Bhagat Singh (1907 - 1931)
inspired generations in a short life of 23 years. If you seek a man with a
singular purpose in life like the Dalai Lama, someone who sacrificed his
life for his friends like Jesus, a man who demanded liberty or death like
Patrick Henry, a statesman who organized the people like Samuel Adams, or
someone who wrote like Benjamin Franklin, read about Bhagat Singh. If you
love your freedom or if you are still fighting for it, read Bhagat Singh's
own work. For anyone who wants to be inspired, I suggest, by all means, read
about Bhagat Singh."Bhagat
Singh: An American Perspective - Angela D. Hamon
Bhagat Singh - A Tribute
before Lahore High Court
in Assembly Bomb Case
Singh on the Slogan 'Long Live the Revolution'
pistols do not make revolution. That is not our understanding. The
sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of ideas...
(It is) the longing for a change for the better. A people
generally get accustomed to the established order of things and
begin to tremble at the very idea of a change. It is this lethargic
spirit that needs be replaced by a revolutionary spirit...The old order should change, always and
ever, yielding place to new, so that one "good" order may not
corrupt the world. It is in this sense that we raise the shout "Long
Live Revolution" "
Gandhi on Baghat Singh
- A Tribute
Published here with the permission of
(c) Kamat's Potpourri http://www.kamat.com Sardar
Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British for treason on 23 March 1931. We remember the
martyrdom of a patriot, who continues to inspire bravery among India's youth.
Family of Patriots
Singh was born in a Sikh family of farmers in the village of Banga of Layalpur district of
Punjab (now in Pakistan) on September 27th of 1907. His family stood for patriotism,
reform, and freedom of the country. His grandfather Arjun Singh was drawn to Arya
Samaj, a reformist movement of Hinduism (see the
Samaj web site) and took keen interest in proceedings of Indian National congress.
Bhagat Singh's father Kishen Singh and uncle Ajit Singh were members of Ghadr Party
founded in the U.S. in early years of this century to root out British rule in India. Both
were jailed for alleged anti-British activities. Ajit Singh had 22 cases against him and
forced to flee to Iran. Thereafter he went to Turkey, Austria, Germany and finally to
Brazil to escape Black Water (Kalapani) punishment for his revolutionary
activities in India.
The Jalianwala Bagh Massacre
Young Bhagat Singh was brought up in a politically charged state of Punjab which
was left with a seething memory of Jalianwalla Massacre of more than 400 innocent lives
and thousand injured. As a lad of 14, he went to this spot to collect the soil of
the park of Jallianwalla (bagh) in his lunch box, sanctified by the blood of the
innocent and kept as memento for life.
Bhagat Singh was studying in National College founded by Lala Lajpat Rai, a great
revolutionary leader and reformist. To avoid early marriage (child marriages were very
prevalent in India at the time), he ran away from home and became a member of the
youth organization, Noujawan Bharat Sabha which had membership of all sects and
religions. Where he met Chandra Shekhar Tiwari (Azad), B.K. Dutt and other
revolutionaries. They used to print handouts and newspapers in secret and spread
political awareness in India through Urdu, Punjabi and English. These were all banned
activities in India at the time, punishable with imprisonment.
The Simon Commission, Murder of Lala Lajpat Rai and The Revenge
Anti-British feelings were spreading; Indians wanted some proper representation in
running the administration of their country to which British reciprocated only on paper.
Noticing that the restlessness was spreading, the British Government appointed a
commission under the the leadership of Sir John Simon in 1928, to report on political
happenings. There was no single Indian member in this commission and all the
political parties decided to boycott the commission when it planned to visit major cities
In Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai and Pandit Madan Mohan Malavia decided to protest to the
commission in open about their displeasure. It was a silent protest march, yet the
police chief Mr. Scott had banned meeting or procession. Thousands had joined,
without giving room for any untoward incident. Even then Mr. Scott beat Mr. Lala Lajpat
Rai severely with a lathi (bamboo stick) on the head several times. Finally the
leader succumbed to the injuries.
Bhagat Singh who was an eye witness to the morbid scene vowed to take revenge and with
the help of Azad, Rajguru and Sukhadev plotted to kill Scott. Unfortunately he killed a
junior officer, Mr. Sanders in a case of mistaken identity. He had to flee from Lahore to
escape death punishment.
Bomb in the Assembly
Instead of finding the root cause for discontent of Indians, the British government
took to more repressive measures. Under Defense of India Act, it gave more powers to
police, to arrest persons to stop processions with suspicious movements and actions. The
act brought in the council was defeated by one vote. Even then it was to be passed in the
form of an ordinance in the interest of the public. No doubt the British were keen to
arrest all leaders who opposed its arbitrary actions and Bhagat Singh who was in hiding
all this while, volunteered to throw a bomb in the central assembly where the meeting to
pass ordinance was being held.
It was a carefully laid out plot, not to cause death or
injury but to draw the attention of the government, that the modes of its suppression
could no more be tolerated.
It was agreed that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt would
court arrest after throwing the bomb.
It was a forgone conclusion in 1929 April 8th at Delhi Central Assembly.
Singh and Dutt
threw handouts, and bombed in the corridor not to cause injury and courted arrest after
shouting slogans Inquilab Zindabad (Long Live, Revolution!)
Meanwhile the killers of Sanders were identified with the treachery of Bhagat Singh's
friends who became "Approvers."
Singh thought the court would be a proper venue to get publicity for the cause of freedom
and did not want to disown the crime. But he gave a fiery statement giving reasons for the
killing which was symbolic of the freedom struggle.
He wanted to be shot like
a soldier and not die at gallows . But, his plea was rejected and he was hanged on
23rd March 1931. He was 24.
Bhagat Singh became a legendary hero with the masses. Innumerable songs were composed
about him and the youth throughout the country made him their ideal. He became a symbol of
bravery and a martyr for free India..
Statement Before the
Courtesy Web Punjab -
Singh: Letters, Writing & Statements
Bhaghat Singh in Jail
We are neither lawyers nor masters of English language, nor holders of
degrees. Therefore, please do not expect any oratorical speech from us. We
therefore pray that instead of going into the language mistakes of our
statement Your Lordships will try to understand the real sense of it.
Leaving other points to our lawyers, I will confine myself to one point
only. The point is very important in this case. The point is as to what were
our intentions sand to what extent we are guilty. This is a very complicated
question and no one will be able to express before you that height to mental
elevation which inspired us to think and act in a particular manner. We want
that this should be kept in mind while assessing our intentions our offence.
According to the famous jurist Solomon, one should not be punished for his
criminal offence if his aim is not against law.
We had submitted a written statement in the Sessions Court. That
statement explains our aim and, as such, explains our intentions also. But the
leaned judge dismissed it with one stroke of pen, saying that "generally
the operation of law is not affected by how or why one committed the offence.
In this country the aim of the offence is very rarely mentioned in legal
My Lords, our contention is that under the circumstances the learned
judge ought to have judged us either by the result of our action or on the
basis of the psychological part of our statement. But he did not take any of
these factors into consideration.
The point to be considered is that the two bombs we threw in the
Assembly did not harm anybody physically or economically. As such the
punishment awarded to us is not only very harsh but revengeful also. Moreover,
the motive knowing his psychology. And no one can do justice to anybody
without taking his motive into consideration. If we ignore the motive, the
biggest general of the words will appear like ordinary murderers; revenue
officers will look like thieves and cheats. Even judges will be accused of
murder. This way the entire social system and the civilisation will be reduced
to murders, thefts and cheating. If we ignore the motive, the government will
have no right to expect sacrifice from its people and its officials. Ignore
the motive and every religious preacher will be dubbed as a preacher of
falsehoods, and every prophet will be charged of misguiding crores of simple
and ignorant people.
If we set aside the motive, then Jesus Christ will appear to be a man
responsible for creating disturbances, breaking peace and preaching revolt,
and will be considered to be a "dangerous personality" in the
language of the law. But we worship him. He commands great respect in our
hearts and his image creates vibrations of spiritualism amongst us. Why?
Because the inspiration behind his actions was that of a high ideal. The
rulers of that age could not recognise that high idealism. They only saw his
outward actions. Nineteen centuries have passed since then. Have we not
progressed during this period? Shall we repeat that mistake again? It that be
so, then we shall have to admit that all the sacrifices of the mankind and all
the efforts of the great martyrs were useless and it would appear as if we are
still at the same place where we stood twenty centuries back.
From the legal point of view also, the question of motive is of
special importance. Take the example of General Dyer. He resorted to firing
and killed hundreds of innocent and unarmed people. But the military court did
not order him to be shot. It gave him lakhs of rupees as award. Take another
example. Shri Kharag Bahadur Singh, a young Gurkha, Killed a Marwari in
Calcutta. If the motive be set aside, then Kharag Bahadur Singh ought to have
been hanged. But he was awarded a mild sentence of a few years only. He was
even released much before the expiry of his sentence. Was there any loophole
in the law that he escaped capital punishment? Or, was the charge of murder
not proved against him? Like us, he also accepted the full responsibility of
his action, but he escaped death. He is free today. I ask Your Lordship, why
was he not awarded capital punishment? His action was well calculated and well
planned. From the motive end, his action was more serious and fatal than ours.
He was awarded a mild punishment because his intentions were good. He was
awarded a mild punishment because his intention were good. He saved the
society from a dirty leach who had sucked the life-blood of so many pretty
young girls. Kharag Singh was given a mild punishment just to uphold the
formalities of the law.
This principle (that the law does not take motive into consideration
- ed.) is quite absurd. This is against the basic principles of the law which
declares that "the law is for man and not man for the law". As such,
why the same norms are not being applied to us also? It is quite clear that
while convicting Kharag Singh his motive was kept in mind, otherwise a
murderer can never escape the hangman's noose. Are we being deprived of the
ordinary advantage of the law because our offence is against the government,
or because our action has a political importance?
My Lords, under these circumstances, please permit us to assert that
a government which seeks shelter behind such mean methods has no right to
exist. If it is exists, it is for the time being only, and that too with the
blood of thousands of people on its head. If the law does not see the motive
there can be no justice, nor can there be stable peace.
Mixing of arsenic (poison) in the flour will not be considered to be
a crime, provided its purpose is to kill rats. But if the purpose is to kill a
man, it becomes a crime of murder. Therefore, such laws which do not stand the
test of reason and which are against the principle of justice, should be
abolished. Because of such unjust laws, many great intellectuals had to adopt
the path of revolt.
The facts regarding our case are very simple. We threw two bombs in
the legislative Assembly on April 8, 1929. As a result of the explosion, a few
persons received minor scratches. There was pandemonium in the chamber,
hundreds of visitors and members of the Assembly ran out. Only my friend B.K.
Dutt and myself remained seated in the visitors gallery and offered ourselves
for arrest. We were tried for attempt to murder, and convicted for life. As
mentioned above, as a result of the bomb explosion, only four or five persons
were slightly injured and one bench got damaged. We offered ourselves for
arrest without any resistance. The Sessions Judge admitted that we could have
very easily escaped, had we had any intention like that. We accepted our
offence and gave a statement explaining our position. We are not afraid of
punishment. But we do not want that we should be wrongly understood. The judge
remover a few paragraphs from our statement. This we consider to be harmful
for our real position.
A proper study of the full text of our statement will make it clear
that, according to us, our country is passing through a delicate phase. We saw
the coming catastrophe and thought it proper to give a timely warning with a
loud voice, and we gave the warning in the manner we thought proper. We may be
wrong. Our line of thinking and that of the learned judge may be different,
but that does not mean that we be deprived of the permission to express our
ideas, and wrong things be propagated in our name.
In our statement we explained in detail what we mean by "Long
Live Revolution" and "Down With Imperialism". That formed the
crux of our ideas. That portion was removed from our statement. Generally a
wrong meaning is attributed to the word revolution. That is not our
understanding. Bombs and pistols do not make revolution. That is not our
understanding. The sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of
ideas. This is what we wanted to emphasise. By revolution we mean the end of
the miseries of capitalist wars. It was not proper to pronounce judgement
without understanding our aims and objects and the process of achieving them.
To associate wrong ideas with our names is out and out injustice.
It was very necessary to give the timely warning that the unrest of
the people is increasing and that the malady may take a serious turn, if not
treated in time and properly. If our warning is not heeded, no human power
will be able to stop it. We took this step to give proper direction to the
storm. We are serious students of history. We believe that, had the ruling
powers acted correctly at the proper time, there would have been no bloody
revolutions in France and Russia. Several big power of the world tried to
check the storm of ideas and were sunk in the atmosphere of bloodshed. The
ruling people cannot change the flow of the current. We wanted to give the
first warning. Had we aimed at killing some important personalities, we would
have failed in the attainment of our aim.
My Lords, this was the aim and the spirit behind our action, and the
result of the action corroborates our statement. There is one more point which
needs elucidation, and that is regarding the strength of the bombs. Had we had
no idea of the strength of the bombs, there would have been no question of our
throwing them in the presence of our respected national leader like Pandit
Motilal Nehru, Shri Kelkar, Shri Jayaker and Shri Jinnah. How could we have
risked the lives of our leaders? After all we are not mad and, had we been so,
we would have certainly been sent to the lunatic asylum, instead of being put
in jail. We had full knowledge about the strength of the bombs and that is why
we acted with so much confidence. It was very easy to have thrown the bombs on
the occupied benches, but it was difficult to have thrown them on unoccupied
seats. Had we not of saner mind or had we been mentally unbalanced, the bombs
would have fallen on occupied benches and not in empty places.
Therefore I would say that we should be rewarded for the courage we showed
in carefully selecting the empty places. Under these conditions, My Lords, we
think we have not been understood, My Lords, we think we have not been
understood properly. We have not come before you to get our sentences reduced.
We have come here to clarify our position. We want that we should not be given
any unjust treatment, nor should any unjust opinion be pronounced about us.
The question of punishment is of secondary importance before us.
Statement of Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt in the
Bomb Case, 6 June 1929
We stand charged with certain serious offences, and at this stage it
is but right that we must explain our conduct.
In this connection, the following questions arise.
1. Were the bombs thrown into Chamber, and, if so, why?
2. Is the charge, as framed by the Lower Court, correct or otherwise?
To the first half of first question, our reply is in the affirmative, but
since some of the so-called 'eye witnesses' have perjured themselves and since
we are not denying our liability to that extent, let our statement about them
be judged for what it is worth. By way of an illustration, we many point out
that the evidence of Sergeant Terry regarding the seizure of the pistol from
one of us is a deliberate falsehood, for neither of us had the pistol at the
time we gave ourselves up. Other witnesses, too, who have deposed to having
seen bombs being thrown by us have not scrupled to tell lies. This fact had
its own moral for those who aim at judicial purity and fairplay.
At the same time, we acknowledge the fairness of the Public Prosecutor and the
judicial attitude of the Court so far.
Viceroy's Views Endorsed
In our reply to the next half of the first question, we are constrained to
go into some detail to offer a full and frank explanation of our motive and
the circumstances leading up to what has now become a historic event.
When we were told by some of the police officers, who visited us in jail that
Lord Irwin in his address to the joint session of the two houses described the
event as an attack directed against no individual but against an institution
itself, we readily recognized that the true significance of the incident had
been correctly appreciated.
We are next to none in our love for humanity. Far from having any malice
against any individual, we hold human life sacred beyond words.
We are neither perpetrators of dastardly outrages, and, therefore, a
disgrace to the country, as the pseudo-socialist Dewan. Chaman Lal is reported
to have described us, nor are we 'Lunatics' as The Tribune of Lahore and some
others would have it believed.
We humbly claim to be no more than serious students of the history and
conditions of our country and her aspirations. We despise hypocrisy, Our
practical protest was against the institution, which since its birth, has
eminently helped to display not only its worthlessness but its far-reaching
power for mischief. They more we have been convinced that it exists only to
demonstrate to world Indian's humiliation and helplessness, and it symbolizes
the overriding domination of an irresponsible and autocratic rule. Time and
again the national demand has been pressed by the people's representatives
only to find the waste paper basket as its final destination.
Attack on Institution
Solemn resolutions passed by the House have been contemptuously trampled
under foot on the floor of the so called Indian Parliament. Resolution
regarding the repeal of the repressive and arbitrary measures have been
treated with sublime contempt, and the government measures and proposals,
rejected as unacceptable buy the elected members of the legislatures, have
been restored by mere stroke of the pen. In short, we have utterly failed to
find any justification for the existence of an institution which, despite all
its pomp and splendour, organized with the hard earned money of the sweating
millions of India, is only a hollow show and a mischievous make-believe.
Alike, have we failed to comprehend the mentality of the public leaders who
help the Government to squander public time and money on such a manifestly
stage-managed exhibition of Indian's helpless subjection.
No Hope For Labour
We have been ruminating upon all these matters, as also upon the wholesale
arrests of the leaders of the labour movement. When the introduction of the
Trade Disputes Bill brought us into the Assembly to watch its progress, the
course of the debate only served to confirm our conviction that the labouring
millions of India had nothing to expect from an institution that stood as a
menacing monument to the strangling of the exploiters and the serfdom of the
Finally, the insult of what we consider, an inhuman and barbarous measure
was hurled on the devoted head of the representatives of the entire country,
and the starving and struggling millions were deprived of their primary right
and the sole means of improving their economic welfare. None who has felt like
us for the dumb driven drudges of labourers could possibly witness this
spectacle with equanimity. None whose heart bleeds for them, who have given
their life-blood in silence to the building up of the economic structure could
repress the cry which this ruthless blow had wrung out of our hearts.
Consequently, bearing in mind the words of the late Mr. S.R. Das, once Law
Member of the Governor - General's Executive Council, which appeared in the
famous letter he had addressed to his son, to the effect that the 'Bomb was
necessary to awaken England from her dreams', we dropped the bomb on the floor
of the Assembly Chamber to register our protest on behalf of those who had no
other means left to give expression to their heart-rending agony. Our sole
purpose was "to make the deaf hear" and to give the heedless a
timely warning. Others have as keenly felt as we have done, and from under the
seeming stillness of the sea of Indian humanity, a veritable storm is about to
break out. We have only hoisted the "danger-signal" to warn those
who are speeding along without heeding the grave dangers ahead. We have only
marked the end of an era of Utopian non-violence, of whose futility the rising
generation has been convinced beyond the shadow of doubt.
We have used the expression Utopian non-violence, in the foregoing
paragraph which requires some explanation. Force when aggressively applied is
"violence" and is, therefore, morally unjustifiable, but when it is
used in the furtherance of a legitimate cause, it has its moral justification.
The elimination of force at all costs in Utopian, and the mew movement which
has arisen in the country, and of that dawn we have given a warning, is
inspired by the ideal which guided Guru Gobind Singh and Shivaji, Kamal Pasha
and Riza Khan, Washington and Garibaldi, Lafayette and Lenin.
As both the alien Government and the Indian public leaders appeared
to have shut their eyes to the existence of this movement, we felt it as our
duty to sound a warning where it could not go unheard.
We have so far dealt with the motive behind the incident in question,
and now we must define the extent of our intention.
No Personal Grudge
We bore no personal grudge or malice against anyone of those who received
slight injuries or against any other person in the Assembly. On the contrary,
we repeat that we hold human life sacred beyond words, and would sooner lay
down our own lives in the service of humanity than injure anyone else. Unlike
the mercenary soldiers of the imperialist armies who are disciplined to kill
without compunction, we respect, and, in so far as it lies in our power, we
attempt to save human life. And still we admit having deliberately thrown the
bombs into the Assembly Chamber. Facts however, speak for themselves and our
intention would be judged from the result of the action without bringing in
Utopian hypothetical circumstances and presumptions.
Despite the evidence of the Government Expert, the bombs that were thrown
in the Assembly Chamber resulted in slight damage to an empty bench and some
slight abrasions in less than half a dozen cases, while Government scientists
and experts have ascribed this result to a miracle, we see nothing but a
precisely scientific process in all this incident. Firstly, the two bombs
exploded in vacant spaces within the wooden barriers of the desks and benches,
secondly, even those who were within 2 feet of the explosion, for instance,
Mr. P. Rau, Mr. Shanker Rao and Sir George Schuster were either not hurt or
only slightly scratched. Bombs of the capacity deposed to by the Government
Expert (though his estimate, being imaginary is exaggerated), loaded with an
effective charge of potassium chlorate and sensitive (explosive) picrate would
have smashed the barriers and laid many low within some yards of the
Again, had they been loaded with some other high explosive, with a charge
of destructive pellets or darts, they would have sufficed to wipe out a
majority of the Members of the Legislative Assembly. Still again we could have
flung them into the official box which was occupied by some notable persons.
And finally we could have ambushed Sir John Simon whose luckless Commission
was loathed by all responsible people and who was sitting in the President's
gallery at the time. All these things, however, were beyond our intention and
bombs did no more than they were designed to do, and the miracle consisted in
no more than the deliberate aim which landed them in safe places.
We then deliberately offered ourselves to bear the penalty for what we had
done and to let the imperialist exploiters know that by crushing individuals,
they cannot kill ideas. By crushing two insignificant units, a nation cannot
be crushed. We wanted to emphasize the historical lesson that lettres de
cachets and Bastilles could not crush the revolutionary movement in France.
Gallows and the Siberian mines could not extinguish the Russian Revolution.
Bloody Sunday, and Black and Tans failed to strangle the movement of Irish
Can ordinances and Safety Bills snuff out the flames of freedom in India?
Conspiracy cases, trumped up or discovered and the incarcertion of all young
men, who cherish the vision of a great ideal, cannot check the march of
revolution. But a timely warning, if not unheeded, can help to prevent loss of
life and general sufferings.
We took it upon ourselves to provide this warning and our duty is done.
(Bhagat Singh was asked in the lower court what he meant by word
"Revolution". In answer to that question, he said)
"Revolution" does not necessarily involve sanguinary strife nor is
there any place in it for individual vendentta. It is not the cult of the bomb
and the pistol. By "Revolution" we mean that the present order of
things, which is based on manifest injustice, must change. Producers or
labourers in spite of being the most necessary element of society, are robbed
by their exploiters of the fruits of their labour and deprived of their
elementary rights. The peasant who grows corn for all, starves with his
family, the weaver who supplies the world market with textile fabrics, has not
enough to cover his own and his children's bodies, masons, smiths and
carpenters who raise magnificent palaces, live like pariahs in the slums. The
capitalists and exploiters, the parasites of society, squander millions on
their whims. These terrible inequalities and forced disparity of chances are
bound to lead to chaos. This state of affairs cannot last long, and it is
obvious, that the present order of society in merry-making is on the brink of
The whole edifice of this civilization, if not saved in time, shall
crumble. A radical change, therefore, is necessary and it is the duty of those
who realize it to reorganize society on the socialistic basis. Unless this
thing is done and the exploitation of man by man and of nations by nations is
brought to an end, sufferings and carnage with which humanity is threatened
today cannot be prevented. All talk of ending war and ushering in an era of
universal peace is undisguised hypocrisy.
By "Revolution", we mean the ultimate establishment of an order
of society which may not be threatened by such breakdown, and in which the
sovereignty of the proletariat should be recognized and a world federation
should redeem humanity from the bondage of capitalism and misery of imperial
This is our ideal, and with this ideology as our inspiration, we have given
a fair and loud enough warning.
If, however, it goes unheeded and the present system of Government continues
to be an impediment in the way of the natural forces that are swelling up, a
grim struggle will ensure involving the overthrow of all obstacles, and the
establishment of the dictatorship of the dictatorship of the proletariat to
pave the way for the consummation of the ideal of revolution. Revolution is an
inalienable right of mankind. Freedom is an imperishable birth right of all.
Labour is the real sustainer of society. The sovereignty of the ultimate
destiny of the workers.
For these ideals, and for this faith, we shall welcome any suffering
to which we may be condemned. At the altar of this revolution we have brought
our youth as an incense, for no sacrifice is too great for so magnificent a
cause. We are content, we await the advent of Revolution "Long Live
On the slogan of 'Long Live
Letter to the Editor, Modern Review, 24 December 1929
You have in the December (1929) issue of your esteemed magazine, written a
note under the caption "Long Live Revolution" and have pointed out
the meaninglessness of this phrase.
It would be impertinent on our part to try to refute or contradict the
statement of such an old, experienced and renowned journalist as your noble
self, for whom every enlightened Indian has profound admiration. Still we feel
it our duty to explain what we desire to convey by the said phrase, as in a
way it fell to our lot to give these "cries" a publicity in this
country at this stage.
We are not the originators of this cry. The same cry had been used in
Russian revolutionary movement. Upton Sinclair, the well known socialist
writer, has, in his recent novels Boston and Oil, used this cry through some
of the anarchist revolutionary characters. The phrase never means that the
sanguinary strife should ever continue, or that nothing should ever be
stationary even for a short while.
By long usage this cry achieves a significance which may not be quite
justifiable from the grammatical or the etymological point of view, but
nevertheless we cannot abstract from that the association of ideas connected
with that. All such shouts denote a general sense which is partly acquired and
partly inherent in them. For instance, when we shout "Long Live Jatin
Das", we cannot and do not mean thereby that Das should Physically be
alive. What we mean by that shout is that the noble ideal of his life, the
indomitable spirit which enabled that great martyr to bear such untold
suffering and to make the extreme sacrifice for that we may show the same
unfailing courage in pursuance of our ideal. It is that spirit that we allude
Similarly, one should not interpret the word "Revolution"
in its literal sense. Various meanings and significances are attributed to
this word, according to the interests of those who use or misuse it. For the
established agencies of exploitation it conjures up a feeling of blood stained
horror. To the revolutionaries it is a sacred phrase. We tried to clear in our
statement before the Session Judge, Delhi, in our trial in the Assembly Bomb
Case, what we mean by the word "Revolution"
We stated therein that Revolution does not necessarily involve
sanguinary strife. It is not a cult of bomb and pistol. They may sometimes be
mere means for its achievement. No doubt they play a prominent part in some
movements, but they do not - for that very reason -become one and the same
thing. A rebellion is not a revolution. It may ultimately lead to that end.
The sense in which the word Revolution is used in that phrase, is the
spirit, the longing for a change for the better. A people generally get
accustomed to the established order of things and begin to tremble at the very
idea of a change. It is this lethargic spirit that needs be replaced by the
revolutionary spirit. Otherwise degeneration gains the upper hand and the
whole humanity is led stray by the reactionary forces. Such a state of affairs
leads to stagnation and paralysis in human progress. The spirit of Revolution
should always permeate the soul of humanity, so that the reactionary forces
may not accumulate (strength) to check its eternal onward march. The old order
should change, always and ever, yielding place to new, so that one
"good" order may not corrupt the world. It is in this sense that we
raise the shout "Long Live Revolution"
Martyrdom of Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British on accusations of
anti-government activities on March 23, 1931. Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Young
India on 29 March 1931:
Bhagat Singh and his two associates have been hanged.
The Congress made many attempts to save their lives and the Government
entertained many hopes of it, but all has been in a vain.
Bhagat Singh did not wish to live. He refused to apologize, or
even file an appeal. Bhagat Singh was not a devotee of non-violence, but he
did not subscribe to the religion of violence. He took to violence due
to helplessness and to defend his homeland. In his last letter, Bhagat Singh
wrote --" I have been arrested while waging a war. For me there can be no
gallows. Put me into the
of a cannon and blow me off." These heroes had conquered the
fear of death. Let us bow to them a thousand times for their heroism.
But we should not imitate their act. In our land of millions
of destitute and crippled people, if we take to the practice of seeking
justice through murder, there will be a terrifying situation. Our poor people
will become victims of our atrocities. By making a dharma of violence,
we shall be reaping the fruit of our own actions.
Hence, though we praise the courage of these brave men, we
should never countenance their activities. Our dharma is to swallow our anger,
abide by the discipline of non-violence and carry out our duty.