On March 23, 1931, the British colonialist rulers of our country sent the great revolutionaries and patriots, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru to the gallows. The colonialists hoped that by murdering these revolutionaries, they could crush the ideas that were inspiring the workers, peasants, women and youth of our country to take up the path of overthrowing colonial rule and carrying out deep going revolutionary transformations of Indian society. The colonialists failed in this aim. The workers and peasants of India are longing for such a transformation. The vision that inspired countless patriots and martyrs during the anti-colonial struggle continue to inspire workers, peasants, women and youth of our country today.
Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades lived and worked at a time when the people of India were rising up in powerful struggles against the colonial rulers. Two visions of the future of India were clashing in our society. One was the vision of the working class, toiling peasantry and the revolutionary intelligentsia. The other was the vision of the big capitalists and big landlords.
Inspired by the Great Ghadar of 1857, the words and heroic deeds of the Hindustan Ghadar Party, and the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, the revolutionaries were organizing the workers, peasants, women and youth of our country for the thoroughgoing revolutionary transformation of Indian society. They believed in and propagated the truth, that workers, peasants, women and youth of our country could never achieve real freedom, as long as the state and all the institutions set up by the colonialists to rule over the Indian people remained. They defined the strategic aim of the struggle as the complete uprooting of the colonial state and building of a new state, a modern democratic India that would be free from any form of exploitation of persons by persons, and of all forms of oppression of nations and peoples.
The British colonialists unleashed brutal repression on all uncompromising patriots. They rewarded their Indian collaborators with land and industrial licenses, thereby promoting the growth of capitalist and landlord classes. The Indian National Congress, the oldest political party in our country, was formed with the express purpose of preventing a revolutionary uprising against colonial rule. Its formation was part of the project of consolidating colonial rule, by accommodating within it the richest and most influential sections of Indian capitalists and landlords.
The capitalist business houses and big landlords aspired to gain power in their own hands while keeping the toiling majority of people firmly out of power. Being more opposed to social revolution then to imperialist plunder, these beneficiaries of the colonial system were devising ways and means to accommodate their representatives within the colonial state. At the same time, they collaborated with the colonialists in attacking the patriots and revolutionaries, including in sending them to the gallows. One example of this is the deal struck by the leader of the Indian National Congress, MK Gandhi, with the Viceroy Lord Irwin in March 1931. This included a secret agreement to hang Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru before the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress began on March 26, 1931.
The struggle within the anti-colonial movement, between the line of irreconcilable opposition to imperialism, and the line of seeking accommodation within the imperialist system, continued in the decades of the thirties and forties.
In 1947, the British colonialists, after negotiating separately with the Congress and Muslim league, organised the division of India on a communal basis, and the transfer of power into the hands of the classes they had groomed. Sovereignty was transferred from Britain to the two ruling cliques of India and Pakistan. For the big capitalists and big landlords of India this was a victory, because their aim of achieving political independence without social revolution was realized. The transfer of power preserved the colonial institutions and system of oppression and plunder without the colonialists.
For the toiling masses of our country, this was a major betrayal. The aim of making a clean and complete break with the colonial legacy was trampled in the mud.
The Indian bourgeoisie and its political parties claim that the aim for which the revolutionaries and true patriots fought was achieved in 1947. Those who collaborated with the colonialists in crushing the ceaseless revolts of the patriots and revolutionaries against British Rule, those who collaborated with the British in sending thousands of revolutionaries to the gallows, are trying to make the working class, peasantry, women and youth forget the true aim of this struggle.
All the revolutionaries declared: “Our struggle will continue as long as a handful of men, be they foreign or native, or both in collaboration with each other, continue to exploit the labour and resources of our people. Nothing shall deter us from this path.”
Seventy five years after the end of colonial rule, the labour and resources of our people are still being exploited and plundered by native and foreign capitalists. Colonial rule has been replaced by the rule by the bourgeoisie which savagely exploits the toiling majority in collaboration with the US and other imperialists, in order to enrich itself at the fastest possible pace and sit on the high table with other imperialist powers.
Indian society is crying out for deepgoing social transformation. The exploitative and oppressive capitalist economic and political system needs to be replaced by a new system in which the working class will take over the principal means of production from the hands of the bourgeoisie and place it under social control. The rule of the bourgeoisie must be replaced by the rule of the working class in alliance with the toiling peasantry. Then the economy can be reoriented to ensure prosperity and security for all. The political system must be transformed in order to ensure that sovereignty vests in the people.
Onwards with the struggle for the revolutionary transformation of Indian society!