23rd March 1931 the Martyrdom of Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh photographed in prison

We in the West tend to recall only the great Mahatma Gandhi when we think of India’s long and gruelling fight for freedom from the British Raj. But today we pay tribute to another extraordinary Indian Independence revolutionary – Bhagat Singh – of whom Gandhi himself wrote: “There has never been, within living memory, so much romance round any life as has surrounded that of him.” Indeed, it is in no way surprising to discover that the brief but stellar life of this Indian icon has been Bollywooded not just once but several times. Born into a family of radicals, revolution was fed to him with his mother’s milk while his father and uncles were jailed as participants in the pro-liberation Ghadar Movement during World War One. At the age of 12, Singh’s revolutionary destiny was sealed after he ran away from school to visit the site of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre – where British Indian Army officers without warning or provocation shot and killed nearly 400 unarmed men, women and children. By the age of 16 – fuelled by the ideas of Marx, Engels and Bakunin – Singh developed a socialist and secular vision for India which extended beyond mere freedom towards nation-building and the removal of the caste system. After several years at the forefront of the underground armed struggle for independence, Singh became a national hero when he threw a bomb in the Central Legislative Council in Delhi in 1929 in protest of the repressive Public Safety Bill. As intended, nobody was hurt; the goal was to “make the deaf hear.” Bhagat Singh could easily have escaped but allowed himself to be arrested in order to use his court appearances as a revolutionary platform. With courageous and powerful speeches in the court that bore little relevance to his own defense, he articulated his vision for a free India – enduring prison persecution, hunger strikes, forced-feeding and violent beatings in order to give voice to his self-proclaimed “people’s movement.” Sentenced to life imprisonment, Singh was subsequently tried – along with two fellow revolutionaries – for the killing of a police officer two years earlier. Conducted by a special tribunal fraught with violations of due process, the farcical trial ended in death sentences. Singh refused to move a mercy petition and he and his two young comrades were hanged in Lahore Jail on 23rd March 1931. He was 23 years old.

Eight decades after Bhagat Singh’s execution, there has been a resurgence of his popularity in India amidst the current political backlash. India’s Independence movement was never solely confined to wresting power; the struggle for emancipation advocated self-reliance rather than foreign dependence, community and equality rather than division and disparity. But as India careens evermore into the reptilian folds of capitalism, it is deeply unfortunate that – unlike Nelson Mandela – Bhagat Singh did not survive to usher in its new era of independence.

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15 Responses to 23rd March 1931 – the Martyrdom of Bhagat Singh

  1. Ray says:

    He was or is THE PRIDE of india.

  2. Bhawandeep singh dhunna says:

    sardar bhagat singh is hero of our country

  3. Rajnikant thakur says:

    Bhagat Singh is real hero of nation.

  4. kartik says:

    the true martyr of india…. salute to this great soul.

  5. maryam says:

    Not only the hero of india but the whole sub-continent, salute to him

  6. Akash says:

    Not only the hero of india but the whole sub-continent, salute to him….Vande Matram……..enklap jindabaad…. <3

  7. shep says:

    One addition: Mandela eventually joined the persecutors. He was no Bhagat Singh in the end.

  8. It takes a plethora of courage to submit one’s life to the cause of freedom….. Its hard to comprehend, in this very decade,all the pain that has gone into freeing a nation…but when one reads through the great lives, as of our martyrs….. it send a ripple across the thoughts, eventually urging me to scream the fact that i am proud to be an Indian… a nation that had the most heroic freedom fighters ever…… I reverence them, our golden histort…… for I am free because of their sacrifices……… Inqalab Jindabad.

  9. Aasma says:

    “Leave sentimentalism aside. Be prepared to face the facts. Revolution is a very difficult task
    http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/23-march-1931-bhagat-singh-indian-revolutionary-died

  10. pramod kumar says:

    REAL HERO…..I SALUTE HIM…JAI HIND

  11. Rakshith K G says:

    Bhagat Singh, Shivram Hari Rajguru and Sukdev Thapar were hanged to death on this day. They still live in our hearts and forever will. Inquilab Zindabad – Long live revolution. Vande Mataram.

  12. mother says:

    He is pride for every Indian.

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