Getting it right: a historian’s effort to document the life of Bhagat Singh

Source: The post is based on the article “Getting it right: a historian’s effort to document the life of Bhagat Singh” published in The Hindu on 23rd March 2023

What is the News?

Prime Minister has paid tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru on Martyrs’ Day (Shaheed Diwas)

What is Shaheed Diwas?

Shaheed Diwas also known as Martyrs’ Day is observed on March 23rd in India to honor and pay tribute to the three Indian freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence from British rule. 

The three freedom fighters who are remembered on this day are Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru who were executed by the British government in 1931 in Lahore (now in Pakistan). 

These three brave souls were hanged to death by the British government on March 23, 1931 in Lahore (now in Pakistan) for their involvement in the assassination of British police officer John Saunders. 

Who was Bhagat Singh?

Bhagat Singh was born in 1907 in Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan), Bhagat Singh grew up in a Sikh family deeply involved in political activities.

He belonged to a generation that was to intervene between two decisive phases of the Indian national movement – the phase of the ‘Extremism’ of Lal-Bal-Pal and the Gandhian phase of nonviolent mass action. 

CGetting it right: a historian’s effort to document the life of Bhagat Singhbution:

In 1924 in Kanpur, he became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association, started by Sachindranath Sanyal a year earlier. The main organizer of the Association was Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh became very close to him.

In 1928, HRA was renamed from Hindustan Republican Association to Hindustan Socialist Republic Association (HSRA).

In 1925, Bhagat Singh returned to Lahore and within the next year, he and his colleagues started a militant youth organization called the Naujawan Bharat Sabha.

In April 1926, Bhagat Singh established contact with Sohan Singh Josh and through him the ‘Workers and Peasants Party’ which brought out the monthly magazine Kirti in Punjabi. For the next year, Bhagat Singh worked with Josh and joined the editorial board of Kirti.

In 1927, he was first arrested on charges of association with the Kakori Case, accused for an article written under the pseudonym Vidrohi (Rebel).

To take revenge for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh and his associates plotted the assassination of James A. Scott, the Superintendent of Police. However, the revolutionaries mistakenly killed J.P. Saunders. The incident is famously known as Lahore Conspiracy case (1929).

Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt threw a bomb on 8th April 1929 in the Central Legislative Assembly, in protest against the passing of two repressive bills, the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Dispute Bill.

Bhagat Singh was re-arrested for the murder of J.P. Saunders and bomb manufacturing in the Lahore Conspiracy case. He was found guilty in this case and was hanged on 23rd March 1931 in Lahore along with Sukhdev and Rajguru.

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