Rishabh Srivastava - Profile
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Awareness, History, Society
Awareness, History, Patriotism, Society
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2007 is the birth centenary of the legendary Bhagat Singh. He is the symbol of heroism for the lively youth of India. Despite Bhagat Singh being in the hearts of the people, we do not have a proper memorial for the great martyr.
BHAGAT SINGH was one of the most prominent heroes of the Indian freedom struggle and was a revolutionary ahead of his times. Bhagat Singh was born in the village Banga in Layalpur district of Punjab (now in Pakistan) in a Sikh family on 27 September 1907 & was the third son of Sardar Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. Bhagat Singh’s family was actively involved in the freedom struggle. His uncle Ajit Singh and father Kishan Singh were members of the Ghadar Party founded in the US to oust British rule from India.
In 1916, the young Bhagat Singh came into contact with well known political leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Rash Bihari Bose. At that time, he used to study at the local DAV School, in Lahore. Those days, Punjab was very charged politically. When the Jaliawalan Bagh massacre took place in 1919, Bhagat Singh was only 12 years old and was deeply disturbed by it. The day after the massacre, Bhagat Singh went to Jaliawalan Bagh and collected the soil from the spot and kept it as a memento for the rest of his life. The cruel killings strengthened his resolve to drive out the British from India.
From 1923, to the time of his execution, in 1931, he devoted himself completely to the liberation of the motherland. He gave a new direction to revolutionary movement in India and formed the “Naujavan Bharat Sabha” to spread the message of revolution in Punjab. He formed the “Hindustan Samajwadi Prajatantra Sangha” along with the great Chandrasekhar Azad to establish a republic in India. Bhagat Singh killed police officer Saunders to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. He dropped two bombs in Central Legislative Assembly along with Batukeshwar Dutt. The bombs were thrown in such a way that they did not hurt anyone. After that, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, deliberately courted arrest by refusing to run away from the scene.
Meanwhile, friends of Bhagat Singh who turned ‘approvers’ identified the killers of Saunders. During his trial, Bhagat Singh refused to employ any defence counsel. In jail, he went on hunger strike to protest the inhuman treatment of fellow political prisoners by jail authorities. On 7 October 1930, Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru were awarded death sentence by a special tribunal. Despite great popular pressure and numerous appeals by political leaders of India, Bhagat Singh and his associates were hanged on March 23 1931.
Bhagat Singh and his compatriots shook the British Empire and their views infused an aggressive spirit in the struggle for independence. The fear of Bhagat Singh among the British was such, that even after executing him along with Sukhdev and Rajguru, the jail authorities cut their bodies into pieces and stuffed them in jute bags. The bags were burnt on the banks of River Sutlej quietly to prevent outrage against the British government on seeing the bodies of martyrs.
Besides being a nationalist to his core, Bhagat Singh was a socialist and a republican. “Labour is the real sustainer of society. The sovereignty of the people is the ultimate destiny of workers. For these ideals and for this faith we shall welcome any suffering to which we may be condemned”. This brings out Bhagat Singh not as a terrorist, which his prosecutors laboured to prove him unsuccessfully. He was a socialist, and a democrat – all in one.
Bhagat Singh is dead; yet he lives on. He is idolised by youngsters who want to bring about change in society. Bhagat Singh still lives on in our hearts, thanks to films like ‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh’ and ‘Rang De Basanti’. The latter revived the spirit of Bhagat Singh. Generation X awoke from its slumber and came together to demand justice for Priyadarshini Mattoo, Jessica Lal and against reservations. They learnt speaking for themselves. They also fought against unfavourable amendments in the Right to Information Act. It seems this generation has now awakened and it’s the beginning of a new era where the youth is breathing rebellion. I would like to conclude with a quote from Bhagat Singh’s jail notebook:
I also wish my friends to speak little or not at all about me, because idols are created when men are praised, and this is very bad for the future of the human race. Acts alone, no matter by whom committed, ought to be studied, praised or blamed. Let them be praised in order that they may be imitated when they seem to contribute to the common wealth. Let them be censured when they are regarded as injurious to the general well being, so that they may not be repeated.
I desire that on no occasion whether near or remote, nor for any reason whatsoever, shall demonstration of a political or religious character be made before my remains, as I consider the time devoted to the dead would be better employed in improving the conditions of the living most of whom stands in great need of this.
Let us pay our rich tributes to the martyrs and learn and follow the path of these great souls.