Shaheed Bhagat Singh
Part of: GS-Prelims GS-I – Personalities in Indian national movements
In News: PM pays tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his Jayanti
- Member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association
- Defined nation and nationalism: At a young age, Bhagat Singh defined nation and nationalism for us.
- On Universal Brotherhood: At age 17, he published his first article (in 1924) in Matwala, a Hindi magazine from Calcutta. The subject was ‘Universal Brotherhood’.
- He imagined a world where “all of us being one and none is the other. It will really be a comforting time when the world will have no strangers.”
- He emphatically exclaimed that “as long as words like black and white, civilized and uncivilized, ruler and the ruled, rich and poor, touchable and untouchable, etc., are in vogue there was no scope for universal brotherhood”.
- He went on to say, “We will have to campaign for equality and equity. Will have to punish those who oppose the creation of such a world.”
(Today, when many are busy “othering” and creating strangers out of their own fellow citizens need to grapple with Bhagat Singh’s views, instead of merely glorifying him as a martyr.)
Strongest critique of untouchability and communalism:
- He wrote series of articles on ‘Anarchism’ and was fiercely frank and bold enough to critically comment on the politics of senior leaders such as Lala Lajpat Rai and express his differences.
- He was also conscious of the international revolutionary struggles and ideologies.
- He was aghast that we claimed to be a spiritual country, yet discriminated against fellow human beings while the materialist West had done away with such inhuman obscenities long ago.
(Even today, untouchability and communalism continue to torment us as a nation.)
- Bhagat Singh steadfastly remained committed to the idea of a plural and inclusive India.
- He founded the Naujawan Bharat Sabha in Lahore in 1926, whose manifesto said, “Religious superstitions and bigotry are a great hindrance in our progress. They have proved an obstacle in our way and we must do away with them. ‘The thing that cannot bear free thought must perish’.”
- In 1928, Bhagat Singh was acutely conscious of the divisiveness of mixing religion with politics.
- He wrote – “If religion is separated from politics, then all of us can jointly initiate political activities, even though in matters of religion we might have many differences with each other. We feel that the true well-wishers of India would follow these principles and save India from the suicidal path it is on at present.”
- He even had authored masterly essay, ‘Why I am an Atheist’. Bhagat Singh observed: “Our retrogressive thinking is destroying us. We keep ourselves entangled in futile discussions about God and heaven, and remain busy in talking about the soul and God. We are quick to dub Europe as capitalist and don’t think about their great ideas or pay any attention to them. We love divinity and remain aloof from the world.”
(Even today, many continue to peddle religion to promote political prospects.)
Thus we can see here the evolution of his ideas on politics, society, religion and even faith in god.
- The lessons from the lives of these revolutionaries remain as relevant today as they were during the independence movement.
- Their lives are proof that one is never too young to be politically aware, to educate oneself about the truth of the world at large, and to actively play a role in shaping the society one wants to live in.
- In these rancorous times, Bhagat Singh’s intellectual bequest should be a beacon to build a new India
News Source: PIB
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