On this Shaheed Diwas, or Martyrs’ Day, let us recall the outstanding revolutionary who died at a young age to keep India free from the British yoke. Bhagat Singh represented the youth, who believed in anarchism and a rudimentary understanding of communism. Torn between religions, India had and still has the differences, Bhagat Singh, who practiced atheism and socialism, believed that only through socialist reconstruction can the Indian nation overthrow the British Raj. Born as Bhaganwala on 26th September 1907, let us remember the great revolutionary whose name stilll gives jitters to the young and the old today in the era of competitive religious polarisation.

After the calling off of the non-cooperation movement by Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh became disgruntled by Gandhian ideas and approaches which also caused Hindu-Muslim riots. This aggrieved Bhagat, who started questioning religion in India. Through organisations such as Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Bhagat Singh wanted the youth to combat the British Raj by gathering many workers and peasants together. It was open to any man and woman between the age group of 18 to 35. As the revolutionary ideas transcended, the colonial British enacted the Defence of India Act to give more power to the police.

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The sole purpose of this act was to combat revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. Nonetheless, the Act was then passed under the ordinance that claimed that it is the interest of the people. In response to this act, Bhagat Singh along with his comrade Batukeshwar Dutt planned to explode a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly, Lahore, undivided Punjab, where the ordinance was passed. They threw bombs in the assembly on 8th, April 1929, as the grey smoke diffused in the assembly, the duo raised the slogan, “Inquilab Zindabad!”, a phrase coined by Hasrat Mohani. The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone.

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The revolutionary, along with his comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru, was hanged to death on 23rd of March 1931 in the Lahore conspiracy case. Today, in the times of communal scuffles, we recall the martyr who initiated the idea of radical revolution in pre-Independence India. Let us retrieve the last lines of his famous essay, Why I am an Atheist. When his friend asked him to pray, “When informed of my atheism, he said, ‘When your last days come, you will begin to believe.’ I said, ‘No, dear sir, never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.”