The established author, Reginald Massey's new book, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the forgotten Indian martyrs, was released by Mrs Virendra Sandhu (niece of Bhagat Singh), Mrs Vibha Mehdiretta, Second Secretary (Culture), High Commission of India (Deputy Director, The Nehru Centre, London) and Professor Lord Desai of St Clement Danes (well known economist, Labour politician and a celebrated author), who also chaired the event.
Welcoming the guests, Divya Mathur, founder of Vatayan, briefed the audience about Vatayan's activities and dedicated this eventto veteran journalist the Late Joe Nathan, Editor of Confluence, for his abiding commitment, determination and selfless service. Lalit Mohan Joshi, Director, South Asian Cinema Foundation, briefly but effectively introduced Reginald Massey and his new book.
Mrs Virendra Sandhu, who is a renowned author of an authentic biography of her uncle Bhagat Singh and his ancestors, overwhelmed the audience with several anecdotes of Bhagat Singh and his amily. Prof Lord Desai spoke briefly on the book and congratulated Reginald Massey for the timely and informative book on Shaheed Singh.
The second session was presented considerable flair and panache by Chaand Chazelle, filmmaker, actor and author. It consisted of poems commemorating Indian martyrs (in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu) by well known poets - India Russell, Chaman Lal Chaman, Diana Mavroleon, Dr Hilal Fareed, Sathi Ludhianvi, Ila Kumar Ayub Aulia and Jai Verma. A soulful musical rendition of Ram Prasad Bismil’s famous patriotic poem, Sarfaroshi ki tamanna abhamarey dil mei hai, by young and upcoming singer, Uttara Sukanya Joshi, was a high point of the evening and so was the recitation by the 8-year old Neel Doherty.
In her Vote of Thanks, Dr Kusum Pant Joshi, social historian, thanked the Big Lottery Fund for partly funding Vatayan's activities, participating speakers and poets, chief guests and volunteers of Vatayan.