The Biography of Famous Personalities of India will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of.
Bhagat Singh’s Last Message, Ideology and Legacy
The Last Message
Every tiny molecule of Ash is in motion with my heat, I am such a Lunatic that I am Free even in Jail.
Bhagat Singh, a brave and selfless soldier of Indian independence, never wanted any kind of remission in his own death sentence. Nor did his comrades. That is why they did not even participate in the fake trial and never put up any legal defence or mercy petition for themselves. Desire to offer their life on the altar of Indian independence was the driving force behind their death-defying actions.
It is because of his martyrdom that his life and thought became the source of inspiration and a symbol of beacon light for millions of our countrymen. He not only wanted freedom for the country but also worked for a new social order in which all its members could live in peace, free from all discrimination and deprivation. It was a clarion call for a socialist society.
It is to be noted that Bhagat Singh did not put up any legal defence in the course of his trial. When questioned about it, he unequivocally stated that his aim of human liberation could be achieved by his martyrdom. It would also inspire other people to fight more vigourously for the freedom of the country.
When, asked about his message to his countrymen, just before he was being taken to the gallows, Bhagat Singh said that his last message and testament is inherent in his two clarion calls-Death to Imperialism and Hail the Revolution.
In the same vein, when asked about his last wish, he said that he would like to be born in this very land so that he could serve it once again in his next life. In response to the request for offering his prayer to God before he was to be taken to the gallows, he said that he had never offered religious prayer in his entire life. So if he asked to be forgiven now, then God might consider him to be a coward and a fearful person.
It was during these last moments of his life that he delivered a stirring speech in which he said:
‘Our people are the real revolutionary force in the country. But our upper class leaders could not take them along with themselves. They had neither the will nor the courage for that. Hence let us put an end to our little interests. Let us not aspire for little pleasure and move forward with courage and determination. We have to move forward inch by inch. Let no obstacles come in the way to your final destination. Let no acts of failure or betrayals deter you from your heart cherished goal. Success could be achieved only through suffering and sacrifices. This is how the ultimate goal of revolution would be achieved.’
In his own characteristic way, while referring to his impending martyrdom, he added:
‘This is the highest award for my patriotism for the love of my country. I feel proud of the fact that I am the person chosen for such highest award. If the British think that they could feel secure in this country after destroying my body, they would be proved wrong by history. They could kill me, but they could never destroy my ideas. They could easily trample over my body but they could never succeed in killing my feelings and thoughts. My thought would continue to work as a haunting curse, till they are forced to leave this country.’
He further added: ‘For the British, Martyred Bhagat Singh would be more dangerous than the living one. My revolutionary ideas would grip the youth and put a new consciousness of freedom in them. I am waiting for the day when my services to the country and my love for the people would be widely recognized and respected. That would be the highest award for me. My ideas would never perish.’
Ideology and Legacy
It is easy to kill individuals but you can not kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived.
From a very young age patriotism had taken its seed in Bhagat Singh’s conscience. He grew up to appreciate nationalism and crave a British-free independent India. Extensive reading of European literature propelled him towards forming a socialist outlook strongly desiring a democratic future for his beloved country.
Although born a Sikh, Bhagat Singh veered towards Atheism after witnessing several Hindu-Muslim riots and other religious outbreaks.
He believed that something as precious as Independence can only be achieved by a thorough cleansing of the exploitative nature of imperialism. He opined that such change can only be brought forward by means of an armed revolution, in similar lines to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. He introduced the slogan “Inquilab Zindabad” which sort of transformed into the war cry of the Indian Independence movement.
Being hungry for more action, more fruitful action, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad and other revolutionaries established, after the prolonged deliberations made on 9th and 10th September, 1928, in the midst of the living ruins of the historic Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi, the HSRA (Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (Army). This HSRA does not only indicate the growth of Bhagat Singh’s stature as a leader but also indicates his revolutionary progress to military atheism via Marxian socialism.
They killed Saunders because “the death of the great Punjabi leader Lala Lajpat Rai was seen by the youthful leadership of the HSRA as a direct challenge”. In a poster, put up by the HSRA after the assassination, they justified the assassination of Saunders:
The murder of a leader respected by millions of people at the unworthy hands of an ordinary police official….. was an insult to the nation. It was the bounden duty of young men of India to efface it.
………… We regret to have had to kill a person but he was part and parcel of what inhuman and unjust order which has to be destroyed.
Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt bombed the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi to protest implementation of the Public Safety Bill. The bombs they carried allegedly were not intended to kill but to scare as no one was killed, though there were some injuries. The bombers planned to get arrested and stand trial so they could further promote their cause.
The actions of the young revolutionaries were soundly condemned by followers of Gandhi, but Bhagat Singh was delighted to have a stage on which to promote his cause. He offered no defense during the trial but disrupted the proceedings with rants of political dogma.
Bhagat Singh, his intense patriotism coupled with cultivated idealism, made him an ideal icon for the youth of his generation. Through his written and vocal admonition of the British Imperial Government, he became the voice of his generation. His vehement departure from the Gandhian non-violent route to Swaraj has often been criticized by many, yet through the fearless embracing of martyrdom he inspired hundreds of teens and youths to join the freedom struggle wholeheartedly.
The next time the British would face so grave a problem and so fierce an enemy would be 10 years later in 1941. There would be a much more developed and well organised army then lead by none other than Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, an ardent supporter and sympathizer of Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.
Subhash Chandra Bose said : “Bhagat Singh had become the symbol of the new awakening among the youths.” Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged that Bhagat Singh’s popularity was leading to a new national awakening, saying : “He was a clean fighter who faced his enemy in the open field …. he was like a spark that became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to the other dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere.
Four years after Bhagat Singh’s hanging, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Sir Horace Williamson, wrote : “His photograph was on sale in every city and township and for a time rivaled in popularity even that of Mr. Gandhi himself.
His eminence in current times is evident from the fact that Bhagat Singh was voted as the Greatest Indian, ahead of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi, in a poll conducted by India Today in 2008.
In Pakistan, after a long-standing demand by activists from the Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation of Pakistan, the Shadman Chowk square in Lahore, where he was hanged, was renamed as Bhagat Singh Chowk.
The inspiration that Bhagat Singh still ignites within the soul of Indians can be felt in the popularity of the films and theatrical adaptations on his life. Several films like “Shaheed” (1965) and “The Legend of Bhagat Singh” (2002) were made on the life of 23-year old revolutionary. Popular songs like “Mohe rang de basanti chola” and “Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna” associated with Bhagat Singh are still relevant in inspiring patriotic emotions in the Indians. Numerous books, articles and papers have been written about his life, ideologies and legacy.