On this day in history, Our country gave birth to a Great freedom fighter. With his skills and intelligence, he made Britishers feel unsafe. He fought and died for our independence. But as usual our country don’t know how to honour it’s Hero’s. He is none other than the Great Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh is considered one of the foremost revolutionaries in India’s struggle for freedom. He, in many ways, gave a direction and impetus to our freedom struggle through self supreme sacrifice and strategic planning that eventually made him a hero amongst millions of Indians. His name is still alive in the hearts of Indians.
Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907 in a Sikh family in the Khatkar Kalan village near Banga in the Lyallpur district (now Faislabad district) of erstwhile undivided Punjab. He was born in a patriotic family where many had participated in movements supporting the independence of India and had even served in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army. Unlike Sikhs of his time due to his grandfather’s faith in Hindu reformist movement of Arya Samaj propagated by Swami Dyanand Saraswati he did not attend the Khalsa High School in Lahore, his grandfather also disapproved loyalty of school officials to British authorities. He attended the DAV High School, in Lahore.
In 1923, Bhagat famously won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan and grabbed attention of many literary personalities especially Prof. Vidyalankar on whose advise he later joined the Hindustan Republican Association.
The Incident which drew him towards Revolution:
It was the year 1919. A very tragic event happened in India that year.British soldiers opened fire on a gathering in Jallianwala Bagh, and kept up the fire for quite some time. There was no way of escape for the people. Countless persons -grown-up men, women and little children -fell down dead. Blood flowed like a stream. The event caused terror and anger in the minds of people all over the country. The tragedy drew the attention of the entire world.
Bhagat Singh was then twelve years old; his mind was deeply disturbed by this event. The next day he did not return home after the school hours. His people at home waited and waited and grew anxious.
Instead of going to school, Bhagat Singh went straight to the place of the tragedy. Somehow managing to push through the police on guard, he went in. He collected a bottle of mud wet with the blood of Indians and returned home. Seeing that he was late, his younger sister said, “Where were you all this time? Mother has been waiting to give you something to eat.” But Bhagat Singh was not at all thinking of food. Showing the bottle in his hand, he said, “Look here. This is the blood of our people killed by the British. Salute this.”
Then he put the bottle in a niche a worshipped it with flowers.
The Plot to kill Saunders:
The British government created a commission under Sir John Simon to report on the current political situation in India in 1928 without a single Indian being its member. The Indian political parties boycotted the commission. On October 30, 1928, when the commission visited Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai led the non violent silent protest against Simon Commission. The police responded with violence and Lala Lajpat Rai was beaten with lathis and later succumbed to his injuries.
Bhagat Singh along with other revolutionaries, Shivaram Rajguru, Jai Gopal and Sukhdev Thapar, created a plot to kill the police chief, Scott but due to a communication error the Deputy Superintendent Saunders, instead of Scott, was shot. Bhagat Singh quickly left Lahore to escape from the police. To avoid recognition, he shaved his beard and cut his hair. This was a violation of the sacred tenets of Sikhism but to him nation was ahead of religion.
The Assembly bombing and Execution:
In the face of actions by the revolutionaries, the British government enacted the Defence of India Act to give more power to the police. In response to this act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly where the ordinance was going to be passed.
On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted “Inquilab Zindabad!” (“Long Live the Revolution!”). This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear. The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone; Singh and Dutt claimed that this was deliberate on their part; a claim substantiated both by British forensics investigators. Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb. He and Dutt were sentenced to ‘Transportation for Life’ for the bombing on June 12, 1929.
The trial of the accused commenced. In those days political prisoners were not treated properly in the jail. They were not given proper food. They were made to suffer in every possible way. Bhagat Singh and his companions decided to fight against the wretched conditions. Bhagat Singh was sure of being hanged. But he thought at least the other political. Prisoners could benefit. All the revolutionaries went on fast. They fasted for two months. Then the Government said it would consider their demands. Some gave up the fast. But Jatin Das did not. He did not listen to anybody. On the 64th day of his fast, he died. Bhagat Singh fasted for thirty-two days thereafter.
The trial of Bhagat Singh and his companions began; it drew the attention of the whole world. The court was heavily guarded by the police. No spectators were allowed inside the court. The prisoners were brought to the court in chains. They used to shout ‘Long Live Revolution I’ and only then enter the court hall.
Finally judgment was given. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were to be hanged; some were to undergo life imprisonment; some were to be kept in jail for five years, some for seven, some for ten years.
Bhagat Singh was to be hanged! When the news spread, the people all over the country were mad with rage. Thousands of appeals were sent to the Government, pleading that he should be saved. Several leaders of public life joined in the appeal. But all attempts failed. It was decided to hang them on the 24th of March 1931. Even the members of the prisoners’ families were not allowed to meet them. Moreover, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged a day before the appointed day, that is, on March 23rd.
Even on the day of their hanging they were fearless. They were cheerful. They com- peted with one another to be hanged first. It was decided that first Sukhdev would be hanged and then Bhagat Singh and finally Rajguru. All the three climbed the platform. Kissing the rope, they themselves put it round their neck. They died with the name of Bharat Mata on their lips. Such was the end of the three champions of freedom.
That day no one in the jail touched food. Everyone was in tears. The next day, not knowing that the three prisoners had already been hanged, their relatives came to meet them. But it was all over with them. The dead bodies of the martyrs had been secretly burnt on the bank of the river Sutlej. Getting a clue thousands of people raced to the spot; but only the ashes remained. The people sobbed, with the ashes in their hands.
All over the country tributes were paid to the heroes who fought for freedom and sacrificed their lives.Hundreds of songs were composed and sung about the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh. Even today, the heroic spirit of Bhagat Singh is an unfailing source of inspiration to the youth of the country. His courage, spirit of adventure and patriotism are an example to one and all.
The freedom and independence we are tasting today is all because of many Revolutionary Leaders. And Bhagat Singh is one among them.
Salute to this Great Leader.
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