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Heroes brought freedom to India

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Admin Singh, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    Bhagat Singh was among the prominent revolutionaries who shaped the base of a Grand National movement. He was a revolutionary ahead of his times. He became involved with numerous revolutionary organizations. Following his execution, on March 23, 1931, the supporters and followers of Bhagat Singh regarded him as a "Shaheed", "martyr".
    Bhagat Singh (Sep 27, 1907 - March 23, 1931) gave a new direction to revolutionary movement in India, formed 'Naujavan Bharat Sabha' to spread the message of revolution in Punjab, formed 'Hindustan Samajvadi Prajatantra Sangha' along with Chandrasekhar Azad to establish a republic in India, assassinated police official Saunders to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, dropped bomb in Central Legislative Assembly along with Batukeshwar Dutt.
    By Revolution Bhagat Singh meant that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must change. He studied the European revolutionary movement and was greatly attracted towards socialism. He realized that the overthrow of British rule should be accompanied by the socialist reconstruction of Indian society and for this political power must be seized by the workers.
    Though portrayed as a terrorist by the British, Sardar Bhagat Singh was critical of the individual terrorism which was prevalent among the revolutionary youth of his time and called for mass mobilization. Bhagat differed from his predecessors on two counts. Firstly, he accepted the logic of atheism and publicly proclaimed it. Secondly, until then revolutionaries had no conception of post-independence society. Their immediate goal was destruction of the British Empire and they had no inclination to work out a political alternative.
    Bhagat Singh, because of his interest in studying and his keen sense of history gave revolutionary movement a goal beyond the elimination of the British. A clarity of vision and determination of purpose distinguished Bhagat Singh from other leaders of the National Movement. He emerged as the only alternative to Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, especially for the youth.
    Bhagat Singh was born on Sept 27, 1907 in a Sikh family in village Banga in Layalpur district of Punjab (now in Pakistan) to Sardar Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. Bhagat Singh's family was actively involved in freedom struggle. His grandfather Arjan Singh, father Kishan Singh and uncle Ajit Singh, were all active in the freedom struggle. His father Kishan Singh and uncle Ajit Singh were members of Ghadr Party founded in the US to oust British rule from India. Family atmosphere had a great effect on the mind of young Bhagat Singh and patriotism flowed in his veins from childhood.
    While studying at the local DAV School in Lahore, in 1916, young Bhagat Singh came into contact with some well-known political leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Ras Bihari Bose. Punjab was politically very charged in those days.
    In 1919, when Jalianwala Bagh massacre took place, Bhagat Singh was only 12 years old. The massacre deeply disturbed him. On the next day of massacre Bhagat Singh went to Jalianwala Bagh and collected soil from the spot and kept it as a memento for the rest of his life. The massacre strengthened his resolve to drive British out from India.
    In response to Mahatma Gandhi's call for non-cooperation against British rule in 1921, Bhagat Singh left his school and actively participated in the movement.
    Following the violent incidents of "Chauri Chaura", Gandhi called for the withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation movement. Unhappy with the Gandhiji's decision, Bhagat Singh, isolated himself from Gandhi's non-violent action and joined the Young Revolutionary Movement. And he came to the conclusion that armed revolution was the only practical way of winning freedom.
    To continue his studies, Bhagat Singh joined the National College in Lahore, founded by Lala Lajpat Rai. At this college, which was a centre of revolutionary activities, he came into contact with revolutionaries such as Bhagwati Charan, Sukhdev and others.
    To avoid early marriage, Bhagat Singh ran away from home and went to Kanpur. Here, he came into contact with a revolutionary named Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, and learnt his first lessons as revolutionary.
    On hearing that his grandmother was ill, Bhagat Singh returned home. He continued his revolutionary activities from his village. He established contact with the members of the Kirti Kisan Party and started contributing regularly to its magazine, the "Kirti". In March 1926, the Naujawan Bharat Sabha was formed with Bhagat Singh, as its secretary. He started spreading the message of revolution in Punjab.
    In 1928 he attended a meeting of revolutionaries in Delhi and came into contact with Chandrasekhar Azad. The two formed 'Hindustan Samajvadi Prajatantra Sangha'. Its aim was to establish a republic in India by means of an armed revolution.
    In 1928, a committee from England, called Simon Commission visited India. The purpose of its visit was to decide how much freedom and responsibility could be given to the people of India. But there was no Indian on the committee. This angered Indians and they decided to boycott Simon Commission.
    An all-parties procession, led by Lala Lajpat Rai, marched towards the Lahore railway station to protest against the arrival of the Simon Commission. While protesting against Simon Commission in Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai was brutally lathicharged and later on succumbed to injuries.
    As an avenge to the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh and his associates plotted the assassination of Scott, the SP, believed to have ordered the lathicharge. The revolutionaries, mistaking JP Saunders, an Assistant SP, as Scott, killed him instead. Bhagat Singh quickly left Lahore to escape his arrest. To avoid recognition, he shaved his beard and cut his hair, a violation of the sacred tenets of Sikhism.
    Instead of finding the root cause of discontent of Indians, the British government took to more repressive measures. Under the Defense of India Act, it gave more power to the police to arrest persons and to stop processions with suspicious movements and actions. The Act brought in the Central Legislative Assembly was defeated by one vote. Even then it was to be passed in the form of an ordinance in the "interest of the public."
    Bhagat Singh who was in hiding all this while, volunteered to throw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly where the meeting to pass the ordinance was being held. It was a carefully laid out plot, not to cause death or injury but to draw the attention of the government, that the modes of its suppression could no more be tolerated. It was decided that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt would court arrest after throwing the bomb.
    On April 8, 1929 Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the Central Assembly Hall while the Assembly was in session and shouted 'Inquilab Zindabad!' The bombs did not hurt anyone. After throwing the bombs, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, deliberately courted arrest by refusing to run away from the scene.
    During his trial, Bhagat Singh refused to employ any defence counsel. Singh admitted to the murder and made statements against the British rule during the trial. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder.
    In jail, he went on hunger strike to protest the inhuman treatment of fellow-political prisoners by jail authorities. On Oct 7, 1930 Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru were awarded death sentence by a special tribunal.
    Despite great popular pressure and numerous appeals by political leaders of India, Bhagat Singh and his associates were hanged in the early hours of March 23, 1931. Their bodies were cremated on the bank of the Sutlej in Ferozepur. Bhagat Singh was just 23 at that time. Old timers say that in many places, not a single hearth fire burned that day.
    The last paragraph of the leaflet that he distributed (and wrote) in the Assembly Hall said: We are sorry that we who attach such great sanctity to human life, we who dream of a very glorious future when man will be enjoying perfect peace and full liberty, have been forced to shed human blood. But sacrifice of individuals at the altar of the revolution will bring freedom to all, rendering exploitation of man by man impossible. Inquilaab Zindaabad (Long live the revolution).
    Bhagat Singh continues to be martyred by the very people of the country whose freedom he fought for. And that is the biggest irony of all.

    by PS Prakash Rao
    Central Chronicle - Madhya Pradesh's News Portal
     
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