Mathew M Philip
Shaheed Bhagat Singh is not just a name in the long list of Indian freedom fighters, but an idea, which, along with the struggle against colonialism, also advocated against all forms of oppression. We can no longer take Bhagat Singh’s name independent of the ideas associated with him, which has now been immortalised through his revolutionary slogan, “Inquilab Zindabad”.
However, lost in this fervour of nationalistic sentiment is the fact that Bhagat Singh was also a very talented and prolific writer. Even though we commemorate his life’s works through statues and buildings in honour of the sacrifice he made for the freedom of our country, we repeatedly fail to designate him as a recognised writer.
So, in honour of our country’s proudest martyr, I’ve decided to highlight Bhagat Singh as a writer and list some of his most influential works
- The Writer in making
From early childhood, Bhagat Singh showed signs of intellectual integrity, asking questions about national movements and socialist agendas etc., showing concerns in matters which eluded the understanding of even many adults. Being from a family of revolutionaries and thinkers, it was evident that these traits would also be reflective in Bhagat Singh’s works.
- Crafting himself
Fearing the prospect of getting married if he stayed at home, Bhagat Singh left for Kanpur in 1923 (aged 16), where he was introduced to Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, editor of Pratap, Kanpur, and Congress leader of the United Provinces. Along with working for the cause of the Indian National Movement by helping in flood relief activities or performing the duties of a headmaster in a national school, Bhagat also wrote articles for Pratap under the pen name Balwant.
- First recognition as a Writer
Associating himself with various clubs and revolutionary organisations, Bhagat Singh had gained so much intellectual maturity that by the age of 17 he wrote an award winning essay in Hindi on the language issue of Punjab. The essay, along with showing his clarity of thought, was proof enough that he was a brilliant writer as well.
- Penning down his views with a ferocious intellect
In 1924 and 1925, he wrote “Vishv Prem” (“In love with the world”) and “Yuvak”, which were published in Matwala, both under the assumed name of Balwant Singh. His article on the execution of the six Babbar Akali revolutionaries in 1926 entitled “Holi Ke Din Rakt Ke Chinte” (“Blood drops on Holi Day”) was also published but could not gain widespread popularity, much what happened with most of his written works.
- Using his writings for the Greater Good
With his clarity of thought and proficiency in writing, Bhagat Singh wrote for and edited Urdu and Punjabi newspapers, published from Amritsar, as well as briefly for the Veer Arjun newspaper published in Delhi, through which he tried to bring more and more people under his influence.
- Not just a writer, but a well read intellectual writer
His thoughts and opinions about communism and socialism was formed upon reading voraciously the teachings of Mikhail Bakunin and also those of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Leo Trotsky. Accepting the ideas propagated by these philosophers, Bhagat Singh advocated these ideas through his writings and published a series of articles about anarchism in Kirti, the journal of the Kirti Kisan Party.
- Under the surface works
After Bhagat Singh was sent to jail, he wrote many manuscripts, of which some were published, some destroyed and some remain undocumented. “The Ideal of Socialism”, “Autobiography”, “History of Revolutionary Movement in India”, “At The Door of Death” and “Jail Notebook” are some of the manuscripts drafted by Bhagat Singh when he was in prison.
- Posthumous publishing
His essay “Why I Am an Atheist” was published in the September 27, 1931 issue of People, Lala Lajpat Rai’s paper from Lahore, a few months after his execution. The article conveyed his ideas on atheism and showed, yet again, his proficiency in writing and maturity beyond his age.
- Works that faded with words
His other written works includes “Court Statements”, “Letter to Young Political Workers” and some other documents as well which were either destroyed in the course of handling or else remain unrecognised.
A role model and an inspiration to millions of youths, Bhagat Singh, no doubt, is an iconic representation of the young blood of India. Having said this, we must also not forget to give him credit for the numerous articles, documents and manuscripts which he drafted, for it is through these written works that Bhagat Singh breathes his ideas. Bhagat Singh has been called many things in the course of history : a revolutionary, a freedom fighter, a martyr, a terrorist, but sadly a writer isn’t among one of them.
(The Author is travel enthusiast who’s always up for new experiences)
Courtesy: The HereNow Blog