New Delhi: As India celebrates Martyrs Day on March 23, the death anniversary of Bhagat Singh whose idea of nationalism was very different from the recent one with ‘sedition’ undertones in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), we must look back and introspect whether we have learnt any lessons from the great heroes Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.

Any point of view has a counter and this in turn brings forth the concept of debate, something which is essential for the evolution of a race.

In an event organised by a student’s group in JNU on February 9 to celebrate the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, a convict in Parliament attacks of 2001 who was sentenced after a well-evidenced trial by the Supreme Court of India.

Some slogans were raised that were called anti-national by many. The videos of this event spread like wildfire on the social media and soon attracted attention of all the cameras.

It was not late when sides were taken and India was divided in three parts. One was giving ‘nationalism’ certificates. The other one, which was not taking the ‘nationalism’ certificate and thirdly, a few others who were not part of the debate broadly made up for the spectrum of India’s population.

India gained independence in 1947. This was 67 years ago when the masses stood united against the British and became a free secular nation. Somehow, it seems that the divide and rule policy by the British empire was too deep rooted and Indians still seem to fall for it.

Did the martyrs like Bhagat Singh and thousand others laid down their life for their countrymen so that they can fight in the future among themselves on nationalism?

The questions remain unanswered.

Bhagat Singh’s patriotism, sacrifice and selfless love for his motherland are beyond doubt. The 23 year old young man was hanged to death on March 23, 1931. Bhagat Singh was charged with the murder of John Saunders, a British police officer. The assassination of this police officer was to avenge the death of a great leader of the Indian independence movement – Lala Lajpat Rai. 

It was a well planned strategy by Bhagat Singh to get arrested and raise issues from the jail which were otherwise not possible. There was a hunger strike by these freedom fighters for 116 days and finally the Indian prisoners got equal rights.

This action of the ‘radicals’ shows us the amount of respect they had for the judiciary and the law of the land. In modern-day scenario, one wonders why a section of Indian citizens, being governed by their own rules, question the Constitution and seem not to trust the Apex Court of the country?

The trial and conviction of terrorists like Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru was well-documented, broadcasted and discussed. It is without a doubt that these terrorists brought about deaths and insulted the fabric of the country as proved by the trial. However, there are a few in this country who question the order of the apex court. Why is this so? It is a question we must address urgently and through peaceful debate, bring the controversy to its logical conclusion.

The procession of 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts’ convict Yakub Memon last year saw thousands gather. Some were merely curious but some other had a different agenda in their hearts. It is this prick in the scheme of things that needs to be looked into.

On March 23, we look back and take inspiration from heroes like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, the ones who put their motherland before self and catalysed the nation for a greated good. Their legacy still burns bright in the hearts of many and continues to be an inspiration for many more.

Hopefully, this generation of leaders and common masses takes a leaf out of the book of our martyrs and start working towards the India which was once dreamt of by the sons of the soil.

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