16/01/2017 by socialistfight
By Saurav Kumar
There is no doubt that Bhagat Singh is one of the most celebrated martyrs of the Indian freedom struggle. He has left behind a legacy that everyone wants to appropriate, yet most do not wish to look beyond the romantic image of a gun-toting young nationalist. Perhaps the reason is that this is the image that was created in the official colonial records partially, an image we inherited and conveniently accepted as truth. Colonial records told the common masses that revolutionary activities were dastardly crimes, committed for the gratification of money and blood lust. In fact, this is clearly reflected in the contemporary consciousness, particularly the youth, who visualize Bhagat Singh as someone who terrorized the British through his violent deeds. His daring spirit is lauded, turning him into an icon. His posters are sold on pavements, stickers with his photo on car windscreens. It may be heartening to see that Bhagat Singh is still loved and venerated but the question we need to ask is: do we have any clue to his politics and ideas? In history the pen has not always been mightier than the sword but at least it has mostly been a potent weapon as the sword. Bhagat Singh remains the best example in Indian revolutionary movement of using his pen instead of sword.
Bhagat Singh underwent numerous evolutionary changes to master the understanding of world phenomenon despite of insane restrictions. An actor, singer, swimmer, newspaper vendor, cyclist make him an individual with all common traits and extraordinary caliber. His bio sketches of eminent revolutionary martyrs always took a center stage. He was vocal against nexus of Casteism-Communalism. A pioneer thinker to put these two concepts on one platform his understanding of Class Consciousness to resist communalism with unity among the working class people remains the crux of his understanding of scientific socialism.
BHAGAT SINGH AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
This year marks 100 years of The October Revolution. It is the most appropriate time to conquer the links of this iconic Indian revolutionary and the Russian revolution. Bhagat Singh got deep influence from experiment of Scientific Socialism in Soviet Union. He tried his best to draw lessons from personality of V. I. Lenin: the architect of the Russian revolution. It can be said by throwing some light on his actions. His initiative to add the word “Socialist” in Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) to make it Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) was the first step towards socialism. In his Letter “To Young Political Workers” he specifically mentions about participation in Duma and quotes Lenin in connection to the Brest-Litovsk Treaty: “Peace. Peace and Peace at any cost of many of the Russian Provinces to be yielded to the German War Lord.” Further went ahead to say- “I wanted to point out compromise is an essential tool has to be wielded every now and then as struggle develops.” He is perhaps the only leader of India’s independence struggle who expressed the dialectics between concepts of imperialism and revolution through the slogans of: “Long Live Revolution” and “Down with Imperialism”. Bhagat Singh’s effort to know every anti-colonial, anti-imperial strategy went grew rapidly and he advised the young political workers to study the definite views of Lenin on the subject of compromise in “Left- Wing Communism: An infantile disorder”. He was attracted towards the republican model of the United States which in nearby past defeated British imperialism. He used to spend most of his time in understanding the concept of socialist revolution from the phase of evolution to application. Bhagat Singh had repeatedly stated showing his firm faith not only in Class Struggle but also in the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as per touchstone given by V. I. Lenin. After his arrest in 1929, he insisted to send one of his fellow Comrades, Prithvi Azad Singh, to the Soviet Union to study the nature and process of the revolution. This should be done for the benefit of Indian revolutionaries and the Indian revolution was his logic. Though Prithvi Singh was much older than Bhagat Singh, he was touched by the earnestness and sincerity. Lastly the plan was executed. In his jail dairy he took notes from Irish literature, British literature, American literature, European literature, Russian literature reading 143 books, to name a few: The Lessons of October by Leon Trotsky, The Russian Experiment by K. T. Shah and Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky by V. I. Lenin.
The respect for socialist experiment came into light when HSRA leaders had sent a telegram to Moscow on 6th death anniversary of Comrade V. I. Lenin. with slogans “Long Live Socialist Revolution “ Long Live Communist International “Long Live People” “Lenin’s Name Will Never Die” and “Down With Imperialism”. Even in his last hours before death he seriously gave all his effort to understand the personality of Lenin by reading a book on him named “Reminiscences of Lenin”, written by German Marxist Clara Zetkin, whose review got published in the “The People” newspaper in 1929. He was among the first to read this book in the country.
Bhagat Singh’s commitment towards Scientific Socialism remains one of the most important parts of his personality. In short it can be said that he wanted to be like Lenin. In his autobiographical note:”Why I am an Atheist”, He said no to mysticism, no to blind faith and declared realism as his cult. This proves his clear understanding of the materialist philosophy of Marxism. In his court statement with Batukeshwar Dutt, he said- “….we humbly claim to be serious students of history and conditions of our country and human aspirations and we despise hypocrisy.”
Pic (Left to Right)- Message to Moscow Remembering Lenin, Last Book Read by Bhagat Singh.
Even when he was on the threshold of death he wanted that the mission of freeing the country from the imperialists must be accomplished. Moreover, the revolutionary movement should take a proper course enlightened by the communist doctrine. Even his early faith in violence and terrorism was qualitatively different from the contemporary terrorist violence and he transcended that soon to espouse a revolutionary vision to transform independent India into a secular, socialist, and egalitarian society. He needs to be taken out of from iconic image of a revolutionary. This compels his fellow countrymen to consider him as an alien who just can be seen and not understood, introspected or practiced. Mere symbolism of the martyr without deep introspection about his mind and stand on different issues deserves rejection. Bhagat Singh’s intellectual legacy needs to be remembered in these acrimonious times when the danger of inequality, religious fundamentalism, and discrimination based on caste, color, race, and gender is increasingly expanding its reach over the globe. The best legatee inheritors of his legacy are people who stand firmly to strengthen the bond of commonality among people of this society, nation and the world.
Long Live Revolution!
Down with Imperialism!