Bhagat Singh: The Revolutionary Youth Icon of India


Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907, in a small village Banga, District Lyallpur, Punjab (in modern-day Pakistan). Son of Kishan Singh and Vidyavati Kaur of a Sikh family, studied in D.A.V. High School, Lahore; National College, Lahore. He raised to protest British rule in India while still, a youth and soon fought for national independence. He also served as a writer and editor in Amritsar for Punjabi- and Urdu-language newspapers supporting Marxist theories. He is credited with popularizing the catchphrase “Inquilab zindabad” (“Long live the revolution”).Singh was Associated with Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Hindustan Republican Association, Kirti Kisan Party, Kranti Dal. He also established contact with the members of the Kirti Kisan Party and started contributing regularly to its magazine, the “Kirti”. His Publications were Why I Am an Atheist: An Autobiographical Discourse, The Jail Notebook and Other Writings, Ideas of a Nation. Bhagat Singh is supposed to be one of the most prominent revolutionaries of the Indian Nationalist Movement. He became involved with numerous revolutionary organizations and played a significant role in the Indian National Movement. At a very young age, Bhagat Singh began following the Non-Cooperation Movement, initiated by Mahatma Gandhi. Bhagat Singh had willingly challenged the British and had followed Gandhi’s wishes by burning the government-sponsored books.Singh even left the school to enrol at the National College in Lahore. Two incidents during his teen days moulded his strong patriotic outlook – the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 and killing of unarmed Akali protesters at the Nankana Sahib in 1921. His family believed in the Gandhian ideology of non-violent approach to attain Swaraj and for a while, Bhagat Singh also supported the Indian National Congress and the causes behind the Non-Cooperation Movement. Following the Chauri Chaura Incident. Gandhi called for the withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation Movement, unhappy with the decision, Bhagat Singh, isolated himself from Gandhi’s nonviolent action and joined the Young Revolutionary Movement. Thus commenced his journey as the most prominent advocate of violent insurgency toward the British Raj.He was pursuing B.A. examination when his parents planned to have him married. He rejected the suggestion and said that, if his marriage was to take place in Slave-India, my bride shall be only death. “His Political Ideology includes Socialism; Nationalism; Anarchism; Communism. And his Religious Beliefs were Sikhism (childhood and teen); Atheism (youth).From a very maturing age, patriotism had taken its roots in Bhagat Singh’s morals. He grew up to comprehend nationalism and crave a British-free independent India. A broad reading of European literature drove him towards forming a socialist outlook strongly desiring a democratic future for his beloved country. Although born a Sikh, Bhagat Singh bent towards Atheism after witnessing several Hindu-Muslim riots and other religious outbreaks.Singh believed that something as valuable as Independence can only be achieved by a thorough cleansing of the exploitative nature of colonialism. He holds that such change can only be brought forward through an armed revolution. He introduced the slogan “Inquilab Zindabad” which sort of transformed into the war-cry of the Indian Independence movement.
Bhagat Singh, his intense patriotism coupled with cultivated idealism, made him an ideal icon for the youth of his generation. Through his written and vocal advice of the British Imperial Government, he became the voice of his generation.His powerful departure from the Gandhian non-violent route to Swaraj has often been criticized by many, yet through the fearless embracing of martyrdom, he sparked hundreds of teens and youths to join the freedom struggle wholeheartedly. His prominence in current times is evident from the fact that Bhagat Singh was voted as the Greatest Indian, ahead of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi, in a poll conducted by India Today in 2008.The inspiration that Bhagat Singh still lights within the soul of Indians can be felt in the popularity of the films and theatrical adaptations on his life. Several films like “Shaheed” (1965) and “The Legend of Bhagat Singh” (2002) were made on the life of a 23-year old revolutionary. Popular songs like the “Mohe rang de Basanti Chola” and “Sarfaroshiki Tamanna” associated with Bhagat Singh are still connected in inspiring patriotic emotions in the Indians. Numerous books, articles and papers have been written about his life, ideologies and legacy. Bhagat Singh is quite popular on social media sites as well. On the video-sharing website YouTube, you can find several videos, including Life Story of Bhagat Singh, on the life of the firebrand revolutionary.He died a martyr at the age of just 23 years. Following his execution, on March 23, 1931, the supporters and followers of Bhagat Singh regarded him as a “Shaheed” (martyr). – Arti Chaudhary

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