Remembering Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his 111th Birth Anniversary


Considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence, September 28th, marks the Birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh. Born in 1907, into a family in Banga village, Jaranwala Tehsil in the Lyallpur district of the Punjab Province of British Province (Now in Pakistan) inspired thousands of Indians to take up the cause of freedom movement. He is the epitome of freedom and strength. 

Bhagat Singh attended Dayanand Anglo Vedic High School, which was operated by Arya Samaj, In 1919, when he was 12 years old, Singh visited the site of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre hours after thousands of unarmed people gathered at a public meeting had been killed. When he was 14 years old, he was among those in his village who welcomed protesters against the killing of a large number of unarmed people at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib on 20 February 1921. Singh became disillusioned with Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence after he called off the non-co-operation movement. Gandhi's decision followed the violent murders of policemen by villagers who were reacting to the police killing three villagers in the 1922 Chauri Chaura incident. Singh joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began to advocate for the violent overthrow of the British Government in India. In 1923, Singh joined the National College in Lahore, where he also participated in extra-curricular activities like the dramatics society. He began to protest British rule in India while still, a youth and soon fought for national independence. He also worked as a writer and editor in Amritsar for Punjabi- and Urdu-language newspapers espousing Marxist theories. He is credited with popularizing the catchphrase “Inquilab zindabad” 

They may kill me, but they cannot kill my ideas. They can crush my body, but they will not be able to crush my spirit.

In March 1925, inspired by European nationalist movements, the Naujawan Bharat Sabha was formed with Bhagat Singh, as its secretary. Bhagat Singh also joined the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a radical group, which he later rechristened as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) along with fellow revolutionaries Chandrashekhar Azad and Sukhdev. He returned to his home in Lahore after assurances from his parents that he would not be compelled to get married. He established contact with the members of the Kirti Kisan Party and started contributing regularly to its magazine, the "Kirti". As a student, Bhagat Singh was an avid reader and he would read up about European nationalist movements. Inspired by the writings of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, his political ideologies took shape and he became more inclined towards a socialist approach. He also wrote in newspapers like “Veer Arjun” "under several pseudonyms. His Believes were:-

The ultimate goal of Anarchism is complete independence, according to which no one will be obsessed with God or religion, nor will anybody be crazy for money or other worldly desires. There will be no chains on the body or control by the state. This means that they want to eliminate: the Church, God and Religion; the state; Private property.

In response to the formulation of Defence of India Act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb inside the assembly premises, where the ordinance was going to be passed. On April 8 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly, shouted 'Inquilab Zindabad!' and threw pamphlet outlining their missive into the air. The bomb was not meant to kill or injure anyone and therefore it was thrown away from the crowded place, but still several council members were injured in the commotion. Following the blasts both Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt courted arrest. 


Lahore Conspiracy Case & Trial

Lahore Conspiracy Trial started against 28 accused in a special session court presided over by Judge Rai Sahib Pandit Sri Kishen, on July10, 1929. Meanwhile, Singh and his fellow inmates declared an indefinite hunger strike in protest of the prejudiced difference in treatmentcin terms of race and demanded to be recognised as ‘political prisoners’. The hunger strike received tremendous attention from the press and gathered major public support in favour of their demands. Death of Jatindra Nath Das, after 63 days long fast, led to the negative public opinions intensifying towards the authorities. Bhagat Singh finally broke his 116-day fast, on request of his father and Congress leadership, on October 5, 1929.

Owing to the slow pace of the legal proceedings, a special tribunal consisting of Justice J. Coldstream, Justice Agha Hyder and Justice G. C. Hilton was set up on the directives of the Viceroy, Lord Irwin on 1 May 1930. The tribunal was empowered to proceed without the presence of the accused and was a one-sided trial that hardly adhered to the normal legal rights guidelines. 

The tribunal delivered its 300-page judgement on 7 October 1930. It declared that irrefutable proof has been presented confirming the involvement of Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru in the Saunders murder. Singh admitted to the murder and made statements against the British rule during the trial.  They were sentenced to be hanged till death.

Execution

On March 23, 1931, 7:30 am, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore Jail with his comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. It is said that the trio proceeded quite cheerfully towards the gallows while chanting their favourite slogans like “Inquilab Zindabad” and “Down with British Imperialism”. Singh and his peers were cremated at Hussainiwala on the banks of Sutlej River.

LEGACY AND TRIBUTES

On 15 August 2008, an 18-foot tall bronze statue of Singh was installed in the Parliament of India, next to the statues of Indira Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose.[95] A portrait of Singh and Dutt also adorns the walls of the Parliament House.

The Shaheedi Mela (Punjabi: Martyrdom Fair) is an event held annually on 23 March when people pay homage at the National Martyrs Memorial. The day is also observed across the Indian state of Punjab.

The Bhagat Singh Memorial was built in 2009 in Khatkar Kalan at a cost of 168 million (US$2.3 million).

The Supreme Court of India established a museum to display landmarks in the history of India's judicial system, displaying records of some historic trials. The first exhibition that was organised was the Trial of Bhagat Singh, which opened on 28 September 2007, on the centenary celebrations of Singh's birth.

Bhagat singh is not a name. It is more than a name, It is a belief, an idea, an idea which leads to freedom, an idea that gave the word anarchy a new meaning, which says that anarchism stands for liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from shackles and restraint of dictatorship. It stands for social order based on the free grouping of individuals. 
      

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