Real Heroes
The life history of Saheed Bhagat Singh in this short biography
Category : Real Heroes
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Bhagat Singh
Shaheed Bhagat Singh did not live long. In fact Bhagat Singh was all of 24 years when he was sent to the gallows along with fellow comrades Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar. But during this short span, Bhagat Singh shone like a gleaming meteor in the Indian sky and inspired millions with his heroic battle against the oppressive British regime.
Born into a Sikh family of revolutionary leaders, it was only a matter of time before Bhagat Singh plunged into the struggle for freedom. From an early age he was influenced by socialist ideology and his embracing of armed struggle had as much to do with the success of socialist revolutions elsewhere in the world as with his disillusionment with the prevalent political leadership. He read extensively and wielded a powerful pen. 
A great organizer, Bhagat Singh united the restless youth of the day under the aegis of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and gave a direction to the fledgling armed struggle. Even though he could not achieve freedom for India, Bhagat Singh`s martyrhood stirred up the nation and inspired millions of Indian youth to fight against British oppression. While the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress are usually credited for India`s independence, the sacrifices made by Bhagat Singh and his comrades too are glorious chapters in India`s history.

Bhagat Singh vs. Mahatma Gandhi 
Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, two titans of the Indian freedom movement and inspirational leaders who laid down their lives while seeking emancipation for their countrymen. Committed as they were towards the goal of India`s freedom from British rule, the means they adopted were as different as chalk and cheese. While one spearheaded a civil disobedience movement founded on the principles of nonviolence and Satyagraha, the other waged a revolutionary armed struggle laced with violence towards the British regime.
As a young lad, Bhagat Singh actively took part in the non-cooperation movement and was an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi. He earnestly believed that India would indeed gain freedom under Gandhi`s leadership. But when Gandhi called off the movement following the Chauri Chaura riot in 1922, Bhagat Singh became disenchanted with Gandhism and gradually veered towards the tenets of armed revolutionary struggle. Prior to his arrest and subsequent execution, Bhagat Singh led many a valiant attacks against the British machinery. 
The pre-eminence of Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh in Indian freedom movement and their distinctly different approaches have spawned many controversies and even conspiracy theories. Most of these stem from Gandhi and the Indian National Congress` alleged failure to prevent Bhagat Singh`s execution despite enjoying substantial clout with the British government. In fact a number of recent Bollywood movies like `Shaheed Bhagat Singh` are replete with subtle insinuations that Gandhi indeed could have done more to save Bhagat Singh`s life.
But Gandhi was an admirer of Bhagat Singh and publicly applauded his patriotism on many occasions. The Mahatma in fact wrote to the Viceroy pleading with him to commute the death sentence of Singh and his accomplices.
Bhagat Singh in Jail:
The fearless soul that he was, Bhagat Singh was not a man to be deterred by the fear of police atrocities or long stretches of imprisonment. After exploding bombs in the Central Assembly on April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh voluntarily courted arrest along with comrade Batukeshwar Dutt. From that moment onwards, Bhagat Singh was never to set his feet again outside the prison confines as a free man. He was sentenced to transportation for life and when the police got an inkling of his involvement in the Lahore Conspiracy case, Bhagat was charged with the murder of DSP Saunders. 
Once inside the jail, Bhagat Singh was left aghast at the shoddy treatment meted out to the Indian political prisoners. He and Batukeshwar Dutt launched a hunger strike demanding equal rights for Indian and British prisoners and an overall improvement of the plight of the prisoners and undertrials. Soon other Indian prisoners too joined the strike and thus ensued an inspirational saga of human endurance and courage that stirred the conscience of the entire nation. Despite police brutality and repeated attempts of forced feeding, the strikers led by Bhagat Singh carried on their fast for 63 days at the end of which the government had to yield to their demands. 
An avid reader, Bhagat Singh spent the long period of incarceration reading socialist literature. Not only did he read, he also penned down his thoughts in a note book. Bhagat Singh`s 404-page jail diary is replete with his ideas, philosophy and his dreams for the country.

Life of Bhagat Singh

One of the most inspirational icons of the Indian freedom struggle, Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907 in the Khatkar Kalan village near Banga in the Lyallpur district of Punjab. Born into a Sikh family with a proud legacy of revolutionary activities against the British rule, Bhagat Singh cultivated his revolutionary zeal from a tender age. 

The notorious Jalianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 left an indelible scar on the mind of Bhagat Singh and soon he took up the membership of the youth organization Naujawan Bharat Sabha. Apart from mingling with noted revolutionaries such as Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh worked relentlessly to garner opposition against the British. 
In 1928, when the Simon Commission came to India, it was met with peaceful protests all over the country. During one such protest march in Lahore on October 30, veteran leader Lala Lajpat Rai was mercilessly beaten up by police chief Scott and Lala later succumbed to the fatal injuries. Bhagat Singh, who witnessed this macabre incident, hatched a conspiracy to kill Scott but in an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, DSP J.P. Saunders fell to the revolutionaries` bullets instead of the police chief. 
Bhagat Singh went into hiding to escape prosecution, but when the British government enacted the draconian Defence of India Act, Bhagat and his comrades at the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association again planned to detonate a bomb in the assembly where the ordinance was going to be passed. As per the plot, on April 8, 1929, Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt stormed inside the court and threw bombs onto the corridors of the assembly shouting "Inquilab Zindabad." Both Singh and Dutt voluntarily courted arrest and they were sentenced to ` Transportation for Life` for the incident. 

But soon the British got wind of Bhagat Singh`s involvement in the killing of Saunders and along with Sukhdev and Rajguru, he was charged with murder. True to his fearless soul, Bhagat Singh owned responsibility of the murder and justified the act in a fiery statement. After a farcical trial lasting five months, on March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev.

Philosophy of Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh was a visionary whose battles against the British were based on the foundation of the principles he staunchly believed in and cherished. Even though Bhagat took the plunge in the non-cooperation movement called by Gandhi at an early age, he soon became disenchanted with Gandhian philosophy and gradually embraced the socialist way of thought. Bhagat Singh`s 404 page jail diary, later published as `A Martyr`s Book,` offers a glimpse into the philosophy and thoughts of Bhagat Singh.  

Bhagat Singh was attracted to Marxism at a young age and the Russian Revolution of 1917 greatly kindled the revolutionary zeal running in his veins. He was greatly influenced by the thoughts of Marxist luminaries such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. After joining the Hindustan Republican Association, Bhagat Singh and his comrades rechristened the organization as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and partook in many revolutionary activities. Regarded as one of the earliest Marxists in India, Bhagat Singh envisioned a socialist India with equality for all. 
Bhagat Singh was a staunch atheist and he refused to acknowledge the existence of an omnipresent God. He opined that God is the imaginary creation of the man who is too conscious of his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings and each time he is confronted with trying circumstances or dangers, he conveniently takes recourse to this almighty God. 

Because of such extreme beliefs, Bhagat Singh was criticized as being arrogant and vain even by his fellow revolutionaries. During his period of incarceration in 1931, while waiting for the hangman`s noose, Bhagat Singh wrote a pamphlet entitled `Why I am an Atheist` to silence all the criticism.