Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Ground Zero: Shaheed Bhagat Singh-the revolutionary with the pen-Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, September 28: For years, the political parties projected Shaheed  Bhagat Singh as gun-toting young freedom fighter who believed in the use of violent means to overthrow the British rule without referring to what he stood for, the idea of his freedom.
His works started surfacing years later with the efforts of persons like Prof Chaman Lal, Amarjit Chandan, S Irfan Habib, Prof Bipin Chandra and others. Observing his birth and martyrdom anniversaries has become a ritual with governments and political parties. However,  what is overlooked is his revolutionary thought. It is good that preserving the places he was associated with has been repeatedly raised but then what is more important is the ideology he preached and his own contribution to the revolutionary thought. He had turned a prolific writer at a very young age and continued with his pen till the end.
Perhaps it is known to very few that the slogan Inquilab Zindabad  originated with Shaheed Bhagat Singh and used in the statement “It takes a loud voice to make a deaf hear” released after he and B K Dutt threw bomb in the Parliament.
Here is how Bhagat Singh defined  ‘revolution’  as quoted by Prof Chaman Lal in his book ‘The Jail Notebook and Other Writings’:
“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 re-organize society on socialistic  basis. Unless this thing is done and the exploitation of man by man and nations by nations is brought to an end, sufferings and scourge  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 wars. This is our ideal, and with this ideology as our inspiration, we have given a fair and loud enough warning”.
This is central to the ideology of Shaheed Bhagat Singh which  every establishment would like to overlook as  Shaheed Bhagat With  the Pen is a warning to every status quo.
According to Prof Chaman Lal, when Ramanand Chatterjee, editor of Modern Review ridiculed the slogan of Inquilab Zindabad, Bhagat Singh and B K Dutt rebutted him in The Tribune of December 24, 1929.
Here is  how they explained the slogan:
“Revolution did not  necessarily involve sanguinary strife. It was not a cult of bomb and pistol…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. The people generally get accustomed to the established order of things and begin to  tremble at the very idea of change. It is this lethargical spirit that needs to be replaced by the revolutionary spirit. Otherwise degeneration gains the upper hand and the whole humanity is led astray 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 to check its eternal onward march. 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”.
It is also important to quote from his essay “Why I am an Atheist” for the understanding of the ideology of the great revolutionary:
“As regards the origin of God, my own idea is that having realized the limitations of man, his weaknesses and shortcomings having been taken into consideration, God was brought into imaginary existence to encourage man to face boldly all the trying circumstances, to meet all dangers manfully and to check and restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God, both with his private laws and parental generosity, was imagined and painted in greater details. He was to serve as a deterrent factor when his fury and private laws were discussed, so that man may not become a danger to society. He was to serve as a father, mother, sister and brother, friend and helper, when his parental qualifications were to be explained. So that when man be in great distress, having been betrayed and deserted by all friends, he may find consolation in the idea that he was almighty and could do anything. Really that was useful to the society in the primitive age. The idea of God is helpful to a man in distress.
“Society has to fight out this belief as well as was fought the idol worship and the narrow conception of religion. Similarly, when man rises to stand on his own legs and become a realist, he shall have to throw the faith aside, and to face manfully all distress, trouble, in which the circumstances may throw him. That is exactly my state of affairs. It is not my vanity, my friends. It is my mode of thinking that has made me an atheist. I don’t know whether in my case belief in God and offering of daily prayers which I consider to be most selfish and degraded act on the part of man, whether these prayers can prove to be helpful or they shall make my case worse still. I have read of atheists facing all troubles quite boldly; so I am trying to sand like a man with an erect head to the last, even to the gallows.
“Let us see how I carry on. One friend asked me to pray. When informed of my atheism, he said : “During your last days, you will begin to believe”. I said, ‘No, dear Sir, it shall not be. I will think that to be an act of degradation and demoralization on my part. For selfish motives, I am not going to pray”. Readers and friends “Is this “vanity”? If it is, I stand for it”.
This was the real Bhagat Singh, the revolutionary philosopher.

No comments: