Bhagat Singh was a prominent freedom fighter and an inspirational icon in the Indian freedom struggle. He gave a new direction to the National Movement against the British rule.
Bhagat Singh was born on 28th September 1907 at Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan) to a patriotic father, Kishan Singh who was in jail even at the time of his birth. His uncle, Sardar Ajit Singh was a great freedom fighter who established Indian Patriot’s Association.
Thus, patriotism was in his blood. He was associated with many revolutionary organizations and played a key role in the Indian Nationalist Movement. He is often called as “Shaheed Bhagat Singh” as the supporters and followers of this legendary accorded him the title of “Shaheed” meaning “Martyr” after he sacrificed his life for the nation. He became a prominent leader of the “Hindustan Social republican Association” in the year 1928.
Singh was greatly attracted towards Socialism and because of his inclination towards transformation of Indian Society post independence; he set the path for a political alternative which most revolutionaries didn’t think of. He had a clear vision and dedication of the purpose in accomplishment of his goals.
He completed his schooling at Dayanand Anglo Vedic High School. In D.A.V. School, Bhagat was influenced by his two of his teachers, Bhai Parmanand and Jai Chand Vidyalankar who were true nationalists and left an impression in Bhagat’s mind.
Bhagat Singh had very clear thoughts and openly defied British. He burnt the school books sponsored by the government and participated in Gandhiji’s Non-cooperation movement. He also supported Khadi and burnt foreign cloth. He left studies at the age of thirteen and joined the freedom struggle.
The tragic and violent incident of ”Chauri-Chaura” made Gandhi call off the Non- cooperation movement, as it had gone against his principles of non-violence or “Ahimsa”. Bhagat Singh associated himself with the Indian Revolutionary Movement after this. He expressed his unwillingness to marry when his parents tried to plan his marriage while he was pursuing B.A.
His only aim was to free India from the slavery of British. He established contacts with members of Kirti Kisan Party. He contributed regularly to the magazine “Kirti.” The Jalianwala Bagh tragedy in 1919 left a scar in Bhagat’s mind which leads to the formation of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha appointing Young Indians and became its Secretary in March, 1926.
Since his belief was in revolution to win freedom, he joined hands with Chandra Shekhar Azad who was a revolutionary. He continued to relentlessly work and form association with more and more revolutionaries to trigger the opposition against the British.
When Simon Commission came to India in February 1928, it was boycotted by Indians because the committee headed by Sir John Simon had no Indians in the deciding committee.
Lala Lajpat Rai, launched the “Simon go back” protest moving towards Lahore Railway Station and raised black flags to condemn a committee that was to decide freedom and responsibilities of Indians. Lalaji died after being hurt in a Lathi charge during the protest. Bhagat Singh along with Sukhdev and Rajguru, two other revolutionaries decided to avenge Lalaji’s death and assassinated Saunders, mistaking him for Scott, the police officer who had ordered the lathi to be charged on Lalaji. To escape the arrest he got his beard and hair cut in order to avoid any recognition. He and his other associated in the revolution learnt to make crude bombs from Jatinder Das Nath.
In 1926, he along with Kundan Lal and Azad planned to rescue the prisoners of Kakori Case, but they failed and exploded a bomb in Lahore on Dussehra the same year. But they were released due to lack of evidence. He even threw two bombs at the Central Legislative Assembly, with Bakuteshwar Dutt and shouted slogans of “Inquilab Zindabad” The intention of throwing the bomb was not to hurt or kill anyone and the only purpose was to express disagreement to the ordinance of the Defence of Indian Act that was to be formulated. Both of them surrendered following the blasts. He was also sentenced to 116 days in jail on account of these charges and continued to demand equal rights for Indian and British Prisoners in the jail. This helped him gain widespread national support.
Bhagat Singh along with Sukhdev and Rajguru was interrogated British Authority and convicted with the murder of J.P. Saunders. Singh was fearless and admitted the murder and even made accusations against the British rule during his trial for the murder.
Bhagat Singh openly opposed the discrimination that was made between the British and Indian prisoners and went against the dual policy of treatment. He even went on hunger strike with fellow prisoners to express resentment. British were forced to accept the demands and agree to their conditions, after a month of long strike. He was finally convicted with murder of Saunders and for the Assembly bomb attack and hence ordered death sentence along with revolutionaries Sukhdev and Rajguru.
On March 23, 1981, all three of them were hanged to death in Lahore. The cremation of Singh alone was done on the banks of Sutlej River in Hussainiwala.
Bhagat Singh is fondly remembered as “Shaheed-E-Azam” an infused spirits in the youth of slave India to become heroes and not fear anything when struggling for the nation. The courage that he exhibited was also a source of power for other freedom strugglers including Mahatma Gandhi to fight and win the freedom struggle. He had a keen mind and intellect that made him a leader in many revolutions.
Even though Bhagat didn’t believe in purely non-violent ways of achieving freedom, he also opposed terrorism and wanted the masses to mobilize the struggle.
The slogan of “Inquilab Zindabad” which was started by Bhagat later became the war cry in the struggle of Indian Independence.
People of India, still pay tribute to this great hero who readily gave up his life to pave the path for independence of his nation from foreign rulers. The nation celebrates his birth anniversary every year with great pride and fervor.