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Come 23rd March and we see all hues of political organizations singing eulogies in the name of Bhagat Singh. Even those who are have taken pride in felling the statue of Lenin in Tripura will be seen washing the statues of Bhagat Singh with cow milk. This is how they try to sanitize the ideas of Bhagat Singh and make them adaptable to their cow-worshiping crowds. Every year they come in small groups and smear the statues with all kind of patriotic paste and raise slogans in the name of mother India "Bharat Mata Ki Jai". This would be all right had they shown a little respect to the ideas of Bhagat Singh too. Felling the statue of Vladimir Ilich Lenin and eulogizing Bhagat Singh cannot go on simultaneously. In fact, this is a weapon of mass confusion used by the Hindutva brigade in order to misguide the idealistic youth of the country in the name of hyped nationalism.
There are several instances in the accounts of the life of Sardar Bhagat singh written by his biographers which prove his interest in the Soviet Revolution and the leadership of Lenin. The formation of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was itself a clear evidence that freedom for Bhagat Singh was a complete transformation of the Indian nation into a country free from class exploitation where the tiller of the land and the producer of goods in the industry get the full reward of their labour. On June 6, 1929, the statement of Bhagat Singh and Dutta also referred to the two Bills. Their explanation of the term “Revolution” would be pertinent in this respect. Revolution is not necessarily connected with a bloody struggle. It has no place for personal grievances. Nor is it a game of bombs and pistols.
By the term Revolution we mean dismissing the prevalent social system which is established on evident impropriety. Though the producers and workers are the most important component of society they are…deprived of the products of their labour and even of their fundamental rights. The farmer who produces corn for everybody has to starve with his family; the weaver who makes garments for all does not get enough clothing for himself.
So until and unless this exploitation is prevented, the entire civilisation would crumble down. The cry of the day is absolute transformation and those who realise it bear the responsibility to reorganise society on the basis of socialism…By Revolution we understand the establishment of such a social system…. dictatorship of the proletariat and Communist internationalism which would save humanity from Capitalism and Imperial Wars.
If the British Government pay no heed to our warning and continue with the old measures of repression, a mighty struggle would start which would sweep away all obstacles and ultimately establish the dictatorship of the proletariat for the fulfilment of the Revolutionary ideology…. Every-one has a birth right to independence.
Ajoy Ghosh, a colleague of Bhagat Singh who later became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, wrote that Bhagat Singh spent most of his time in prison studying socialist literature and during this time came very close to the communist ideology. Gopal Tagore, another biographer of Bhagat Singh, relates that a few days before his death when asked what was his last wish, he replied that he was studying the life of Lenin and he wanted to finish it before his death. (Bhagat Singh—The Man and His Ideas, p. 30) When he was in prison he wrote two hundred pages of notes regarding capitalism, socialism, the origin of state, communism, religion, sociology, and also many facts regarding India, the French Revolution, Marxism, governmental structures, family, Communist International etc. (Shahid Bhagat Singh—A Biography, p. 30) The essay Why I am an Atheist shows that Bhagat Singh was very clear in his stand on religion. It is also seen in one of his letters written to his friend Joydeb that he requested him to send books like Civil War in France by Marx, Left Wing Communism and Collapse of the Second International by Lenin. (Ibid., pp. 29-30)
It is further known from Ajoy Ghosh that Bhagat Singh and his colleagues sent a telegram to the Soviet Union on November 7, 1930, greeting the Great Russian Revolution. In Janaury 1930, to commemorate “Lenin Day”, they entered the Court Room wearing red scarfs and demanded that their greetings should be intimated to the President of the Third International. (Ibid., pp. 69-70)
The present day rulers and their front organizations have tried to appropriate our national icons and used them selectively to aid their propaganda of Hindutva and achieve their goal of making India a Hindu Rajya. This is what they want to do with Bhagat Singh too. In the wake of their victory not only Lenin's statue was demolished, they demolished the statues of Periyar, Ambedkar and Gandhi too. So, it not just communism which is their target, it is every one who threatens their agenda of imposing the Brahminic varnashram system which is the basis of the formation of RSS which has been led by Maharashtrian Brahmins in the major part of its existence. The appropriation of Bhagat Singh and other icons is a weapon of mass confusion to further the agenda which is driven by narrow nationalism. The people of India should be cautious of this as we remember our martyrs in this month of March.
(Writer is an English Professor)