To avoid marriage, Bhagat Singh ran away from home and went to Kanpur. Here he came in contact with a revolutionary named Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi and learned the first lesson of revolution. When he got the news of his grandmother’s illness, Bhagat Singh returned home. He continued his revolutionary activities from his village itself. He went to Lahore and formed a revolutionary organization named ‘Naujawan Bharat Sabha’. He started spreading the message of revolution in Punjab. In the year 1928, he attended a meeting of revolutionaries in Delhi and came in contact with Chandrashekhar Azad. Together they formed the Hindustan Socialist Democratic Union. Its main objective was to establish a republic in India through armed revolution.
Revenge for Lajpat Rai’s death
In February 1928, a commission called Simon Commission from England visited India. The main objective of his visit to India was the autonomy of the people of India and participation in the monarchy. But there was no Indian member in this commission, due to which it was decided to oppose the Simon Commission. While raising slogans against the Simon Commission in Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai was brutally lathi-charged, in which he was badly injured and later died. Bhagat Singh resolved to kill the British officer Scott, who was responsible for his death, to avenge the death of Lajpat Rai. They killed Assistant Superintendent Saunders by mistake, mistaking it for Scott. Bhagat Singh had to leave Lahore to escape the death penalty.
Plan to throw bomb in Central Legislative Assembly
Instead of giving rights and freedoms to Indians and finding the root cause of discontent, the British government used more repressive policies. Through the Defense of India Act, the British government gave more repressive powers to the police. Under this, the police could stop the procession and arrest people related to suspicious activities. This act, which was brought in the Central Legislative Assembly, was defeated by one vote. Nevertheless, the British government decided to pass it as an ordinance, saying it was in the interest of the people.
Although Bhagat Singh was not in favor of bloodshed, he was completely influenced by the principles of Karl Marx. Not only this, he was also a staunch supporter of socialism. For this reason, he did not like the capitalists’ policy of exploitation towards the workers. At that time, since the British were omnipotent and very few Indian industrialists could progress, their opposition to the atrocities against the British workers was natural. It was their group’s decision not to let the anti-labour policies be passed in the British Parliament. Everyone wanted that the British should know that Indians have woken up and there is resentment in their hearts against such policies. To do this, he planned to throw a bomb in the Central Assembly of Delhi, where a meeting was being held to pass the ordinance.
It was a carefully crafted conspiracy that was not intended to kill or injure anyone, but to attract the attention of the government and show them that their methods of repression would no longer be tolerated.
According to the schedule, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb in the Legislative Assembly building during the Central Legislative Assembly session on 8 April 1929 in the Central Assembly. Both of them threw the bomb at a place where no one was present, otherwise he could get hurt. The whole hall was filled with smoke. Bhagat Singh could have run away if he wanted, but he had already thought that he would accept the punishment, even if he was hanged; So he refused to run away. At that time both of them were wearing khaki shirt and shorts. After the bomb exploded, he chanted “Inquilab-Zindabad, Imperialism-Murdabad!” and tossed the pamphlets he had brought with him in the air. Shortly after this the police arrived and both were arrested.
Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Raj Guru were hanged
On 7 October 1930, Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru were sentenced to death by a special court. Bhagat Singh and his two companions Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged on 23 March 1931, at around 7.33 pm, despite immense pressure and many appeals by all the political leaders of India. He was reading a biography of Lenin before he was hanged and when he was asked his last wish, he said that he was reading the biography of Lenin and that he should be given time to fulfill it. It is said that when the jail authorities informed him that the time for his execution had come, he said – “Wait! First one revolutionary should meet another.” Then after a minute the book was thrown towards the ceiling and said – “Okay now let’s go.”
While going to the gallows, all three of them were singing with fun –
My Rang De Basanti Chola, My Rang De, My Rang De Basanti Chola. My Rang De Basanti Chola.
His thoughts can be gauged from the letters and articles written by him during his jail days. He expressed grief over the distances in Indian society due to the script (Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi of Punjabi and especially with reference to Hindi and Arabic and Urdu), caste and religion. He also thought of the attack of an Indian on the weaker section of the society as strictly as the atrocities committed by an Englishman.
Apart from Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English, Bhagat Singh also knew Bengali which he learned from Batukeshwar Dutt. He believed that his martyrdom would further upset the Indian people and this could hardly happen if he was alive. For this reason, he refused to write an apology even after being sentenced to death. Whatever guidelines were given by Pt. Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’ in his autobiography, Bhagat Singh followed them literally . He also wrote a letter to the British government, in which it was said that he should be considered a prisoner of war symbolizing the war of Indians against the British government and instead of being hanged, he should be shot by his brother on 3 March before the execution. In a letter sent to Kultar, Bhagat Singh wrote –
He always cares about this, what is the new pattern?
Let us see this hobby, what is the fate of Sitam?
Why should you be angry with Dahar, why should you insult the charkha?
All where Adu is right, let’s fight.
I am a guest of some kind, e-ahle-mahfil,
I am pasture, I want to extinguish.
In my winds will remain, the power of thoughts,
This is Musht-e-Khak, Fani, stay, don’t stay.
His bravery can be gauged from these passionate lines. At the time of his first meeting with Chandrashekhar Azad, he swore by placing his hand on the burning candle that his life would be sacrificed on the country itself and he fulfilled that vow.
Even today the people of India and Pakistan see Bhagat Singh as a lover of freedom, who dedicated his entire life including his youth for the country.
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