Shaheed Diwas: We remember their martyrdom but forgot their principles

Shaheed Diwas Bhagat Singh has passed more than eight and a half decades now. This young man, who chose death for himself at the age of 23, is still alive in our hearts and minds through his thoughts and philosophy. Bhagat Singh always remained against the communal forces. When he formed the Naujawan Bharat Sabha in Punjab in 1928, he had made the necessary condition for his membership – ‘Distance from religious-communal organizations’. Bhagat Singh used to consider Communalism as a major impediment for nationalism and the national movements. He used to say that Communalism is a big threat as imperialism is. This does not mean that Bhagat Singh was against religion. He was against superstitions. He believed religion should be allowed to see the glasses of criticism.

An interesting story of Bhagat Singh’s life. He used to respect Lala Lajpat Rai very much. Even when Lajpat Rai was injured in the protest against the Simon Commission and afterward his death, Bhagat Singh himself took revenge for his death. But a few months before the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, when he realized that Lajpat Rai’s thinking was bent on some particular side, Bhagat Singh did not spare him too. He printed a scroll, which had a picture of Lala Lajpat Rai on one side, on the other hand, Robert Browning’s poem The Lost Leader. Browning wrote this poem, condemning William Wordsworth, but the young man Bhagat Singh made this poem the weapon of expression of his own unique protest.

Bhagat Singh had the sparse power of both standing on principles and changing himself. A few days before his execution he wrote why I am an atheist. When he was writing it, he knew that only a few days of his life are left to him. When such a death is so close, a strong man also becomes weak and lean towards God. But Bhagat Singh remained firm on his ideas. But at the same time, he also criticized the ‘indigenous terrorism’.

He believed that there was no revolution by lifting arms of some people or throwing bombs etc. This dream will be fulfilled only when it is from the public. At his young age, he read so much and saw that his thinking became constant and developed. At the age of 13, he joined the non-cooperation movement, then was influenced by the revolutionary thinking, later adopted Marxism and then continued moving forward ideologically. Where is this expansion of thoughts in the whole life of 23 years?

In recent years, there has been a tendency of comparing the heroes of freedom struggle together. Bhagat Singh is also tried to be compared with Mahatma Gandhi. But such analysis does not take us anywhere. It is also asked why Gandhiji did not save Bhagat Singh’s life? There are many such documents which prove that Mahatma Gandhi had appealed for Bhagat Singh to the then Viceroy. The people who do comparisons should understand that each of our heroes of the war of independence has their own contribution and everyone has their own popularity.

If questions have to be asked, it should be that the dream of Bhagat Singh for which he chose death and has been fighting for so many years has come true even today? Bhagat Singh was against political, economic, social and all forms of exploitation. In this sense, are we in a position to say that we have abolished all the exploitation systems? The answer is obviously ‘no’, so the debate should be on the thoughts, not on the person.


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