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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Remembering Bhagat Singh

Posted by: danish Ahmed 4:24 AM

80 years back on this very day, a 23 year old Indian along with two of his closest comrades was executed in Lahore Jail but the echo of his war cry "Inquilab Zindabad" ( Long Live Revolution) was being heard all over India. His name was Bhagat Singh and his companions, Sukhdev and Rajguru, none of whom need introductions, their martyrdom has immortalized them  in the collective memory of the Indian nation. It wouldn't be very wrong to say  that they have been deified, every year, on their martyrdom anniversary  we remember them,garland their photos, sing paeans of praise and then forget them until the next year. Now, there are people who revere Shaheed Bhagat Singh and remember him almost every day but how many of us have the courage to even voice his opinions, leave alone adopting his ideology.

What depresses me further is the fact that I have come across instances in which the martyr's  name has been used  for objectives which stand in complete contradiction with his own ideology and principles. Overwhelming evidences indicate that Bhagat Singh was an athiest, one of his last literary works, which he wrote in jail, bears the title "Why I am an Atheist", yet his garlanded photograph can be found in many political conclaves, along with Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Nehru/Savarkar/Ambedkar (depending on the party in question)  looking over the rabble as presiding deities. A few times I have come across rallies of right-wing parties with posters of Bhagat Singh and Netaji included among other icons.
Yet another disgusting trend I come across about half -dozen times a year,is a sudden wave of  tweets, Facebook status,  emails and messages  with the content implying the then date as Shaheed Bhagat Singh's martyrdom anniversary and asking recipients to forward it further. The last time I observed this was on 14th February, Valentine's Day. It is apparent that some culture vultures frustrated by  failure in sabotaging V-Day celebrations would have surmised that it would be smart of them to use Shaheed Bhagat Singh's iconic stature to wean away people from vulgar,alien cultural festival.  I find this trick very perverse.  Bhagat Singh, sacrificed his life for the nation but his concept of nationhood, comprised primarily of its inhabitants and especially the poor. He had made his view abundantly clear that transfer of power from British government to its Indian counter-part would only be the beginning, to gain real independence, we would need to build the nation. It still stands true, our nation building task is far from complete.


Before signing off I should that since the entire West-Asia is going through a revolutionary phase it would be a great tragedy if Arab revolutionaries haven't come across  Shaheed Bhagat Singh's thoughts and writings.

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