Life and Ideas of Revolutionary Bhagat Singh and his Associates

This blog is to make available authentic information on life events , photos and ideas of Revolutionary Bhagat Singh and his compatriots.
This is supplementary to the web site

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Intimate account of Personality of Bhagat Singh by his Compatriot Sh Jatinder Sanyal

Here is an extract from the very first Biography published in May 1931 that too by a comrade who was co-accused  with Bhagat Singh in Lahore Conspiracy Case . These paragraphs will help us understand Revolutionary Bhagat Singh much better.

"In the memorable statement in the Delhi Assembly Bomb Case, Sardar Bhagat Singh had declared, "We humbly claim to be serious students of history," and in the course of that statement revealed startling proofs of his wide study and culture. It was during the years 1925 and 1926 that Bhagat Singh built up an intellectual reservoir which supplied him material for the rest of his life. He joined the National College founded and run by Lala Lajpat Rai, and devoted himself whole-heartedly to the study of history, politics and econo­mics. Here he had with him two other devoted followers, namely Sukhdeva and Bhagawati Charan, and the three with one or two others created a study-circle on the model of the Russian Revolutionaries like Tchaikovsky and Kropotkin. The Servants of the People Society generously helped them by indenting for the Dwarka Das Library all such books as were asked for by these ardent revolutionary stu­dents.

          We have the testimony of such emi­nent men as Professor Chabil Das of the National College and Mr. Raja Ram, the Librarian of the Dwarka Das Library, as to the eagerness with which Bhagat Singh devoured books. At the National College Library also, under the guidance of Sardar Bhagat Singh, a unique collection grew up. As far as we are aware, we have no­where seen such a collection of suitable literature. Most up-to-date publications on the history of the Revolutionary period in Italy, Russia and Ireland were procured and many rare books on the early his­tory of the revolutionary movement in Russia were collected. Unfortunately, on account of the repeated searches and seizures of books, the library at the National College has now dwindled into a tiny collection ; but still what now re­mains is a good testimony to the genius and perseverance of Sardar Bhagat Singh who was the real guiding spirit in this collection.

            Though an ardent and devoted student of politics, Bhagat Singh was not wholly submerged in the mere study of books. He often ran out to different places, attended secret meetings of the revolutionary parties, came into personal contact with the members of the secret organizations in U. P. and Bengal, and carefully watched the progress of the revolutionary party in India. During the trial in the Kakori Conspiracy Case, he several times came to Lucknow and es­tablished secret communications with the under-trials confined in the District Jail. A suggestion was thrown out by them that something should be done to rescue them from Jail, and Bhagat Singh lent himself whole-heartedly to develop a scheme for this purpose. In this work he twice narrowly escaped being arrested. When ultimately the plan failed, he shifted to Cawnpore again, where he resided for sometime.

It was during his stay at Cawnpore at this time in the beginning of the year 1926 that Bhagat Singh showed signs of his genius as an organizer."
Bhagat Singh's idea in organizing the NauJawan Bharat Sabha as a distinct from, and in some cases a rival organization to the Congress should be carefully studied. His study of the poverty question of the world convinced him that the emancipation of India laid not merely in political freedom but in the economic freedom of the masses. Hence the activities of the N. B. Sabha were planned on purely communistic lines. In fact, it was meant to be purely a laborers' and peasants' organization to which the youths of the country were required to render service.

We thus see a great change in the thought and outlook of Sardar Bhagat Singh. In 1926-27, he was of opinion that terrorism should be one of the weapons of the revolutionary party. The hangings in the Kakori Case, in spite of the powerful appeals of the legislators and councilors for a commutation, made him a convinced terrorist. But his deeper study of the problems of India, which were to him identical with those of the world, led him to change his opinion. During his study at the National College, Lahore, he was gradually converted to .socialism, and he began to look up to Russia as the state which came up nearest to his ideal.


"     He had a heart, full of emotion and sympathy. Even in the characters of a fiction he used to take extra-ordinary interest, and used to suffer and enjoy -with them. In the Special Magistrate's Court, he began to read aloud to us the beautiful novel, "Seven that were han­ged" by Leonoid Andrieve. There is one character in it who shuddered at the idea of execution. He used to utter the words, " I shall not be hanged", and began to believe in it. When Sardar Bhagat Singh was reading out the last scene in the life of this weak condemned man, who was uttering the words, " I shall not be hanged" even while being led to -the scaffold, he smiled and was full of tears. We listeners could not help being affected by the sympathetic tears of one, who had triumphed over the idea of death, for one who was succumbing before it.

    Bhagat Singh was an extremely well-read man and his special sphere of study was socialism. The batch of young men that figured in the Lahore Conspiracy Case was essentially an intellectual one. But even in this group Bhagat Singh predominated for his intellectual ascen­dancy. Though socialism was his special subject, he had deeply studied the his­tory of the Russian revolutionary move­ment from its beginning in the early 19th century to the October Revolution .of 1917. It is generally believed that very few in India could be compared to him in the knowledge of this special sub­ject. The economic experiment in Russia under the Bolshevik regime also greatly interested him.

      He read fiction also with interest. But his favorite works of fiction were of a politico-economic nature. He had no interest in novels of high society life, or those merely confined to love or other human passions. In the jail he had-begun to read the works of Charles Dickens which he liked very much. Some of his favorite works of fiction were : "Boston," "Jungle", "Oil", "Cry for Justice" ( not fiction ) by Upton Sinclair ;"Eternal City" by Hall Caine, of which. many portions of the speeches by Romily he had by heart; Reed's "Ten Day's that shook the world" ; Ropshin's "What never happened" ; "Mother" by Maxim Gorky ; "Career of a nihilist" by Stepniak whose "Birth of Russian Democracy" he regarded as the best of the early Russian revolutionary history , Oscar Wilde's "Vera or the Nihilists", and so forth.

Ever since he began to read communistic literature, Bhagat Singh tried to adapt his life to communistic principles. Kropotkin's "Memoirs" had great influence on him; but it was Michail Bakunin who really transformed his life. As all ideas of God are antagonistic to communistic principles, he tried to banish from his mind any belief in the existence of God. Outwardly he always declared. himself to be an atheist.  Whether he was really so from the bottom of his heart is a question that can not be definitely settled now.   Perhaps he was successful in gaining victory over the idea of God.  When he was arrested in connexion with the Dussehra Bomb Outrage in 1926, and was locked up day and night in a small cell, and subjected to all sorts of refined torture, his faith in athiesm was put to a severe test. Further l studies for the next three years, only confirmed his ideas about the nonexistence of God.

           Except for a short period as a reaction against the executions in the Kakori Conspiracy Case, Bhagat Singh was never a terrorist. His whole faith consisted in mass action, action for the masses and by the masses. He believed that the 'Congress, consisted as it was of land lords, capitalists and rich lawyers, could never launch that action which would lead to complete economic freedom for the masses. "Gandhiji is a kind-hearted philanthropist," he used to say, "and it is not philanthropy that is needed, but a dynamic scientific social force." According to him what was needed most was a band of selfless youngmen who would organize and work for that social revolution."


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