Chandigarh Airport To Be Named After Bhagat Singh, Says PM Modi: Here's Why It's Significant

Ahead of Bhagat Singh's birth anniversary on September 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the opportunity to pay tributes to the revolutionary in this Sunday's Mann Ki Baat session.

PM Narendra Modi

In a nod to the freedom fighter and political philosopher Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday the soon to be launched Chandigarh airport will now be named after the revolutionary as a  mark of tribute.

The announcement was made during Modi's monthly Sunday radio address 'Mann Ki Baat'. Referring to Singh'supcoming birth anniversary on September 28, Modi said that an important day of 'Amrit Mahotsav' is coming.

"Just before his birth anniversary, as a tribute, an important decision has been taken, it has been decided that the Chandigarh airport will now be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh," Modi said. 

In the same address, Modi also paid tribute BJP ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, saying he was a profound thinker and a great son of the country.

Bhagat Singh's legacy

While the PM pays homage to Bhagat Singh every year on his birth and death anniversary, the naming of the airport comes among a series of attempts by the BJP to appropriate Singh's legacy for political traction. In 2013, then the PM candidate Modi raised eyebrows when he agreed to release a book based on Singh's prison diary. While being a testament to Singh's anti-colonial struggle as a revolutionary, the book is also a reflection of Singh's deeply Leftist philosophies and rejection of capitalism and organized religion. In the book, Singh quotes heavily from Marx, Trostky, Lenin and other Leftist leaders' works. 

Modi's Mann Ki Baat announcement also gains in significance coming in the background of an increasingly sharp tussle between both the ruling Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP to claim the legacy of Bhagat Singh. When Bhagwant Mann became the Chief Minister, he chose to take the oath in Bhagat Singh's native village in Punjab. Soon after, in March, the BJP announced that it will be hosting over 300 events across Punjab to observe the martyrdom of Singh on March 23.

Climate change and cheetahs

As part of the radio broadcast, Modi also stressed that climate change is a major threat to marine ecosystems and that the litter on beaches is disturbing.

"It becomes our responsibility to make serious and continuous efforts to tackle these challenges," he said.

In the broadcast, Modi paid tributes to BJP ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, saying he was a profound thinker and a great son of the country.

Modi also said that 130 crore Indians were filled with pride over the return of cheetahs. He said a task force will monitor them and on the basis of that it will be decided when people can see them.

(With inputs from PTI)