Shaheed Bhagat Singh

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Only one camera photograph of Bhagat Singh is available. It was taken in Lahore jail. This is a poor copy of the photograph, some paintings are based on this photo which has also been retouched and hand colored as well.

Bhagat Singh (September 27, 1907 - March 23, 1931) was an Indian Sikh freedom fighter, considered to be one of the most famous martyrs of the Indian independence movement. For this reason, he is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed means "martyr"). He is also believed by many to be one of the earliest Marxists in India and has been labelled so by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [1]. He was one of the leaders and founders of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

Its been nearly 80 years since Bhagat Singh dropped a small bomb onto the floor of Parliament House's Central Assembly Hall to “make the deaf hear”. On August 15, 2008 in New Delhi, India, an important ceremony was held to unveil a huge statue of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s. This now proudly stands just outside Parliament House in courtyard number 5 in New Delhi. To celebrate India's day of Independence, a cause to which Bhagat Singh had dedicated his life, the larger than life statue (18 feet/6 metres high) was unveiled by President of India, Pratibha Patil, to a long deserved welcome.

Early life

Bhagat Singh was born into a Jatt Sikh (Sandhu) family in 1907 to Sardar Kishan Singh Sandhu and Sardarni Vidyavati Kaur in the Khatkar Kalan village near Banga in the Jalandhar district,Punjab (some books state that the story of his birth as, that the ancestors of Bhagat Singh came from the village of Khatkar Kalan in the Jullundur district,later they migrated to and settled in the village of Banga, Chak No.105-G.B. in Jaranwalla Tehsil in the Lyallpur District, now in Pakistan).[2][3][4] As a child, he was deeply affected by the Jallianvala Bagh massacre that took place in Punjab in 1919.

When Mahatma Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920, he became an active participant at the age of 13. He had great hopes that Gandhi would bring freedom in India from colonial rule by the British. But he was disappointed when Gandhi called off this movement following the Chauri Chaura riot in 1922. At this point he had openly defied the British and had followed Gandhi's wishes by burning his government-school books and any British-imported clothing.

In 1923, Bhagat famously won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. This grabbed the attention of members of the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan including its General Secretary Professor Bhim Sen Vidyalankar. At this age, he quoted famous Punjabi literature and discussed the Problems of the Punjab. He read a lot of poetry and literature which was written by Punjabi writers and his favourite poet was an Indian freedom fighter Allama Iqbal from Sialkot. [5]

In his teenage years, Bhagat Singh started studying at the National College in Lahore, but ran away from home to escape early marriage, and became a member of the organization Naujawan Bharat Sabha (Translated to 'Youth Society of India'). In the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Singh and his fellow revolutionaries grew popular amongst the youth. He also joined the Hindustan Republican Association at the request of Professor Vidyalankar, which was then headed by Ram Prasad Bismil and Shahid Ashfaqallah Khan.

It is believed that he had knowledge of the Kakori train robbery. He wrote for and edited Urdu and Punjabi newspapers published from Amritsar. In September 1928, a meeting of various revolutionaries from across India was called at Delhi under the banner of the Kirti Kissan Party. Bhagat Singh was the secretary at that meeting. His later revolutionary activities were carried out as a leader of this association. The capture and hanging of the main HRA Leaders also allowed him and Sukhdev to be quickly promoted to higher ranks in the party.

Lala Lajpat Rai's death and Saunders's murder

The reforms of 1919 had for the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry after a lapse of 10 years to decide about the grant of the next instalment of reforms, but the existing circumstances in India and Britain necessitated an early appointment of Commission. Consequently, in 1927, a commission, consisting of 7 members (all Englishmen) and headed by Sir John Simon, was appointed. (which came to be known as Simon Commission). The Commission landed in Bombay in February 1928. This commission was resented as it was packed with Britons and no Indian was on it,whereas the matter entrusted to it was Indian. It was rightly feared by all that the Commission would prove to be an apple of discord and dissipate the national fervour and was, therefore, unanimousley boycotted by all the parties, including the Muslim League.

The Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, had directed its members to the Kotla Feroz Shah meeting to participate actively in the move to boycott the Simon Commission. In accordance with that, Bhagat Singh held a meeting of the Nau Jawan Bharat Sabha in October 1928 and prepared the workers for a demostration against the "John Bulls" on their arrival at Lahore. The Commission arrived there on the 30th October, 1928. An all parties procession headed by Lala Lajpat Rai,marched towards the Railway Station, Lahore, to demonstrate their protest against the arrival of the Commission. Bhagat Singh and his co-workers were in the forefront of the huge procession.The processionists carried black flags and shouted slogans "Simon Commission go back".

The Government was bent upon resisting such protests and allowed the police to deal with the crowds in an effective manner.The police, as usual warned the crowd to disperse, but it stood there, although not indulging in any violence. Despite non-violence on the part of the processionists, the police indulged in a utterly brutal lathi charge.Lala Lajpat Rai, who led the procession and refused to take it back was standing calm and collected ahead of all the demonstration, when Superindent Scott himself took the lathi and started beating Lala Lajpat Rai mercilessly. Many other people were wounded as well.On seeing this Bhagat Singh was severly angered and wanted to react, but the instruction were to remain non-violent, he controlled himself and looked after the wounded. Lala Lajpat Rai was removed to the hospital where he breathed his last on the 17th November,1928.

The Government disowned any responsibilty for the death. In reply to a question by Colonel Wedgwood in the house of Commons,Engalnd, the Under-Secretary of State to India, Earl Winterton, said,"No evidence had been produced to show that the death of Lala Lajpat Rai was due to blows received on that occasion." Parliamentary debates, House of Commons,Monday the 26th November,1928. To Bhagat Singh and his comrades, all that happened was a national insult not to go unavennged.

To avenge Lala Lajpat Rai's the workers of the Hidustan Socialist Republic Army held a meeting at Lahore on the night of the 10th December,1928, and chalked out a programme of action. Those who attended the meeting were, Bhagat Singh, Mahavir Singh, Chanderasekhar Azad, Rajguru, Jai Gopal, Kishorilal and Durga Devi. On Durga Devi's proposal to select the person who would kill Scott, Bhagat Singh volunteered, followed by Rajguru, Sukhdev, Jai Gopal and Durga Devi. Chanderasekhar Azad ruled that women should not be given the task, they will be required to help with the escape of the revolutionaries. Finally, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru,Sukhdev and Jai Gopal were detailed for the job. Jai Gopal was instructed to watch the movement of Scott for about a week with a view to knowing timings of his arrival and departure from his office and his route.

On the 15th December, 1928 at 2pm, another meeting was held, the following duties were assigned, Jai Gopal was asked to watch and give a signal by waving a handkerchief as soon as Scott came out of his office. Bhagat Singh warned Jai Gopal to ensure that none else was killed, as the opportunity would not come again. Rajguru and Bhagat Singh were detailed to shoot Scott on the signal of Jai Gopal, Azad and Sukhdev were to cover their movement after the shooting. On the 17th December,1928. the day fixed for the shooting of Scott, they all reached the stipulated place. Azad and Bhagat Singh went on cycles others on foot. The office of Scott was in the Punjab Civil Secretariat. Bhagat Singh and his comrades took up their positions in the vicinity of the secretariat. After sometime, an englishman came out of his office, Jai Gopal mistook him for Scott. Actually he was Johan Poyntz Saunders. He was Assistance Superintendent of police. (still a probationer, he had put only 1 year, 8 months and 8 days, when he was killed). The moment saunders started his motorcycle and rode out of the gate on to the road at 4.20 p.m. Jai Gopal gave the awaited signal. Rajguru fired a shot, hitting him in the neck. Saunders fell down. Bhagat Singh rushed to him and fired four more bullets to complete the task. When Bhagat Singh was convinced that the job was done they left him. Bhagat Singh,Rajguru, Azad and Sukhdev ran through the Court Street and entered the D.A.V College compound.as according to the plan. Head Constable Chanan Singh tried to chase Bhagat Singh and Rajguru. Chandrasekhar Azad, who was covering the movement of Bhagat Singh and Rajguru through the compound, fired at Chanan Singh and killed him.

The Punjab Government informed the Home Department, New Delhi, through a telegram received there on the 17th December, 1928,at 9.24 p.m. which reads, ("Regret to report that Saunders, ASP,was shot down and killed this afternoon by two youths who escaped into the D.A.V. College and thence into the country on bicycles. Munshi who pursued also killed").

Bhagat Singh's escape from Lahore

Before leaving the D.A.V. College, they changed their guise in order to avoid arrest. Afterwards Bhagat Singh got himself shaved, and borrowed a good wollen suit and a hat from a friend. He than asked Durga Devi to get dressed and accompany him with her child to the railway station for the purpose of helping him to leave Lahore. They hired a tonga, (One horse carriage) and reached the station. Rajguru also accompanied them posing as their family servant. Bhagat Singh got down from the tonga and bought first-class tickets and all four boarded the train to Calcutta.

The Assembly-Bomb Case

After his dramatic escape from Lahore, Bhagat Singh eventually reached Calcutta. There he met Phonindio Nath Ghose and J.N.Das and sought their assistance in bombmaking.The work was taken up in January at the house of Kanwal Nath Tewari, where the manufacturing of Gun-cotton for use in bombs was started. The proposal for throwing the bombs in the Assembly Hall was discussed at lenght and accepted in principle.

Towards the end, the following plan was finally adopted: Vistor's passes were to be arranged and bombs thrown in the Assembly to express sharp and popular disapproval of the repressive measures, which aimed at typing down the working class movement. Care should be taken at the time of throwing the bomb that no loss of life takes place. Then the revolutionaries entrusted with the job should court arrest and later use the court as forum to express their views, programme and ideology to rouse public opinion for their plan of action. Suggestions to escape were not accepted, as Bhagat Singh advocated that their arrest and subsequent trial would act as a daily reminder to the youth of the objectives they had before them.

During the months of March and April 1929. before throwing the bomb Bhagat Singh journeyed many a time between Agra and Delhi, and staying at Delhi, mostly in Bazaar Sitaram, 15 Roshanara Mansion and also at Banta Ashram in Kucha Ghasi Ram. Before the 8th of April, the day fixed for the throwing of the bombs. Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt got themselves photographed by Ram Nath of Kashmiri Gate, Delhi. This photograph was printed in the "Bande Matram", The Hindustan Times and the Pioneer in their issues dated 12th, 18th and the 20th April respectively.

When all the arrangements were settled, visitor's passes were arranged through the Indian members of the Assembly. Two days before the occurrence Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt went to the Assembly to make an appraisal of their plan and to acquaint themselves with the seating arrangement. This visit was confirmed by the Superintendent of Police, Delhi, in his report: "They were in Delhi, two days before, and both the accused somehow managed entrance in the Assembly on the 6th April to make a preliminary reconnaissance".

On the 8th April, 1929, the Viceroy's proclamation, enacting the two Bills, was to be made, despite the fact that the majority of the members were opposed to it, and had rather rejected it earlier.

There was a great rush of visitors as well as the press representatives that day to watch and hear the reaction of the members. Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutta also stood in the queue and in turn entered the gate leading to the chamber. Both were dressed in Khaki shirts and Khaki shorts with coats of different colours. According to the statement of Sergeant Terry who arrested them, both were wearing khaki shirts and shorts, but Bhagat Singh was wearing a bluish coat and Dutt a light-blue one. He did not notice anything on their heads. Their visitors passes were recommended by the nominated Indian member with the result that the checking official could not detect or suspect them. They took their seats in the public gallery which soon became full to capacity.

On the resumption of the consideration of the Bill some members supported it and said that its passing was essential because the uneducated young men of India, being misled by the Russians, were becoming communists and were planning to rise a revolt against the British... As soon as the decision on the Bill was announced and the Presiding officer was about to give his ruling, Bhagat Singh stood up and threw a bomb behind the Home Member's bench to avoid injuries to the President of the Assembly. This bomb fell on the floor of the house in the narrow gangway in the neighbourhood of the seats numbers 4B,5,33 and 34. (near which Vithalbhai Patel and Pandit Motilal Nehru were seated).

The members and the visitors had hardly recovered from the deafening sound of the explosion, when Bhagat Singh threw the second bomb. With the entire hall full of smoke, the members and visitors started running, the President left his chair and fled to his room. While the room was full of fumes, Singh and Dutt shouted,"Inquilab Zindabad!" ("Long Live the Revolution!").[6] This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear.[7]

It has been commonly stated that it was B.K. Dutt that threw the second bomb, but this is incorrect. [citation needed]

Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest. The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone; Singh and Dutt claimed that this was deliberate act on their part, a claim substantiated both by British forensics investigators who found that the bomb was not powerful enough to cause injury, and by the fact that the bomb was thrown away from people [citation needed]. Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb. [citation needed]

Singh and Dutt were sentenced to 'Transportation for Life' for the bombing on 12 June 1929.

Later that day with a view to using the High Court to further publicize their programme and to awaken the masses. Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt filed an appeal in the High Court. The appeal was heard by Justice Ford and Justice Addison. Asaf Ali (Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt's representative) argued it for two and a half days. The public Prosecutor replied to his arguments during the remaining half of the third day But in between, as per the statement of Asaf Ali, Bhagat Singh also pleaded on his own behalf. The appeal was rejected by the High Court and the Judgement delivered on the 13th January, 1930. The High Court concurred with the judgement of the Sessions Court.

Hunger strike

Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh was taken to the notorious Mianwali Jail in the undivided Punjab, to which he was transferred immediately after his conviction in the Assembly-Bomb case. Later, he was shifted to the Lahore Central Jail for his trial in Saunders Murder case, which later came to be known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case.

In Mianwali Jail Bhagat Singh soon came into contact with political prisoners, who were also undergoing life imprisonment in connection with their participation in the Ghadr" movement of 1914-15, Martial Law Agitation and Babbar Akali Movement. From them, he learnt and saw for himself the atrocities committed on the political prisoners.

While in jail, on the 15th June, 1929 Bhagat Singh and other prisoners launched a hunger strike advocating for the rights of prisoners and undertrials. The reasons for the strike was that British murderers and thieves were treated better than Indian political prisoners, who, by law, were meant to be given better rights. Their aims in their strike was to ensure a decent standard of food for political prisoners, the availability of books and a daily newspaper, as well as better clothing and the supply of toilet necessities and other hygienic necessities.

To acquaint the authorities with their demands and to get their redress, Bhagat Singh sent the following application on, dated 27th June, 1929, to the Inspector-General, Punjab Jails, Lahore, Through the Superintendent, Mianwali District Jail.

"I have been sentenced to transportation for life, in the connection with the Assembly-Bomb Case, and am obviously a political prisoner. we were given a special diet in the Delhi Jail, but since my arrival here I am being treated as an ordinary criminal. Therefore I have gone on hunger strike since the morning of 15th June 1929. In these two or three days my weight has decreased by 6 lbs compared with what it was in Delhi Jail".Italic text

He also demanded that political prisoners should not be forced to do any labour or undignified work. [8] During this hunger strike that lasted 63 days and ended with the British succumbing to his wishes, he gained much popularity among the common Indians. Before the strike his popularity was limited mainly to the Punjab region. [9]

Trial for the Saunders murder

Shortly after his arrest and trial for the Assembly bombing, the British came to know of his involvement in the murder of J. P. Saunders. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder. Bhagat Singh decided to use the court as a tool to publicize his cause for the independence of India. He admitted to the murder and made statements against the British rule during the trial. The case was ordered to be carried out without Bhagat Singh and his comrades present at the hearing. This created an uproar amongst Singh's supporters as he could no longer publicise his views.

Death Sentence and Execution

On the 7th October, 1930 the day the sentence was pronounced by the Special Tribunal, Bhagat Singh was not present in the court. Therefore to read you the sentence, the State advocate along with the Superintendent came to the barracks in the jail where Bhagat Singh and his co-workers were sitting. Addressing Bhagat Singh, he said "Sardar Bhagat Singh, very sorry the court has awarded you the death sentence". To which Bhagat Singh replied, "there is no need to feel sorry, and quoted Bhagat Kabir"

Jis marne te jag dare, mere man anand. Marne te hi paye pooran parmanand.

Then the superintendent asked Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Raj Guru to move to Cell No 14. Cell No 14 in the Central Jail, Lahore, was the one where the prisoners sentence to death were kept till their hanging. The prisoners were to stay in that cell day and night.

After the pronouncement of death sentence, the legal battle was not over. The Defence Council, which was composed of prominent public men, including leaders like Lala Dhuni Chanda and Dr Gopi Chand, this Council decided that a petition for leave to appeal be sent to Privy Council. Accordingly, it applied to the Privy Council for leave to appeal with a view first, to challenging the legality of the Ordinance, and secondly, to spread the knowledge of india's fight for freedom in countries abroad. On the 10th February, 1931, that petition was rejected by the Privy Coucil. The rejection could not damp the enthusiasm of the people and their leaders. on the 14th February, 1931, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya submitted an appeal to the Viceroy, requesting him to use his prerogative of mercy in commuting the sentences to transportation for life on the grounds of humanity. On 16th February, 1931, Messrs Jiwan Lal. Baljit and Sham Lall moved a writ of Habeas Corpus in the High Court challenging the legality of their detention and proposed execution of the death sentences on the grounds that the original date of execution (some time in October 1930) having passed and the Tribunal had ceased to exist. But that writ was turned down on the 20th February, 1931. Mahatma Gandhi also raised the question commutation of the death sentences of Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev with Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India, during their conversation in February and March 1931. The Viceroy, however, did not agree, though he had the right to commute the sentences. He expressed his inability to help, Mahatma Gandhi did not make it a condition of the settlement, though he could have done it. He felt that it was not in the larger interests of the country. In that connection, Gandhi himself wrote in his Young India, "I might have made the commutation a term of the settlement. It could not be so made. The Working Committee had agreed with me in not making the commutation a condition precedent to truce. I could, therefore, only mention it. "It shows that if the Mahatma Gandhi had wished, he could have insisted and got their commutation agreed to. But a leader who could go to the extent of stating to the Viceroy, that " if the boys should be hanged, they had better be hanged before the Congress (Karachi) Session, than after it", could hardly be expected to secure the commutation of the death sentences of Bhagat Singh and his comrades. It will not be out of place to mention here that Mahatma Gandhi even refused to co-operate with the prominent leaders in the matter of raising a memorial to the three after their execution. On being approached by the All India Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev Memorial Committee, Lahore to assist in raising a memorial to those three national heros, he replied to the General Secretary of the Committee,:



On March 23, 1931 Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. His supporters, who had been protesting against the hanging, immediately declared him as a shaheed or martyr. Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on banks of Sutlej river. Today, the Bhagat Singh Memorial commemorates freedom fighters of India.

Ideals and Opinions

Bhagat Singh Memorial

Marxism

Bhagat Singh's political thought evolved gradually from Gandhian nationalism to revolutionary Marxism. By the end of 1928, he and his comrades renamed their organization the [[Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. He had read the teachings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin and believed that, with such a large and diverse population, India could only survive properly under a socialist regime.

These ideals had been introduced to him during his time at the National College at Lahore and he believed that India should re-enact the Russian revolution. In the case that India were not socialist, he believed that the rich would only get richer and the poor would only get poorer. This, and his aggressive stance of violence, put him at odds with Gandhi and members of the Congress. He became the first socialist leader in India to make any gain. Even today, socialist leaders sometimes refer back to him as the founder of Indian socialism. [10][11]

Atheism

While in a condemned cell in 1931, he wrote a pamphlet entitled Why I am an Atheist in which he discusses and advocates the philosophy of atheism. This pamphlet was a result of some criticism by fellow revolutionaries on his failure to acknowledge religion and God while in a condemned cell, the accusation of vanity was also dealt with in this pamphlet. He supported his own beliefs and claimed that he used to be a firm believer in The Almighty, but could not bring himself to believe the myths and beliefs that others held close to their hearts. In this pamphlet, he acknowledged the fact that religion made death easier, but also said that unproven philosophy is a sign of human weakness.[12]

Death

Bhagat Singh was known for his fearlessness of death and his appreciation of martyrdom. His mentor as a young boy was Kartar Singh Sarabha and he eventually was hanged for avenging the death of martyr Lala Lajpat Rai. In the leaflet he threw in the Central Assembly on 8th April 1929, he stated that It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived.[13] He hoped his death would inspire the youth of India to unite and fight the British Empire.

Bhagat Singh and Mahatma Gandhi

Bhagat Singh and his militant|militaristic methods contrasted with Mahatma Gandhi's pacifist methods in the Indian independence movement, much as the militaristic methods of Malcolm X contrasted with the pacifism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the American civil rights movement.

To this day, there is an active public debate in India as to whether independence was ultimately the result of Singh's methods, Gandhi's methods, or a combination thereof. Some also wonder if independence could have come faster if the Indian National Congress had adopted Singh's methods in addition to Gandhi's.

A small but vocal minority of Singh's supporters also accuse Gandhi of being responsible for his death. Some believe that Gandhi could have stopped Singh's execution had he so desired, but chose not to so that he could have total control over the independence movement. Others accuse Gandhi of actually working with the British to arrange Singh's execution.

Both accusations, especially the latter, are hotly contested. Gandhi's supporters say that he did not have enough influence with the British to stop the execution, much less arrange it. Furthermore, Gandhi's supporters assert that Singh's role in the independence movement was no threat to Gandhi's role as its leader, and so Gandhi would have no reason to want him dead.

Gandhi, during his lifetime, always maintained that he was a great admirer of Singh's patriotism, but that he simply disapproved of his violent methods. He also said that he was opposed to Singh's execution (and, for that matter,capital punishment in general) and proclaimed that he had no power to stop it. On Singh's execution, Gandhi said, "The government certainly had the right to hang these men. However, there are some rights which do credit to those who possess them only if they are enjoyed in name only,"[14] a statement that many see as evidence of Gandhi's opposition to Singh's execution and that others see as only a mild chiding of the British government by a man who supported the execution. However, Gandhi also once said, on capital punishment, "I cannot in all conscience agree to anyone being sent to the gallows. God alone can take life because He alone gives it."

Many Indians today consider themselves supporters of both Singh and Gandhi[citation needed], considering them both to be well-intentioned men with different ideologies on how to attain a common goal, namely the independence of India.Template:Cn

Conspiracy theories

Many conspiracy theories exist regarding Singh, especially the events surrounding his death. One of the most popular ones is that Gandhi had an opportunity to stop Singh's execution but did not. This particular theory has spread amongst the public in modern times after the creation of modern films such as The Legend of Bhagat Singh, which portrayed Gandhi as someone who was strongly at odds with Bhagat Singh and did not oppose his hanging.[15]

On October 28, 2005, a book entitled Some Hidden Facts: Martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh -- Secrets unfurled by an Intelligence Bureau Agent of British-India sic by K.S. Kooner and G.S. Sindhra was released. The book asserts that Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were deliberately hanged in such a manner as to leave all three in a semi-conscious state, so that all three could later be taken outside the prison and shot dead by the Saunders family. The book says that this was a prison operation codenamed "Operation Trojan Horse." Scholars are skeptical of the book's claims.[16]

Legacy

Bhagat Singh

Marxism in India

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) itself acknowledges Bhagat Singh's contribution to Indian society [10][11] and, in particular, the future of socialism in India. He also was instrumental in bringing independence to India earlier.

In 1930, the Indian National Congress were lobbying for dominion status, such as which was granted to Sri Lanka in 1947. However, Bhagat Singh's movement forced the Congress to rethink what the Indian public wants, and changed its bid to one of Total Independence. Bhagat Singh's death had the effect that he desired and he inspired thousands of youths to assist the remainder of the Indian independence movement. After his hanging, youths in regions around Northern India rioted in protest against the British Raj and also against the indifference of the Congress.

Portrayal in popular media

Several popular Bollywood films have been made capturing the life and times of Bhagat Singh.

The most successful was Shaheed in 1965, starring Manoj Kumar as Singh.

Two major films about Singh were released in 2002, 23 March 1931: Shaheed and The Legend of Bhagat Singh. 23 March 1931: Shaheed was directed by Guddu Dhanoa and starred Bobby Deol as Singh, with Sunny Deol and Aishwarya Rai co-starring. The Legend of Bhagat Singh is Rajkumar Santoshi's adaptation, in which Ajay Devgan played Singh and Amrita Rao was featured in a brief role. But owing to proximity of release of both films, neither one could obtain popular success.

The 2006 film Rang De Basanti (starring Aamir Khan) is a film drawing parallels between revolutionaries of Bhagat Singh's era and modern Indian youth. It covers a lot of Bhagat Singh's role in the Indian freedom struggle. The movie revolves around a group of college students and how they each play the roles of Bhagat's friends and family.

The patriotic Urdu and Hindi songs, Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna (translated as "the desire to sacrifice") and Mera Rang De Basanti Chola (my saffron-colored cloak; saffron referring to the Sikh color of sacrifice) are largely associated to Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and have been used in a number of Bhagat Singh-related films.

Statement of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt

This statement was read in the court on the 6th June 1930 by Mr Asif Ali on behalf of Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt "We stand charged with certain serious offences, and at this stage, it is but right that we must explain our conduct. In this connection, the following questions arise : 1. Were the bombs thrown into the chamber, and if so , why ? 2. Is the charge, as framed by the lower court, correct or otherwise ?

   To the first half of first question, our reply is in the affirmative, but since some of the so-called eyewitnesses have perjured themselves and since we are no denying our liability to that extent, let our statement about them be judged for what it is worth. By way of an illustration, we may point out that the evidence of Sergent Terry regarding the seizure of the pistol from one of us is deliberate falsehood, for neither of us had the pistol at the time we gave ourselves up. Other witnesses, too, who have deposed to having seen bombs being thrown by us have not scrupled to tell lies. This fact had its own moral for those who aim at judicial purity and fairplay.
    At the same time, we acknowledge the fairness of the Public Prosecutor and the judicial attitude of the court so far.     

Honoured by India

Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s statue outside Parliament House, Delhi.
Main article: Bhagat Singh’s statue in Indian Parliament

On August 15, 2008 in New Delhi, India, an important ceremony was held to unveil a huge statue of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s. This now proudly stands just outside Parliament House in courtyard number 5 in New Delhi

Its been nearly 80 years since Bhagat Singh dropped a small bomb onto the floor of Parliament House's Central Assembly Hall to “make the deaf hear”. Today, to celebrate India's day of Independence, a cause to which Bhagat Singh had dedicated his life, the larger than life statue (18 feet/6 metres high) was unveiled by President of India, Pratibha Patil, to a long deserved welcome.

Relatives of the Martyr, his nephews Kiranjit Singh, Abhay Sandhu, Zorawar Singh and his niece Verinder Sandhu, were the special guests for the day, as many of the country's top leaders gathered to honor the freedom fighter, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani and some Union Ministers and MPs.

Further Honor

Nawanshahr, District has had its name changed to honor Shaheed Bhagat Singh

See: Nawanshahr, District Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar

See also

External links

  • ^ Communist Party of India (Marxist)
  • ^ Jang: Pakistan's Number One News Source
  • ^ Bhagat Singh Biography
  • ^ Martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh
  • ^ Bhagat Singh Documents Problems of the Punjab
  • ^ Bhagat Singh remembered - Daily Times Pakistan
  • ^ Shahid Bhagat Singh Writings Leaflet Thrown in the Central Assembly Hall
  • ^ Bhagat Singh Documents Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt's Demands from the British Government
  • ^ Communist Party of India (Marxist) Bhagat Singh Remains Our Symbol of Revolution
  • ^ a b http://pd.cpim.org/2006/0319/03192006_surjeet.htm
  • ^ a b Communist Party of India 25th January 2006, letter to Manmohan Singh
  • ^ Why I am an Atheist: Bhagat Singh (People's Publishing House, New Delhi, India)
  • ^ Bhagat Singh Documents Leaflet thrown in the Central Assembly Hall, New Delhi
  • ^ Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. Ahmedabad, Navjivan. vol. 45, p.359-61 (Gujarati)
  • ^ The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002 film)
  • ^ The Sunday Tribune Was Bhagat Singh shot dead?