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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Only the mighty dares................


BHAGAT SINGH                                                                                                                SUKHDEV 
Today is the death anniversary of three of the most heroic figures of the Indian freedom struggle.
Few people remember it though. The Free Press Journal in its issue of 24th march 1931 wrote “Sardar Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev live no longer. In their death lies their victory, let there be no mistaking it. The bureaucracy has annihilated the mortal frame. The nation has assimilated the immortal spirit. Thus shall Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev live eternally to the dismay of the bureaucracy……… To the nation, Bhagat Singh and colleagues will ever remain the symbol of martyrdom in the cause of freedom.”
The most famous of them was Bhagat Singh, today I think more people relate to Bhagat than Gandhi. Bhagat Singh was born in a Sikh family in village Banga in Layalpur District of Punjab(Now in Pakistan) on September 27th , 1907. He was the third son of Sardar   Kishan Singh & Vidyavati. His father Sardar Kishan Singh and Uncle Ajit Singh were members of the GHADAR PARTY. So patriotism flowed in his vanes from childhood.

(From left) Bhagat Singh's father Kishan Singh; grandfather Sardar Arjun Singh; and uncle Ajit Singh who was involved with the Ghadar movement and exiled from India for 40 years.

In 1919, when Jaliawala massacre took place Bhagat Singh was only 12 & the massacre had disturbed him deeply and also it strengthened his resolve to drive the Britishers out of India. In response to the Gandhi’s call to participate in the Non Cooperation movement in 1920-21 he left his school and actively participated in the movement in 1922. But when Gandhi withdrew the Non Cooperative movement on Feb 22nd ,1922 due to a mob of people who at chauri-chaura (near Gorakhpur) clashed with police and burnt 22 policemen on Feb. 5th, 1922(CHAURI - CHAURA INCIDENT), weakened Bhagat’s belief in Non – violence and he came to the conclusion that armed revolution was the only way of gaining freedom. Then he joined the National Collage in Lahore which was then the hub for revolutionary activities and there he came into contact with revolutionaries such as Bhagawati Charan, Sukhdev and others.
In October, 1924 a meeting of revolutionaries from all parts of India was called at Kanpur. The meeting was attended by old revolutionary leaders like Sachindra Nath Sanyal, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee and Ram Prasad Bismil and some young revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Shiv Verma, Sukhdev, Bhagawati charan Vohra and Chandrashekhar Azad.  They setup HINDUSTAN SOCIALIST REPUBLIC ASSOCIATION/ARMY (HSRA). Their objectives were:
·         To raise the consciousness of people against the futility of Gandhian movement of non – violence
·         To perform direct action and revolution to attain complete independence (pooran sawaraj).
·         To setup a republic of the United States Of India on the federal structure.
They carried out a dacoity on the Kakori bound train on the Saharanpur – Lucknow railway line on Aug 9th, 1925. The conspirators were later arrested and hanged (Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla, Roshan Lal and Rajendra Lahiri). On December 17th, 1928 Bhagat Singh with his colleagues shot dead Saunders (Asstt.S.P. of Lahore, who ordered lathi charge at a rally which was headed by lala Lajpat Rai). Then Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb in the central assembly on April 8th, 1929. Thus a case was registered against Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru and was popularly known as the LAHORE CONSPIRACY CASE. They were trilled for two years and were found guilty thus were hanged on March 23rd, 1931 at Lahore jail and their bodies were cremated at Hussainiwala near ferozpur.   
Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev acquired the status of living legends even in their brief lifetime. This is confirmed by the fact that the Britishers clandestinely advanced the hanging of the three Martyr’s fearing the public outrage. But they never bowed to anything that the Britishers threw at the brave men in the two years of imprisonment. They didn’t walked, but marched to death with smile. When hangman asked them to pray before death they said “ We have neither fear of death nor belief in God”. In terms of political belief, while firmly abjuring ‘the cult of the bomb and the pistol’, as Bhagat  Singh himself notes, they chose to throw the bomb at the assembly and murder Saunders with a pistol under a firm belief that these actions will galvanize the youth to seek freedom.
The loss of these martyrs’s is one of the greatest tragedies the people of India ever faced. It’s the nature of colonialism and imperialism to cause such tragedies. But the people do avenge these crimes by yet more ferocious struggles against imperialism, if not today, then tomorrow. Our task is to keep the memories of our martyrs fresh and by doing so we prepare the victories of tomorrow

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