22/11/2016 by socialistfight
A photo throwing light to the historic hunger strike (started from 15th June 1929-ended on 4th October, 1929) of Bhagat Singh and his comrades in jail for the rights of the political prisoners. It also contains two quotes of Bhagat Singh from his court statement in 6th June, 1929.
By Akhar Bandyopadhyay
“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.
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 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 masses is 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 Revolution!”
– Com. Bhagat Singh (1907-31)
Importance must be given to one of the greatest socialist revolutionaries: Com. Bhagat Singh – a young man who shook the foundations of British imperialism.
Is it so? How did he accomplish that? I would try to seek the answer. His specialty and uniqueness lies wholly on his theoretical base. He initiated a new beginning in the history of India. To show his uniqueness in the history of Indian freedom struggle, I want to draw the reader’s attention to some of the major points. Let us concentrate on these points one by one and try to understand the great personality.
1. Bhagat Singh was unique. The storm which Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and Naujawan Bharat Sabha (the political organizations of Bhagat Singh and his comrades) created was revolutionary in the true sense of the term. Why? Because the earlier ‘revolutionary’ movements in India had no alternative, that is, they did not actually know what will happen after the British is driven out of the country. They were only fighting the alien/foreign rulers. This type of fighting, for Bhagat Singh, is not really ‘revolutionary’ in its nature. The Ghadarite Movement of 1914-15, for example, had an alternative. They were in favour of a republican form of government (influenced by the post-revolutionary American model). Similarly, Bhagat Singh and his Comrades were fighting not to replace one set of exploiters with another, neither they were fighting against any particular nation or race, but were fighting for a political-economic revolution which would reconstruct the whole society on socialistic lines. For Bhagat Singh, Revolution is not a politics of bombs or pistols. It is neither some sort of sudden upheaval involving bloodshed. “Revolution necessarily implies the programme of systematic reconstruction of society on new and better adapted basis, after complete destruction of the existing state of affairs (i.e., regime)” and “the sword of Revolution is sharpened at the whetting stone of ideas.” The ideas being the ideas of Socialism and Communism, which would emancipate the suffering humanity from the deadly clutches of the exploitative capitalist regime, and would bring to birth a new society- based on the principle of ‘each according to his ability, each according to his needs’, thus making the whole society free from all sorts of exploitation. As can clearly be seen in the activities of Naujawan Bharat Sabha or the Youth Society of India, created on March 1926 by Bhagat Singh and some of his comrades like Com. Bhagwati Charan Vohra and Com. Ram Chandra, aimed at organizing the workers and peasants in the country and preparing them for the upcoming socialist revolution. It proposed a red flag for India instead of the tricolour flag of the bourgeois Congress party. Other than that, it went to various villages in the country to awaken the masses against imperialism by spreading revolutionary consciousness. It also focused attention on the industrial workers and the need of understanding their problems and requirements.
2. Bhagat Singh was unique. In his letter ‘To young Political Workers‘ (written on February 2, 1931), Bhagat Singh made some notes on Terrorism, Gandhism, Revolution etc. If we read the notes, and try to reflect for some time, we would be able to see that he is clearly opposing the rule of any sort of bureaucratic authority. He wanted the substitution of the bureaucratic authority by that of the masses. The organized workers and peasants, led by the vanguard party, must capture political power by using revolutionary means. His line of thinking is very similar to the Russian Soviet Model.
3. Bhagat Singh was unique. In ‘Why I am an Atheist’ (written on October 5–6, 1930) and many other writings, Bhagat Singh rejected any sort of fundamentalist approach. By quoting Wendell Phillips, Singh declared that: If there is anything that cannot bear free thought, let it crack. In this way, he developed a new way of thinking, i.e. revolutionary thinking, in which he discarded blind acceptance of any theory of philosophy. In Bhagat Singh’s opinion, we must accept something to be true or false only after rigorous reasoning. Outdated and baseless beliefs in the name ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’ should always be mercilessly questioned. To make our mind truly critical and open, we must make reason “the guiding principle of life”. “Because if faith [or mere blind faith] cannot withstand the onslaught of reason, it collapses.” By adopting this mode of thinking, we would be able to check the flow of reactionary ideas.
Bhagat Singh’s relevance
In the current international political scenario, the spectre of socialist revolution, as explicated by Bhagat Singh and his comrades in their letters and statements, roams every corner of today’s world; it haunts the ruling classes in power (the bourgeoisie), and continuously questions the legitimacy of their authority.
Youth of the World! Remember what did Bhagat Singh say by quoting a scholar in his article Yuvak (1925)? He said: “It is an established truism that youngmen of today are the countrymen of tomorrow holding in their hands the high destinies of the land. They are the seeds that spring and bear fruit.” We also remember Com. Lenin saying: “…the youth that will be faced with the actual task of creating a communist society. For it is clear that the generation of working people brought up in capitalist society can, at best, accomplish the task of destroying the foundations of the old, the capitalist way of life, which was built on exploitation. At best it will be able to accomplish the tasks of creating a social system that will help the proletariat and the working classes retain power and lay a firm foundation, which can be built on only by a generation that is starting to work under the new conditions, in a situation in which relations based on the exploitation of man by man no longer exist.”
Bhagat Singh himself stressed on the importance of youth movements. I recall his lines:
“The party requires workers which can be recruited only through the youth movement. Hence we find the youth movement as the starting point of our programme. The youth movement should organize study circles, class lectures and publication of leaflets, pamphlets, books and periodicals. This is the best recruiting and training ground for political workers.” (From the letter To Young Political Workers, written on February 2, 1931)
Well, what was the reason behind the younger generation containing enlightened youths like Bhagat Singh to rise in arms against the capitalist and imperialist order? What was their actual purpose, their philosophy? We can get the answer to both the questions in a nutshell by reading the following two passages from the historic court statement before the Delhi Session’s Court on 6th June, 1929 – written by Bhagat Singh and his comrade, Batukeshwar Dutt:
“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 (outcasts) 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 a volcano.”
“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, suffering 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.”
Bhagat Singh, like Che Guevara, is one the greatest examples before the world youth and the world proletariat. He, along with Com. Batukeshwar Dutt, dropped two bombs in the imperialist Central Assembly in Delhi on 8th April, 1929 not out of any personal hatred towards any member in the assembly nor to kill or injure anyone, but to establish a strong protest and to give a”fair and loud-enough warning” against the imperialist order on behalf of the exploited working class. They threw the bombs “to make the deaf hear” by taking cue from French anarchist martyr Auguste Vaillant (1861-94), who did a similar action in the French Chamber of Deputies on 9th December, 1893.
Bhagat Singh utilized the imperialist court to propagate his socialist ideal to the masses, that is, he learnt to use the so-called ‘legal’ platform for the so-called ‘illegal’ purposes. He, in the short span of his life (23 years and 6 months), was able to designate socialism as the greatest possible alternative before humanity, and he was quite clear on this issue. His decision was well-thought-out. It was the result of the deep study of the world literature which he carried out during his college days, in underground and in jail. After carefully going through the works of Marx, Bakunin, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg and others, he knew that the contradictions created by capitalism are bound to lead towards chaos. He understood that the brutal, barbarous and profit-hungry exploitation of labour by capital must cease at all costs. Bhagat Singh’s trust in the ideal of socialism is unforgettable. The few but notable actions of his lifetime were dedicated to that very ideal. He lived and died for the same.
By introducing the slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ (Long live Revolution) and ‘Samrajyavad Murdabad’ (Down with Imperialism) along with ‘Duniya ke mazdoor ek ho’ (Workers of the world, unite) and ‘Long Live the Proletariat’, Bhagat Singh unraveled a new horizon in the Indian political arena. These slogans replaced the old nationalistic slogans of ‘VandeMataram’ (I praise thee, mother) and ‘BharatMata ki Jai’ (Victory for Mother India) with a thoroughly revolutionary socialist and internationalist mindset.
Being a declared atheist, Bhagat Singh openly wrote and spoke against communalism, casteism and religious fundamentalism by emphasizing on the concepts of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (The world is one family) and Vishv Prem (Love for the whole world). All these tell us only one thing, and that is: To do away with the bourgeois concept of the revolutionaries being “blood-thirsty monsters”!
‘The International’ in Bhagat Singh’s handwriting; taken from his Jail Notebook.
From his childhood, Bhagat Singh was deeply concerned with the well-being of the workers and peasants. We should try to learn from him in this matter. Above all, we must always look towards the toiling masses in general. They are the hope, the sole sustainer of our socialist society. We need no petty concessions from the bourgeoisie and we should not pay heed to their prejudices; rather, we must try to understand, just as Bhagat Singh did, that the well-being and prosperity of the whole human race can be achieved only through the complete overthrow of the capitalist mode of production.
To proceed slowly but with right conscience is the correct way of achieving our goal: the goal of a world socialist republic!
“In this hour, socialism is the only salvation for humanity … Socialism or barbarism!” – Rosa Luxemburg.