
    According to the Army chief, counties across the world have started looking up to India after the rise of China. He said, “As China has risen, countries have started looking up to India to see whether we can also become a nation that can balance the rise of China.”

    It was because of China’s assertiveness that the focus of the international community shifted towards the Indo-Pacific region, said General Rawat.

    This comes days after the Army chief blamed Pakistan and China for influx of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. He had said that it is part of a proxy warfare by Pakistan, which is getting support from China with an aim to keep the area disturbed.

    “I think the proxy game is very well played by our western neighbour, supported by our northern border (China) to keep the area disturbed. We will continue to see some migration happening. The solution lies in identifying the problem and holistically looking at it,” he had said

    India and China recently ended about a 70-day long military standoff at the Doklam tri-junction near the Sikkim border which had strained bilateral ties.

    In another reference to China, Rawat had said in August 2017 that China was attempting to ‘change the status quo’ on its border with India and incidents like stand-off in the Doklam area were likely to ‘increase’ in future.


    “The recent stand-off in the Doklam plateau by the Chinese side attempting to change the status quo are issues which we need to be wary about, and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future,” he had said.