Bhagat Singh – India (1907 – 1931)

Linked with Bhagat Singh and the Revolutionary Movement, and with Why I am an Atheist?

March 23 is the death anniversary of one of the most heroic figures of the Indian freedom movement. Few people remembered it, though. Forget the rest of India, even the children of the village where he was born, do not know anything about him. And to think that the young man in question, Bhagat Singh, gave up his life for the ideal of a free and better India! Today, over 50 years after Independence, the people of his village still do not have access to drinking water and a tap, writes The Indian Express newspaper. (Read more on pitara.com, March 2001).

He stated: “I am not a terrorist and I never was, except perhaps in the beginning of my revolutionary career. And I am convinced that we cannot gain anything through these methods. One can easily judge it from the history of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. All our activities were directed towards an aim, i.e., identifying ourselves with the great movement as its military wing. If anybody has misunderstood me, let him amend his ideas … “. (See on revolutionary democracy).

Bhagat Singt - India (1907 - 1931) two.jpg

Bhagat Singh – Indian Freedom Fighter (1907 – 1931).

… While in jail, Bhagat Singh and other prisoners launched a hunger strike advocating for the rights of prisoners and undertrials. The reasons for the strike was that British murderers and thieves were treated better than Indian political prisoners, who, by law, were meant to be given better rights.

Their aims in their strike was to ensure a decent standard of food for political prisoners, the availability of books and a daily newspaper, as well as better clothing and the supply of toilet necessities and other hygienic necessities. He also demanded that political prisoners should not be forced to do any labour or undignified work. During this hunger strike that lasted 63 days and ended with the British succumbing to his wishes, he gained much popularity among the common Indians. Before the strike his popularity was limited mainly to the Punjab region. (See the huge article about him on wikipedia).

Born as Bhaganwala on the 26th September, 1907, Bhagat Singh grew up in a petty-bourgeois family of Sandhu Jats settled in the Jullunder Doab district of the Punjab. He belonged to a generation that was to intervene between two decisive phases of the Indian national movement – the phase of the ‘Extremism’ of Lal-Bal-Pal and the Gandhian phase of non-violent mass action. In the first decade of the 20th century, the Punjab had a broad spectrum of popular leaders working in the state. Two such leaders were Sardar Ajit Singh and Sardar Kishen Singh, Bhagat Singh’s paternal uncle and father. Interestingly, although middle class, both leaders were in great opposition to the mainstream leadership of the Indian National Congress and particularly Lala Lajpat Rai. Both brothers were consistently radical in attempting to mobilise the masses to oppose the British at every opportunity that arose.(See the rest on Revolutionary Democracy).

The Jalianwala Bagh Massacre: Young Bhagat Singh was brought up in a politically charged state of Punjab which was left with a seething memory of the Jalianwala massacre of more than 400 innocent lives and thousands injured (1919). As a lad of fourteen he went to this spot to collect soil from the park of Jalianwala (bagh) in his lunch box, sanctified by the blood of the innocent and kept it as a memento for life. (See all on kamat.com).

Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh was a revolutionary and martyr, born on 27 September 1907 at the village of Banga, Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan) the second son of Kishan Singh and Vidya Vati. Bhagat Singh was imbued from childhood with the family’s spirit of patriotism. At the time of his birth, his father was in jail for his connection with the Canal Colonization Bill agitation, in which his brother, Ajit Singh (Bhagat Singh’s uncle), took a leading part. Through his father, who was a sympathizer and supporter of the Ghadr campaign of 1914-15, Bhagat Singh became an admirer of the leaders of the movement. The execution of Kartar Singh Sarabha made a deep impression on the mind of the young man who vowed to dedicate his life to the country. (see more on Sikh History).

Bhagat Singh’s political thought evolved gradually from Gandhian nationalism to revolutionary Marxism. By the end of 1928, he and his comrades renamed their organization the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. He had read the teachings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin and believed that, with such a large and diverse population, India could only survive properly under a socialist regime. These ideals had been introduced to him during his time at the National College at Lahore and he believed that India should re-enact the Russian revolution. In the case that India were not socialist, he believed that the rich would only get richer and the poor would only get poorer. This, and his aggressive stance of violence, put him at odds with Gandhi and members of the Congress. He became the first socialist leader in India to make any gain. Even today, socialist leaders sometimes refer back to him as the founder of Indian socialism. While in a condemned cell in 1931, he wrote a pamphlet entitled Why I am an Atheist in which he discusses and advocates the philosophy of atheism. This pamphlet was a result of some criticism by fellow revolutionaries on his failure to acknowledge religion and God while in a condemned cell, the accusation of vanity was also dealt with in this pamphlet. He supported his own beliefs and claimed that he used to be a firm believer in The Almighty, but could not bring himself to believe the myths and beliefs that others held close to their hearts. In this pamphlet, he acknowledged the fact that religion made death easier, but also said that unproved philosophy is a sign of human weakness. (See the huge article on wikipedia).

Go to the Bhagat Singh Internet Archive.

NEW DELHI: A powerful figure in the freedom struggle and arguably one of the youngest and most charismatic revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh is all set to become “stronger”. To give him a fitting tribute during his birth centenary year in 2007, a group of intellectuals have proposed to set up a Bhagat Singh Chair at Jawaharlal Nehru University here. (See all on The Hindu, Dec. 22, 2006).

Next half of the yatra was Khatkat Kalan, native village of Bhagat Singh where he offered tribute to martyr Bhagat Singh at museum. Punjab CM`s Vikas Yatra receives tremendous response. (Read all on ZEENEWS.com).
links:

Shahidbhagatsingh.org;

IMDb.

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