Hamirpur, January 22
Talk of courage and simplicity in and around Kahrota village in Hamirpur and people recall Lala Bhagat Ram ‘Kahrota’, a freedom fighter. He was born in Kahrota village of Bhoranj subdivision in Hamirpur district on December 22, 1914. His father Rawaloo Ram was a trader and mother Sangru Devi a spiritual woman.
Bhagat Ram studied at Mundkhar Government School till Class VI and later went to Bhoranj Government High School. He experienced a turning point in his life when he observed resentment against a British officer, who visited Bhoranj. While studying in Class VIII in 1930, he attended a Congress rally at Nadaun and was arrested while reciting a poem against the British and jailed in Dharamsala in Kangra district during the trial. He was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and he spent time in the jails of Gurdaspur, Ferozepur and finally in Lahore. He was in the Lahore jail when Bhagat Singh was hanged in March 1931.
His grandson Atul Kahrota says that Lala Bhagat Ram used to narrate his experiences with British officers. He used to say that it was a frightful night at the Bostol jail when Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev were hanged to death. Everyone was conscious about the movement of jail guards.
During his active participation in the freedom movement, he kept motivating people against the British in Kangra district along with Comrade Paras Ram, Gopal Dass, Ami Chand, Saligram, Pandit Bhagat Ram, Lala Hemraj sood, Sarla Sharma, Thakur Hazara Singh, and Lala Nagaia Mal.
Lala Bhagat Ram also participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942. After India got freedom, he started participating in the Praja Mandal Movement at Kehloor (Bilaspur), Suket and Mandi estates. He was injured in a lathi-charge at the Sandoo maidan in Bilaspur while addressing a meeting of the Praja Mandal.
His entry along with of his family was restricted in Kehloor, Suket and Mandi states and all properties in these states were confiscated by the rulers. After India attained freedom, he joined Acharya Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan Movement for land reforms and worked for it for a few years. Lala Bhagat Ram remained active in politics till he breathed his last at the age of 85 on December 12, 1999. He remained the president of the District Congress Committee and a delegate of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee.
Kranti Kumar, son of Lala Bhagat Ram, says various governments vowed to build a memorial to the freedom fighters, but nothing was done. There was a proposal to rename the local school after Lala Bhagat Ram, but to no avail. Announcements were also made to provide at least one government job to the kin of freedom fighters, but it had remained only on paper.
Lala Bhagat Ram is survived by four sons — Kranti Kumar, Karam Chand Katna, Madan Lal and Desh Raj — and three daughters Vidhya Devi, Rajan Devi and Bimla Devi.
- Freedom fighter Lala Bhagat Ram’s son Kranti Kumar says governments vowed to make a memorial to freedom fighters, but nothing has been done.
- There was a proposal to rename a school after Lala Bhagat Ram, but to no avail.
- Announcement of government jobs for kin of revolutionaries have not materialised.