The People’s Hero: Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh

Disturbed to life by the atrocious massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, disillusioned by the national political leaders who recoiled the promising Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922, alarmed by the rising religious divisions and reactionary rhetoric in the mainstream politics, and motivated by the Bolshevik Revolution of workers and peasants of Russia of 1917, Bhagat Singh and his compatriots entered the political scene of India and became the icon of the aspirations of the people of India in no time. Their aim was to bring a revolution that would not only end the colonial British regime but would also lay the foundations of a system that shall combat all forms of injustices. It was for these crimes that Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were hanged by the rulers of British colonialism on 23rd of March, 1931, at Lahore Camp Jail. Bhagat Singh was only 23 years old at the time of his hanging.

The colonial administration made it no secret that their enmity lied more with the ideals of Bhagat Singh rather than Bhagat Singh himself. Justice Medilton, who transported Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt for life in the Assembly Bomb Case, testified to the danger that the ideas of Bhagat Singh posed to the system based on manifest injustice: “These persons would enter the court with the cries of ‘Long Live the Revolution’ and ‘Long Live the Proletariat’ which shows clearly shows what sort of political ideology they cherish. In order to put a check in propagating these ideas, I transport them for life.” One can well imagine that Bhagat Singh must have received the Medilton’s comment with a broad smile. Once, during a court hearing when Bhagat Singh started laughing while chatting with one of his comrades, he ironically replied to inquiry of the Magistrate about the reason behind the amusement: “Dear Magistrate, if you can’t tolerate my laughing at the moment, what will happen to you when I laugh even on the scaffold?”

Bhagat Singh started his political journey when new lines were emerging in the Indian polity. On one hand, the religious jargon was being introduced in the political rhetoric at a mass scale and seculars like Jinnah were getting sidelined. On the other hand, the revolutionary ideas of Lenin and Bolshevik Revolution were trickling into India. Bhagat Singh, like many others who were already disillusioned by Gandhi, was attracted towards experiment of workers and peasants of Russia.

With this ideological motivation, the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), which was formed by Ashfaqullah Khan and Mahavir Singh in around 1925, became the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928 primarily on the insistence of Bhagat Singh. Along with an express commitment towards socialism, the HSRA also proclaimed a broad internationalist vision of a World Order that would free humanity from the scourge of capitalism and imperialist wars. Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) was founded in Lahore in 1926 as the open front of HSRA with object to expose reactionary politics and to promote religious harmony and secularism. In June 1928, Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev also organized a Lahore Students’ Union as auxiliary to NBS. The outlook of NBS was clearly popular. “Revolution by the masses and for the masses”, stated the Manifesto of the NBS. NBS made remarkable progress within a few months as its branches were organized all around India. It became so popular that it was banned by the British government in May of 1930.

In 1928, the all-White Simon Commission came to visit India in order to provide the further constitutional reforms. The Congress decided to boycott the Commission, and the HSRA decided to actively participate in the boycott demonstrations. One such demonstration, led by Lala Lajpat Rai was organized outside the Lahore Railway Station where the Commission was to arrive. Bhagat Singh and his compatriots were also a part of this protest. When the Police ordered baton-charge, the Superintendent of Police, J. A. Scott, targeted Lala Lajpat in particular who could not bear the severe injuries caused by the raining batons and died. The whole nation was infuriated at the death of Lala Lajpat.

HSRA decided to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. On December 17, 1928, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekher Azad and Rajguru shot dead J. P. Saunders, a Police officer, mistaking him for Scott. Posters under-singed by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army appeared across Lahore the same night that stated that “we are sorry for shedding human blood but it becomes necessary to bathe the altar of revolution with blood.”

After the assassination of Saunders, Bhagat immediately escaped for Calcutta where he attended the first All India Conference of Workers’ and Peasants’ Parties and the Calcutta session of the Congress, where the Communist Party made an illustrious entry by demanding the Congress to accept the goal of complete independence (which did not happen).

This was a time when the Communist Party was taking its roots in India in general and in the working class movement in particular. Naturally, the British government became apprehensive and rounded 31 prominent Communist and labor leaders in the famous Meerut Conspiracy Case. Repressive measures, like the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill, were brought to the floor of Central Legislative Assembly that threatened the democratic rights of the citizens of India.

HSRA decided to take action against the onslaught of British government. On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt threw two bombs in the Assembly when Viceroy was supposed to enact the Trade Disputes Bill using his special powers against the will of the Assembly. These bombs were made especially for the occasion. As they were harmless and were not meant to kill anyone, no one was seriously injured. The bomb, as the leaflet thrown by Bhagat Singh in the name of HSRA, was “a loud voice to make the deaf hear”. Bhagat Singh and B. K. Dutt gave their arrests, as was pre- decided by the HSRA, so that they can use the trail in court to popularize the programme and ideology of the HSRA.

The struggle against British colonialism was taken to new scale in the court and in the jail. In the court room, the people of India met Bhagat Singh, the political thinker. In jail, the people of India witness the resilience of Bhagat Singh. The whole nation was awestruck by the hunger-strike that Bhagat Singh and his comrades managed to pull while protesting against the inhumane and discriminatory conditions meted out to the Indian political prisoners. This was a time, says Pattabhi Sitaramyya, official historian of the Congress, when “Bhagat Singh’s name was as widely known all over India and was as popular as Gandhi’s”. Bhagat Singh underwent a hunger-strike for more than 116 days, with one stretch of 97 days, despite the heavy and frequent torture inflicted by the Jail authorities. One of participants of the hunger-strike, Jatin Das, died on the 64th day of the strike.

As a political thinker, the jail years had a deep impact on the ideological development of Bhagat Singh. The presence of an impended trail, which was more of a propaganda forum for him, and an unending thirst for knowledge motivated Bhagat Singh to study hard. He read more than 144 books in jail and prepared extensive notes about his study in a prison diary. His thoughts matured with a serious study and he also criticized his own tactics. In a short message to students’ conference at Lahore, Bhagat Singh advised: “Comrades, Today, we can not ask the youth to take to pistols and bombs… the youth will have to spread to the far corners of the country. They have to awaken the crores of the slum-dwellers of industrial areas and villagers…” Writing about his revolutionary career, Bhagat Singh said: “Study” was the cry that reverberated in the corridors of my mind… the Romance of the violent methods alone which was so prominent amongst our predecessors, was replaced by serious ideas. No more mysticism, no more blind faith… use of force justifiable when resorted to as a matter of terrible necessity: non-violence as policy indispensable for all mass movements.”

When asked in court what he meant by revolution, Bhagat Singh famously replied: “A revolution does not necessarily involve sanguinary strife not is there any place in it for individual vendetta. It is not a bomb or pistol cult. By revolution we mean that the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must be changed… By revolution we mean the ultimate establishment of the order of society… in which sovereignty of the proletariat should be recognized.”

After being awarded life imprisonment in the Assembly bomb case, Bhagat Singh was registered for what came to be known as the Second Lahore Conspiracy Case for the assassination of J. P. Saunders. A special tribunal was set-up for the trail of Bhagat Singh that was provided with the novel power of conducting an ex-parte trail. After what was termed by A. G. Noorani as “a farcical trail”, Bhagat Singh was sentenced to death.

Gandhi observed the injustices meted out to Bhagat Singh in jail and in the court rooms with a conspicuous silence. It was only after the death of Bhagat Singh that the Congress gave a statement, after much tension over wording, in “admiration of the bravery and sacrifice of the late Bhagat Singh and his comrades”. A. G. Noorani pointed out that Gandhi could have averted the death of Bhagat Singh during his talks with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Gandhi’s claims that he tried his best to persuade the Viceroy were found to be mere lies by the records that came to light four decades later.

Bhagat Singh, nevertheless, found a supporter in the mainstream politics and that was in Jinnah. Jinnah who was himself isolated by the encroachment of religion in politics at that time and considered it undesired rose in support of Bhagat Singh. In his incisive speech to the Constituent Assembly on September 12 and 14, 1929, Jinnah harshly condemned the criminal colonial rule and the Government’s actions against revolutionaries:

“The man who goes on hunger-strike has a soul. He is moved by the soul and he believes in the justice of his cause; he is not an ordinary criminal who is guilty of cold-blooded, sordid, wicked crime.

“What was he driving at? It is the system, this damnable system of Government, which is resented by the people.

“And the last words I wish to address the Government are, try and concentrate your mind on the root cause and the more you concentrate on the root cause, the less difficulties and inconveniences there will be for you to face, and thank Heaven that the money of the taxpayer will not be wasted in prosecuting men, nay citizens, who are fighting and struggling for the freedom of their country.”

In our part of the sub-continent, we conveniently forget the role played by non-Muslims in the struggle of liberation from the British colonialism. All non-Muslims are grouped in one category to be completely rejected by the rulers of Pakistan irrespective of their message and their history. The same fate met Bhagat Singh. That he was supported by Jinnah is a fact never mentioned in the corridors of power or in the text-books of Pakistan Studies. It is not surprising, though. Bhagat Singh, a symbol of resistance, could never be the hero of the government that is not based on the will of the people.

Although the times have changed, they do not appear to have changed a lot. The World, particularly Pakistan is still facing a number of problems that were essentially present in the times of Bhagat Singh as well. Hence, the legacy of Bhagat Singh remains with us in his uncompromising struggle against imperialism, unflinching resistance to communalism and caste oppression, unbending opposition to the bourgeois-landlord rule, and unswavering support for socialism as the best possible alternative before society.

Courtesy: RedDiaryPk

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “The People’s Hero: Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh

  1. Gorki

    Bhagat Singh was labeled a terrorist by the British but he was not a simple terrorist for several reasons. First, he had a philosophy that he passionately believed in, read up on and desperately tried to propagate it. It is quit akin to our own philosophy; namely a belief in all humanity, regardless of race color or religion. “I am a man’ he wrote and thus all affairs affecting mankind affect me. Second of all, he was a rational thinker, not a mindless robot sent by any ‘handler’ to kill in the name of a religion or a philosophy.

    His commitment to the cause was complete; and final, the cause of ending injustice to all his countrymen. Never once in his short life did he even give a hint that it was of any consequence that he was born a Sikh. He was an Indian first; and last.

    Finally it was his youth that is heartbreaking. At 23, most boys are still learning to discover the world around themselves. He, at that age, gave up his life, very willingly, at complete peace with himself, for a cause that he believed was bigger them him.
    He did it knowing that in his impatience to act, he was closing the door even on posthumous glory, knowing that his country would not celebrate him like some of the other leaders of his day like Gandhi etc. One of the poems he enjoyed quoting was this:

    ‘Shaheedon kee chitaoun par lagenge har baraas mele;
    Wataan par mitne waloon ka yahee ek nishaan baaki hoga”
    (chitauon = funeral pyre)

    Today no picture of Bhagat Singh is displayed in schools or government offices in India, and quite appropriately so, lest it glorified violence and sent the wrong signal to the youth. Yet he was OK with this too; like I said; at complete peace with himself.

    After his death Gandhi wrote the following eulogy in his paper:
    Bhagat Singh and his two associates have been hanged. The Congress made many attempts to save their lives and the Government entertained many hopes of it, but all has been in a vain.
    Bhagat Singh did not wish to live. He refused to apologize, or even file an appeal. Bhagat Singh was not a devotee of non-violence, but he did not subscribe to the religion of violence. He took to violence due to helplessness and to defend his homeland. In his last letter, Bhagat Singh wrote –” I have been arrested while waging a war. For me there can be no gallows. Put me into the mouth of a cannon and blow me off.” These heroes had conquered the fear of death. Let us bow to them a thousand times for their heroism.
    But we should not imitate their act. In our land of millions of destitute and crippled people, if we take to the practice of seeking justice through murder, there will be a terrifying situation. Our poor people will become victims of our atrocities. By making a dharma of violence, we shall be reaping the fruit of our own actions.
    Hence, though we praise the courage of these brave men, we should never countenance their activities. Our dharma is to swallow our anger, abide by the discipline of non-violence and carry out our duty.

    While Gandhi is criticized by some, especially in Punjab to this day for being only lukewarm to the fate of Bhagat Singh, I for one agree with every word that the Mahatama wrote. This is exactly how Bhagat Singh knew he would be remembered.
    Nothing more.

    So then why do I choke up today even as I think of this minor figure in Indian history, reading these words?

    It is for the sake of the lily pure idealism of this young man and for the sake of a lost youth who died believing that someday the Republic of India that he hoped (and I hope) would see the light of the day.

    Also it is for the sake of the burden of the still unfinished business that this boy left his nation with; when he went to the gallows; with a smile on his lips and his head held high.

    For all those reasons I, an unknown Indian, still remember this almost forgotten minor figure, 78 years after his death when I am trying to reach out to all his countrymen; across both sides of the Radcliff line.

  2. yasserlatifhamdani

    Technically ofcourse he belongs to this side of Radcliffe line… Since the Radcliffe line itself was foisted upon us Pakistanis by Congress and Mountbatten … I’d say it is time Indians stopped claiming Bhagat Singh as their son.

    Bhagat Singh is a son of the soil of Lahore which is part of Pakistan now. Hence he is our hero just like Taj Mahal is your monument. I might have to start sending legal notices to Indians claiming otherwise.

  3. yasserlatifhamdani

    Gorki,

    You know the difference is that Jinnah, who did not lay claims to the kind of revolutionary fervor the Gandhis and Nehrus laid claim to, had the courage of conscience to blast the British government for its treatment of Bhagat Singh while the latter was still alive and too politically expensive for Congress to take up.

    This is the difference between Aristocratic “Socialist” types (Nehrus, Bhuttos etc) and scions of Princely State aristocracy (Gandhi’s father was a Diwan) claiming to be populists on the one hand and an independent minded self made man like Jinnah who rose from the middle class is….

    Anyway… I don’t want to veer this discussion off of the topic of the great man about whom this article is written.

  4. Bloody Civilian

    sajjad zaheer was kept in the same part of the prison – the ‘bomb case ‘ward’ – built esp for bhagat singh and his comrades. from there zaheer was ‘deported’ back to the east of the radcliff line.

  5. hayyer48

    Is this some new ‘drang nach osten’? The Pashtuns rejecting the Durand Line and Pakistan rejecting the Radcliffe line. Does this irredentist claim extend as far eastward as, and including, Delhi?
    Does PTH intend to make a request to the Pakistan government to make such a claim, and failing that to allow visa free travel, trade and commerce for certified Indus men of India as is the case across the Line of control in J&K?
    Policy, Policy?

  6. Gorki

    YLH:

    1.Perhaps my earlier post suggested that I felt Bhagat Singh belonged only to India. That is not the case and neither the Bhagat Singh that I and many others have grew up to admire in India would have wanted to imply.
    In fact my post was a reproduction of a private email I had sent to a Pakistani friend on the day of Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary and thus it carried my personal feelings about India of my (and Bhagat Singh’s) dreams.
    I will however not get into an argument regarding which country Bhagat Singh belonged to, but reproduce some of his favorite couplets below to highlight his own feelings about how he would like his countrymen (all over the united Hindustan of 1931) to remember.

    Meri Hawa Mein rahegi khayal ki khushboo,
    Yeh musht-e-khaq rahe na rahe

    AND

    Khush raho ahle watan, hum to safar kartein hain

    (Bhagat Singh in his last letter to his brother)

    2.The Taj does not belong to India alone but to the entire humanity (perhaps that is why it is appropriate that it is a UNESCO world heritage site.) In fact it belongs most of all to all husbands who pines for dear departed wives and also to all those who admire fine architecture.

    3. The Lahore conspiracy case was recognized both far and near. People wrote from all over the world. A woman from Poland even sent money to the HRSA. Pictures of Bhagat Singh and his associates were displayed all over the country; calendars with his pictures did roaring business.
    Many eminent people including Motilal Nehru, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, and raja of Kalakarkar (in UP) visited the court to express their solidarity with the revolutionaries.
    During one of his visits Motilal Nehru praised Bhagat Singh for the admirable work the revolutionary had done. He said their bravery had brought the dream of independence closer to India.
    (page 105 From ‘Without Fear’ The life and trial of Bhagat Singh by Kuldip Nayar Harper Collins 2007)

    4. It was no secret that the HRSA openly declared that they disagreed with the congress regarding its methods for achieving Independence however the two sides often communicated with each other, often using open letters in the papers.
    In one such letter Sukhdev, who was hanged besides Bhagat Singh wrote to Gandhi and signed the letter as “Yours, One of the many”.

    Gandhi wrote back a reply in his paper ‘Young India’ as follows :

    “The writer is not ‘one among the many.’
    Many do not seek the gallows for political freedom. However condemnable political murder may be, it is not possible to with hold recognition of the love of the country and the courage which inspires such awful deeds. And let us hope the cult of assassination is not growing if the Indian experiment succeeds, as it is bound to. At any rate, I am working in that faith”.

    Another interesting fact: Ashfhaqullah Khan who was hanged in another such freedom struggle related conspiracy case was a poet and declared that he was proud to be one of the first Muslim revolutionaries to be hanged for the freedom of India. He wrote the following couplet before his death:

    Kuch Arzoo nahi hai, hai arzoo to yeh,
    Rakhde koi zarasi Khaq-e-Watan kafan mein.

    Regards.

  7. ylh

    Hayyer

    Methinks you read angraizi with blinkers on.

    No Pakistani has wanted to undo either lines.

  8. hayyer48

    YLH: Do you have to be hit on the head with an attempted joke? No wonder they invetned emotico ns.

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    Gorki sb,

    Bhagat Singh belongs only to Pakistan.
    What you are doing is unfair. By taking the moral high ground by saying Taj Mahal belongs to the world – when everyone in the world knows it is located in India … and most of those Americans think it is some sort of a Hindu temple mind you… you are side stepping the issue.

    We need Bhagat Singh- he is far too important for us than he is for you. I beseech you to stop claiming him… Lets just accept that the father of India Mr. Gandhi abandoned him. So you don’t have any locus standi.

  10. bonobashi

    @YLH

    Aren’t you getting very emotional about this? Nobody grudges you the right to claim Bhagat Singh. Gorki made his usual ocean-calming motions with his ill-timed remark about the Taj Mahal, but surely you can recognise a placatory gesture when you see one, and not take it as a provocation instead?

    This is getting very strange.

    Please calm down. Nobody is out to misappropriate your cultural heritage.

    My personal assessment is that these features, the Indus civilisation as it is originally defined, not the extensions that learned people have proposed later, the common heritage of facing incursions from outside from time immemorial, specifically the Aryan coming down to the incursions of Ahmed Shah Abdali, the Buddhist culture which formed a large part of the heritage of the geography that is today Pakistan, but was originated, developed and promoted from other geographies, the culture of the Rajput tribes who converted to Islam within the last couple of centuries, some in fact during the reign of Aurangzeb, the composite Hindu-Muslim-Sikh culture of the Punjab, which has survived on both sides of the Radcliffe Award, the language that is Urdu (in a badly-maimed, ill-nourished form, regrettably, on this side of the Radcliffe Award), Hindustani classical music, and light music, food habits too numerous to list, forms of attire, language itself, in their various forms and variations and dialects – all these are held in common.

    Please take your heritage – it is yours and nobody grudges you the ownership and enjoyment of these – and build on them without fear of interference or of intellectual property theft. If you permit admiration, you will have that; if you consider that condescending and suggestive of superiority, you will have absolute silence within which to weave your cultural threads together.

    There is no need for angry responses to any and every intervention by an Indian, whether well-meaning or not being left aside.

    My admiration and support is gradually becoming soured and an increasingly evil-tasting residue under a constant barrage of attacks for imaginary slights and defences of the unassailed. Please have the grace to accept our good intentions without flying off the handle once a day, and twice on Sundays.

    Please take stock of the situation before you wilfully drive off every commentator who does not agree with you and your views blindly, not by opposing them but by abusing them beyond the bounds of courtesy or custom.

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Bonobashi

    There was nothing abusive in my post. Had you read it in the right spirit you would see that it was written tongue in cheek… I’d like you to list for everyone which part of that post did you find abusive.

    Quite extraordinary really… I do not wish to continue this discussion… except saying that the policy of PakTeaHouse is completely transparent. Those who have a problem with it are free to vote with their feet.

  12. bonobashi

    @YLH

    If it was tongue-in-cheek, I have to admit that I have been an ass, and a pompous, self-important one, precisely what I was accusing you of.

    I am sorry.

    I have been caught out fair and square.

  13. bonobashi

    @YLH

    And in particular, I regret the last paragraph of my posting of 5:42. I agree that it was personally hurtful and inappropriate.

    Please let it pass. I know it will take a great deal of good spirit to overlook it, but I am hopeful that you will summon it.

  14. Karaya

    In our part of the sub-continent, we conveniently forget the role played by non-Muslims in the struggle of liberation from the British colonialism.

    While this statement might be true, IMO, Singh (considering his political philosophy) would have been forgotten even if he was Muslim.

    The man who goes on hunger-strike has a soul. He is moved by the soul and he believes in the justice of his cause; he is not an ordinary criminal who is guilty of cold-blooded, sordid, wicked crime..

    Jinnah applauding the tribe of hunger-strikers. Ah! Irony 😛

  15. Gorki

    Bonobashi: It was very big hearted of you. Not every one has the humility to acknowledge an error the way you did, and God knows we all misunderstand comments made on the blogs once in a while.

    Yasser: I have only read your posts for a few months but I think I am starting to understand the magnitude of the task that you and others like you have set for yourself must say that I am impressed.
    From trying to bring out the secular aspects of MAJ’s vision to rewriting the national narrative starting not from 1947 but from way back from the Indus valley times, you are trying to retell the 5000 year old story of civilization and heroism in this rich land. It is truly an epic and prodigious undertaking and deserves every compliment and praise. Perhaps I am not too far off the mark when I think that your goal is nothing short of re-inventing the narrative of Pakistan from a narrow minded exclusive land for a chosen few to an all inclusive and vibrant country in which every one of its citizens had a stake and everyone is counted.

    In another post you wrote lovingly called Pakistan as a ‘land where my father sleeps.’
    I can not think of a better tribute from a son to his father than this. In fact many of us today all over the world also fondly look upon this land as a land where our own forefathers sleep. Hayyer mentioned elsewhere that he too feels a certain kinship with the Indus narrative. While none of us outsiders by any stretch of imagination want to stake a claim to any ownership to Pakistan; we can not but help extending our best wishes to you all; BC, PMA Rumi and all others involved.

    In another time, the young Shaheed-e-Azam glorified above expressed his own impatience and anguish at not being able to spread his message to as many of his countrymen as fast as he wanted. It is for this purpose he argued; someone has to make a supreme sacrifice; ‘to shock the masses out of their complacency’ or words to that effect. Today my only fear is this; the task that you all are trying to perform is perhaps somewhat hindered by the fact that your words are not reaching out to as many people as needed.

    PTH has some of the most nuanced and informed commentators in blogosphere who can write though proving yet delightful and witty pieces but IMHO it is underappreciated. A quick search of the ten most popular Pakistani blogs would yield names of sites that do not have as rich content or as interesting commentators. I think PTH can easily make it into that list if only it tolerated more dissent; and more contrary views.
    In this I join Bonobashi and Hayyer among others, in requesting that the moderators reconsider their moderation policy and make it somewhat less stringent.
    Even if people express opinionated and contrary views, they are more likely to read and visit the PTH if there posts are not deleted frequently. In addition to this, a good argument can be made for inclusiveness and dissent; the life blood of democratic ideals.

    Regards.

  16. Gorki

    who can write though proving = who can write thought provoking….

    (Damn the auto correct feature of MS Word) 😉

  17. yasserlatifhamdani

    Bonobashi,

    While you may have chosen the wrong post to criticize me for, in retrospect much of what you say is still true – especially vis a vis my harsh treatment of Hayyer sb.

    Gorki sb and you are right. However in my defence most of what gets deleted on PTH is almost always some chowk hyena trying to muddy the waters.

    I will however try my best to allow as many alternative opinions as possible and delete fewer posts.

    Yours sincerely,

    YLH

  18. Gorki

    @ Yasser, You are a gentleman.

    @all.

    I may be stretching this post a bit too much but wanted to share some additional trivia about Bhagat Singh with the readers who may be interested.

    1. Bhagat Singh and his associates were hurriedly cremated on the banks of Ravi in 1931. After Independence the Radcliff line was drawn and passed almost exactly over this site. The Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev memorial was raised on this site in India. As a child I visited this site a couple of times on a school field trip to the border with Pakistan. I think it is very appropriately located within a mile of the border with Pakistan at Husseinwala. Maybe some day it can become a part of a Peace park; accessible from both sides.

    2. B K Dutt, the other revolutionary who had been convicted and jailed for the bombing of the assembly hall in Delhi along with Bhagat Singh was freed after independence and died in Delhi on 19th July 1965. As per his last wishes he was also cremated in Husseinwala, Punjab; to join his comrades forever in their final resting place.

    3. Bhagat Singh’s and Jinnah’s paths crossed once before Jinnah’s defense of Bhagat Singh’s hunger strike. During his trial for the assembly bomb case, he and Dutt accepted that they were the bombers but denied that they had wanted to kill anyone. They maintained that they had intentionally exploded low intensity bombs and had taken care to throw them at some empty benches. In their defense they maintained that they recognized their leaders like Mr. Jinnah and Motilal Nehru in the assembly hall that day who could have been hurt if they were not careful.

    4. I came across this quote from Bhagat Singh on the wikipedia and thought it was relevant to the philosophy of PTH and worth posting here.

    “The aim of life is no more to control the mind, but to develop it harmoniously; not to achieve salvation here after, but to make the best use of it here below; and not to realize truth, beauty and good only in contemplation, but also in the actual experience of daily life. Social progress depends not upon the ennoblement of the few but on the enrichment of democracy; universal brotherhood can be achieved only when there is an equality of opportunity – of opportunity in the social, political and individual life.”
    (from Bhagat Singh’s prison diary)

    5. I end this post with the lines written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz describing the death of Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev:

    Jis Dhaaj se koi maqtal mein gaya, woh shaan salamat rehti hai,
    Yeh jaan to aani jaani hai, is jaan ki koi baat nahin

    (It is the dignity with which one goes to his death that is remembered by all,
    what of life, it comes and goes….

    Regards.

  19. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    I believe Bollywood has made about half a dozen movies on Sh Bhagat Singh which gives us more rights on him. But if you insist on place of birth. We will give Sh Bhagat Singh to you provided you admitted that the caste system is Pakistan’s “gift” to mankind, not India’s .

    most of those Americans think it is some sort of a Hindu temple mind you…

    Many Hindoos too think the same that it is really a Shivala called Tejo Mahalaya.

    Civvie mian,

    from there zaheer was ‘deported’ back to the east of the radcliff line.

    I think we have more than repaid the favour. We deported Maulana Murdoodi west of the Radcliffe Line.

    Regards

  20. Majumdar

    Well anyhow to return to the great man. Much as I respect Sh Bhagat Singh and CS Azaad personally I am glad that these gentlemen (and such other revolutionary types) did not lead India (can’t claim to speak on Pak’s behalf) to freedom. I wonder if it could have been a great idea if a bunch of militants would have led India to freedom what wud we have done with such a large bunch of armed men. Almost certainly we wud have ended with a politicised army. And these folks being “socialist” (whatever that means) India wud have ended up as dirt poor as it is today. India was better off with the INC as its lead -only with right-leaning folks like Patel, Rajaji and co at the helm.

    Regards

  21. Bloody Civilian

    We deported Maulana Murdoodi west of the Radcliffe Line.

    that was the original, unprovoked act of war by india against poor, hapless pakistan