The relevance of the ideas of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in India today

On occasion of the 106th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Comrade Hanuman Prasad, Vice President of Lok Raj Sanghathan wrote a letter to Mazdoor Ekta Lehar. We are publishing this letter.

73 years after the hanging of Rajguru, Sukhdev and Bhagat Singh on 23 March 1931 by the British Imperialists, and 67 years after the independence of our country from the colonial yoke, the relevance of their ideas and ideals of these revolutionaries are a matter of interest.

Some people even say that to remember the ideas and ideals of these revolutionaries and paying homage to them is like following the ritual that many religious Hindus follow, when they feed their ancestors who are no more, while forgetting  their ideals. Same way various political parties celebrate their anniversary making a show of remembering and paying homage to these martyrs.

I do not consider this as a drama; it is more serious, it is a conspiracy. The inspiration and motivation for liberating his motherland that marked Bhagat Singh did not come  from outside, but from within, from his family and experience. His father Kishan Singh, uncle Ajit Singh and younger uncle Shravan Singh faced torture in British jails and were martyred. His grandfather, although being an Arya Samaji, taught and inculcated social consciousness and a rational approach to life. 

The Jalianwala Bagh massacre on 13 April 1919, massacre of 144 innocent Sikhs in Naankaana Sahib on 21 February 1921 and withdrawal of the non-cooperation movement by Gandhiji following Chori-Chaura incident provoked intense anger across the country. But following the death of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1920 there was nobody in the Congress who could challenge Gandhiji. At that time Bhagat Singh was studying at National College in Lahore. There used to be numerous debates between the professors and revolutionary students on how freedom could be won. Bhagat Singh used to participate in these debates with great enthusiasm. These ideas persuaded Bhagat Singh to abandon his studies and devote himself to the liberation of the motherland.

Bhagat Singh left home and arrived in Kanpur to work with Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi to publish “Pratap” - a revolutionary newspaper. At that time, Kanpur was the center of revolutionaries. Here Bhagat Singh met revolutionaries like BK Dutt, Shiv Verma and Vijay Kumar Sinha, and here began his revolutionary march to its logical conclusion. Writing under various pseudo names for “Pratap”, “Matwala”, “Kirti” on numerous issues, dropping of bombs along with BK Dutt in the Delhi Assembly to bring attention to the Trade Disputes Bill being passed in the Assembly, disseminating leaflets, raising the slogan of Inquilaab Zindabad, and surrendering instead of escaping, elaborating the meaning of Inquilaab in the court of trial, and convinced that revolution is not brought about by bombs and bullets but with the sharp edge of revolutionary thoughts, he declared the aim of revolutionaries as putting an end to imperialist wars for redivision of the world, and creating a society free from any kind of exploitation.  

Bhagat Singh had advanced his thoughts in the direction of socialism much before the Assembly bomb incident in 1924. He formed the Hindostani Republican Association along with his revolutionary comrades, which eventually accepted socialism as the ultimate aim. In 1929 they formed the Hindostan Socialist Republican Association and distributed leaflets in the Lahore Convention of the Congress Party. Until the Calcutta Convention in 1928, Congress was limiting its demand to dominion status under the British crown. The British did not agree with this demand, and the anger was intensifying in the youth. To quell this anger, Congress eventually passed a resolution at the end of the session at mid-night demanding complete independence.

From the experiences of the Ahmedabad Workers’ movement, and the Bardoli Peasants struggles, Gandhiji sensed the power of workers and peasants, and decided to keep them away from the independence struggle. Bhagat Singh understood the strategy of the Congress to safeguard the interest of the Indian feudal and capitalists and its intention of transferring the power based on British model to them, through a compromise between British and Indian capitalists.

In the course of the pact between the Viceroy Lord Irwin and Gandhi on 17 February 1931, many issues were dealt with, but the issue of sending Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to the gallows was ignored. The Congress and Gandhi termed Bhagat Singh and his comrades as terrorists and were looking to striking a deal with the British.

Three days before they were to be hanged Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev wrote a letter to the Governor of Punjab, stating that the special court hearing the Lahore Conspiracy Case had charged them with waging war against King George V, and hence they were prisoners of war. They accepted that they participated in the war and are proud of it. They declared that this war will continue until exploitation of man by man comes to an end. It does not matter whether the exploiters are white British or dark skinned Indians. They further declared that they are prisoners of war and prisoners are not hanged. So the court should order the army to send their battalion to shoot them.

On 24 February 1930, Bhagat Singh sent a telegram to the Third Communist International, which further helps us understand Bhagat Singh’s political convictions. He wrote “On the occasion of Lenin Day we send out heartfelt congratulations to all, on the developments in the Soviet Union. We consider ourselves to be part of the world revolutionary movement. Workers rule will be established, capitalism and imperialism will be destroyed!”.

I would like to ask all those who celebrate the anniversary of our martyrs like rituals, and who distort the life and history of our martyrs, why these facts are not told to the youth of our country. I call this the conspiracy to keep our youth ignorant of our history. They fear that if the youth of our country come to know this history, they will take the path of Bhagat Singh. Today the Indian ruling class is itself emerging as a player among the imperialists, who want to redivide the world; it is an instrument of exploitation of workers around the world. Hence the ideas and ideals of Bhagat Singh are very much relevant in present day India.


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Shaheed Bhagat Singh    Oct 16-31 2014    Struggle for Rights    History   




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