Bhagat Singh was one of the most powerful revolutionaries in the Indian independence movement. I got highly influenced by Bhagat Singh and felt that I should study his life. I read his biography, Without Fear- The Life And Trial Of Bhagat Singh by Kuldip Nayar, Why I Am An Atheist And Other Works by Bhagat Singh, and many articles. I found that Bhagat Singh’s life is extremely inspiring, which will fill you with courage and patriotism. He should be the role model of every youth of India.
Well, there are misunderstandings as well, some people call him a terrorist because he killed an Englishman, John Saunders, and threw bombs in the assembly, but it’s they who haven’t studied the life of Bhagat Singh. I don’t want to debate whether his methods were correct or not; I just want to talk about his life and his values. He is a role model not because he picked guns but because he picked books.
So, in this blog, I have shared five lessons from India’s one of the most courageous freedom fighters, Bhagat Singh.
Lessons from Bhagat Singh’s Life
On 13th April 1919, on the day of Baisakhi, around 10,000 people, including men, women, and children, had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the Rowlatt act. General Dyer was in charge of Amritsar at that time; he blocked the only exit to the garden so that no one could escape. And ordered his army to fire at the people protesting there openly. Helpless Indian protestors were, they ran for life, but there was no place to run. Some of them even jumped into the well in the garden to save their life. More than 350 people lost their lives, and more than one thousand got injured. It was one of the deadliest massacres in the history of India. Bhagat Singh was 13 years old when he learned of this incident and got highly disturbed.
The next day he was not in school because he went to Jallianwala Bagh on Amritsar. There he found the soil of that garden soaked with the blood of innocent Indians. He collected that soil wet with blood and stored it in a jar. When he returned home, he worshipped that soil with flowers.
By the age of 16, he had seen enough suffering of Indians that he had made it a strong purpose to devote his life to the freedom of India.
He was born on 27th September 1907, and his father and uncle were freedom fighters. His father’s teachings also influenced him to work for the nation, and fighting for the freedom of India became his purpose. This strong purpose helped him later take courageous steps and make sacrifices which shook the whole country. Bhagat Singh is an example of how brave you become when you have a solid and definite purpose. This is one of the most inspiring lessons from Bhagat Singh’s life.
When he was 17, in 1924, his family wanted him to get married. But Bhagat Singh had devoted his life to the nation, and he knew there would be many adversaries and dangers to his life. He didn’t want to leave a widow. So, he chose not to marry. But he could not make his family understand this, so he finally left his home and came to Kanpur to fight for freedom.
Bhagat Singh became a member of the Hindustan Republican Association in 1924, and here he met Chandra Sekhar Azad and became close friends. HRA was a revolutionary organization that fought against British colonial rule in India. This organization was later renamed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). Here Bhagat Singh took many steps to oppose British colonial rule in India. Of them, the biggest was throwing bombs on the central assembly hall in 1929.
HSRA wanted two revolutionaries to throw bombs in the assembly to show the British rulers the resentment against their rule. These two, who would throw the bomb, would not run after throwing the bomb but surrender themselves to show that revolutionaries could sacrifice themselves to protest against the British. Bhagat Singh desired to take part in this mission along with B.K. Dutt, another HSRA member. They knew that their days were limited because they were almost sure they would be hanged for throwing the bomb.
On 8th April 1929, Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt threw two bombs in the assembly hall. They surrendered themselves, and they were locked in prison. After years of court procedures, Bhagat Singh, along with Sukhdev and Rajguru, was hanged on 23rd March 1931.
This shows his desire to sacrifice for the nation. He sacrificed marriage, home, comfort, and even his life for the freedom of India. Today most of us wouldn’t even sacrifice for our career, leave alone the country. The Indian youth need to learn how to sacrifice from Bhagat Singh.
When Bhagat Singh was in jail, after throwing bombs in the central assembly, he found that the condition of political prisoners was highly pathetic. Basic necessities like sufficient food, better clothing, toilet paper, etc., were denied. They were treated like animals; often, bread was thrown to them as if they were dogs. Newspapers and books were prohibited. In contrast, European prisoners didn’t have all these problems; only Indian political prisoners were made to suffer.
So, Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt started a hunger strike in their jails on 15th June. 1929. Bhagat Singh also wrote a letter to the government of India asking them to improve the conditions of political prisoners. Many other prisoners also joined the strike, and it gained popularity throughout the country; the Indians became angry at the suffering of Bhagat Singh and other political prisoners.
After many attempts, the British government gave up and assured them that the conditions would be improved. Later Congress also convinced Bhagat Singh to stop the strike. It was 5th October 1929 when the hunger strike ended; Bhagat Singh kept fast for 116 days, surpassing the world record of a 97-day hunger strike.
Bhagat Singh never just thought and complained about the system; he believed in taking action. He killed Saunders to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. He threw bombs to protest against the Trade Disputes Bill and Public Safety Bill. He carried a hunger strike of 116 days to improve the condition of political prisoners. Reactive people only complain and curse the system, proactive people take action. Bhagat Singh was a proactive person because he always took action to improve the condition no matter where he was.
On the evening of 23rd March 1931, the day Bhagat Singh was hanged, Bhagat Singh’s lawyer Pran Nath Mehta came to meet him for the last time. Bhagat Singh knew he had very few times left, so he immediately asked Mehta whether he had brought the book The Revolutionary Lenin. Bhagat Singh had earlier asked him to get this book.
When Mehta gave him the book, he became very happy, and without wasting any time, he started reading. Mehta asked him how he felt; without taking his eyes off the book, he said, “Happy, as always.” And then Mehta asked him if there was anything he desired; Bhagat Singh said, “ Yes, I want to be born again in the same country so that I can serve it again.” After meeting him, Mehta went to meet Rajguru and Sukhdev.
Fearing protests and processions by the Indian crowd, The time of hanging was reduced by 11 hours. So, instead of six in the morning of 24th March, they were to be hanged on the same day, on 23rd March. When the authorities told Bhagat Singh they would be hanged now; Bhagat Singh asked, “Won’t you allow me to finish one chapter?”
Reading books had been Bhagat Singh’s passion from childhood. It is said that he read around 200 books when he was in college and 300 books when he was in prison. When he was in HSRA, he would go to the local library and read books to gather information about revolutions in the past and share the information with his colleagues.
He learned about Marxism, communism, and revolutionary philosophy by reading all books available in the library. When he was in jail, he spent almost all the time reading. The library was not even able to meet his demands. He had even told all his visitors to get books and no other gift when they came to meet him in jail.
Books helped him learn about the history and the revolutionaries of the past. He got influenced by Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Books made him wise, gave him courage. Books helped him to get enough confidence in his approach and fight against the British. This is a crucial lesson to learn from Bhagat Singh’s life; reading can make you wiser, braver, and greater.
On 7th Oct. 1930 court announced the death sentence for Bhagat Singh and his comrades. This news shocked the nation. From 7th October to 23rd March 1931, many people tried to save Bhagat Singh and his comrades from death, but Bhagat Singh didn’t want to get saved. He wanted to die because he knew if he died, the youth would awaken from their sleep and fight against British rule. He even wrote a letter to the Punjab Governor that he was a war prisoner, so he requested them to shoot them instead of hanging them.
When asked why he wanted to die, he said, “Revolutionaries have to die because the cause they represent is strengthened by sacrifice, not by an appeal in court.”
On the evening of 23rd March, when other prisoners learned that the Bhagat Singh and his comrades were to be hanged on the same day, they got broken. They knew they would be hanged, but when the actual time came, they got devastated. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Hari Rajguru happily climbed the gallows showing the British that Indians were not afraid to die for their country. The jail authorities were amazed by the courage of these three young people; never had they seen someone climb the gallows so courageously.
This is the most powerful lesson from Bhagat Singh’s life- courage. He never feared death; he had a strong purpose: freedom for India for which he would do anything.
The life of Bhagat Singh was short; he didn’t live 100 years but died very young, living only for 23 years. But in this short period, his thoughts and actions were such that many people who lived 100 years couldn’t have such thoughts and actions. He didn’t want us to remember him; he wanted nothing.
But I request everyone who is reading this blog, to read about Bhagat Singh, study his life, and get to know his thoughts and ideas, for he sacrificed everything for the freedom of India, for he was a hero whose inspiring life can help you face many challenges in your life. And truly he said, “They may kill me, but they cannot kill my ideas. They can crush my body, but they will not be able to crush my spirit.”