Remembering Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh was barely 23 when he was hanged by the British in a case which symbolizes total miscarriage of justice. He and his two associates—Sukhdev and Rajguru-became martyrs and symbols of India’s freedom struggle on March 23, 1931. It was Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary on September 27/28 and yet the media virtually blacked him out.
No political leader either paid his tribute to this legendary revolutionary who gave up his life so that we could all breathe freely. Such was his commitment to his country that till the end, his only dream was to see India out of the shackles of the British. He obviously did not get as much credit for the deed finally accomplished in 1947 but his name remains enshrined in our freedom saga.
His last words were very significant and I always get emotionally moved whenever I recall them. “Dil se niklegi, na mar kar bhi, watan ki ulfat, meri mitti se bhi khushboo-e-watan aayegi’’ ( Even after my death my love for my motherland will not diminish from my heart. Even my ashes will smell of your (motherland’s) greatness and love).
For me Bhagat Singh always symbolized supreme love for one’s country, something which does not come out with the same intensity when one looks at other stalwarts of our freedom movement. Of course the methods adopted by Bhagat Singh and his associates were totally different from those of others but the objective was to drive the British away.
His determination became even more firm after Lala Lajpat Rai was felled by lathis of the police and because of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of the innocent. He and his associates took revenge and shot JP Saunders, a British officer mistaking him for Scott, the man who had ordered the firing in Jallianwala Bagh. Scott was killed many years later by another great martyr Udham Singh who went all the way to England to carry out his revenge.
It pains me that none of our present day politicians publicly acknowledge the great contribution by this young man who hailed from a family of freedom fighters who were actively a part of the Ghaddar party. Bhagat Singh had his own ideas but he was totally blinded by the love for his country. Akbar Allahabadi who wrote many revolutionary poems during his time had once stated, “Mujhe nafrat nahin thi angrez ki soorat se, nafrat this to thi uski andaaze hakumat se’’. To this late Raj Narain added two more lines in the seventies which are extremely apt for most of today’s leaders–“Jab apno ki hakumat gawara ho na saki, to apno ki soorat se bhi mohabbat ho na saki’’.
The shortpoint is that politics is no longer about bringing about a social change for the better it is got reduced to getting votes. And good governance is the biggest casualty. Most of our much publicized development programmes often have another side to it i.e of corruption. The more flyovers you add, the more money you make is the theme behind many such projects in this country irrespective of who is in power.
Finally, let us always be grateful to Bhagat Singh and his associates including Chandrashekhar Azad and many other revolutionaries who died for our country so that we could live freely. Bhagat Singh is a symbol of revolutionaries who died unsung and paying our tribute to him will automatically be a tribute to others whose martyrdom remains in anonymity. They were not seeking anything but gave their lives for India. There is a old revolutionary couplet which used to be recited by our freedom fighters, “Shaheedo ki cheetaon par har baras lagen ge melae, watan par marne walon ka bus yahi nishan hoga’’.