Bhagat Singh (September 27, 1907 – March 23, 1931)
“He was a clean fighter who faced his enemy in the open field….He was like a spark which became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to the other dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere”.
- To make the Deaf Hear: Ideology and Programme of Bhagat Singh and his comrades- S .Irfan Habib
While the political parties wait to cash on to the Ayodhya verdict and the govt. tries to clear the mess created by CWG, I decided to pay a tribute to Legendary Bhagat Singh on his 103 birth anniversary. The nation is in grip of one controversy after another and seething with anger over the incompetence of our leadership. In such times my thoughts go to a visionary, a great thinker and revolutionary whose words still
I am a great admirer of Shahid Bhagat Singh and his philosophy. A political thinker who fought not just for freedom from foreign rule but also to bring radical changes in the society in favor of common man . He was just 23 years old when the British Goverment Hanged him along with his two other conmrades TRajguru and Sukhdev.
Bhagat singh was 16 when he joined the Naujawan Hind Sabha (Hindustan Republican Association) , a mass organisation of the youth that worked against the exploits of British colonialism.Later in 1928 he changed the name to The Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. His revolutionary viewpoint was very evident from all his writings. He believed in“no exploitation of man by man and nation by nation” and wanted qualitative changes in the society. He thought that the Gandhian philosophy would only result in the replacement of one set of exploiters by another and somehow I feel that it is proving true in the society we are living in.
He said ,“There is no use of that independence wherein the power will switch over from whites to our own people. The real freedom is that which has justice and governance in the hands of a common man.”
He was a veracious reader and inculcated this habit of reading and thinking among his associates.
Bhagat Singh was intellectually engaged to Marxism and we all know how he had asked the warden who had come to take him to the gallows to wait until he finished what he was reading.
In his short life span he transcendented from a romantic idealist to a true revolutionary. A revolutionary who continues to inspire even now.
Why I am an Atheist is one of the pamphlets He wrote during his stay in jail before execution. Among his many writings this one remains my favorite and a must read for all those who admire him.
The British authorities treated him in the most cruel manner but still they couldn’t crush his spirit.He knew that the struggle for liberation couldn’t be completed without an armed revolution against the imperialist power and by the age of 22 the British were terrorized of him. Punjab was a politically charged state in those days and this provided much inspiration for him.
Bhagat Singh in Jail - Age 22
He was the iconic figure of the the revolutionary nationalist phase of the freedom struggle.
Indian freedom struggle was universally acknowledged as a non-violent movement and because of that these heroes of the revolutionary nationalism and their great contribution against the British Raj remained unsung but it left a great impact on the youth and for us they are the real freedom fighters. I feel it is sad that Bhagat Singh’s birth aniversory is not given national importance or accorded official patronage reserved for national heroes.
The elite who rule the nation today maybe feel uncomfortable about his questioning philosophy about the imperialism and economic exploitation.His choice of violence as a method of resistance or his idealistic heroism for which he is rightly wasn’t as significant as his contribution in trying to formulate a revolutionary philosophy and a course of action, taking into account the travails of colonial subjection, on the one hand and the character of internal exploitation, on the other. The youth was disillusioned by the non violent methods of the Indian National Congress and they groped for an alternative path – the revolutionary path.
Here are some articles I found online and they really impressed me .
Bhagat Singh Internet Archive ( Awesome collection of his works)
A tribute to Bhagat Singh on the occasion of his birth century
Bhagat Singh and the Revolutionary Movement
I think that Bhagat Singh’s vision of a secular India is more relevant in today’s times than it was maybe during his days.
I wonder how many of us remember his birthday and death anniversaries and ponder over the path he showed.
The Hindutva brand of communalism which is plaguing the country today makes us think of what he said in his writings on communal violence.
Calling upon the Indian people to remain steadfast and dauntless in the face of the communal menace, he wrote:
“The Indian people should not lose heart in face of communal riots; instead they should harness all their resources and potentials and exert by all possible means to create a new ethos and climate where recurrence of communal riots becomes impossible.”
[This excerpt is from Bhagat Singh’s article Sampardayik Dange aur Unka Elaj]
Bhagat Singh’s worst fears have now come true, and the future of India appears as bleak at the hands of its political leadership . I hope the youth gets inspired from the philosophy of Shahid Bhagat Singh and wakes up to raise their voices against the evils that rock our nation.
The relevance of Comrade Bhagat Singh’s dreams cannot be ignored in modern day India . Let us not just pay a lip service to him and make make his philosophy of life our own.
On October 7, 1930 Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru were awarded death sentence by a special tribunal. Bhagat Singh was hanged in the early hours on 23rd March, 1931 with fellow revolutionaries Sukhdev and Rajguru.
[Pix courtesy Google images ]