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Bhagat SinghBhagat Singh (September 27, 1907 – March 23, 1931) was an Indian revolutionary, considered to be one of the most famous martyrs of the Indian freedom struggle. For this reason, he is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed means "martyr"). He is also believed by many to be one of the earliest Marxists in India and has been labeled so by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) . He was one of the leaders and founders of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
Bhagat Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on banks of Sutlej river in Punjab where Bhagat Singh Memorial commemorates freedom fighters of India.
Bhagat Singh was born into a Sikh (Sandhu) family to Sardar Kishan Singh Sandhu and Vidyavati in the Khatkar Kalan village near Banga in the Jalandhar district of Punjab. As a child, he was deeply affected by the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre that took place in Punjab in 1919. When Mahatma Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920, he became an active participant at the age of 13. He had great hopes that Gandhi would bring freedom in India. But he was disappointed when Gandhi called off this movement following the Chauri Chaura riot in 1922. At this point he had openly defied the British and had followed Gandhi's wishes by burning his government-school books and any British-imported clothing. In 1923, Bhagat famously won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. This grabbed the attention of members of the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan including its General Secretary Professor Bhim Sen Vidyalankar. At this age, he quoted famous Punjabi literature and discussed the Problems of the Punjab
In his teenage years, Bhagat Singh started studying at the National College in Lahore, but ran away from home to escape early marriage, and became a member of the organization Naujawan Bharat Sabha (Translated to 'Youth Society of India'). In the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Singh and his fellow revolutionaries grew popular amongst the youth. He also joined the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association at the request of Professor Vidyalankar, which was then headed by Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqulla Khan. It is believed that he had knowledge of the Kakori train robbery. He wrote for and edited Urdu and Punjabi newspapers published from Amritsar. In September 1928, a meeting of various revolutionaries from across India was called at Delhi under the banner of the Kirti Kissan Party. Bhagat Singh was the secretary of the meet. His later revolutionary activities were carried out as a leader of this association. The capture and hanging of the main HRA Leaders also allowed him and Sukhdev to be quickly promoted to higher ranks in the party.
In the face of actions by the revolutionaries, the British government enacted the Defence of India Act to give more power to the police. The purpose of the Act was to combat revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. The Act was defeated in the council by one vote. However, the Act was then passed under the ordinance that claimed that it was in the best interest of the public. In response to this act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb in the assembly where the ordinance was going to be passed. Originally, Azad attempted to stop Bhagat Singh from carrying out the bombing, however, the remainder of the party forced him to succumb to Singh's wishes. It was decided that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, another revolutionary, would throw the bombs in the assembly.
On April 8, 1929, Singh and Dutt threw bombs onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted "Inquilab Zindabad!" ("Long Live the Revolution!"). This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear. The bomb neither killed nor injured anyone; Singh and Dutt claimed that this was deliberate on their part, a claim substantiated both by British forensics investigators who found that the bomb was not powerful enough to cause injury, and by the fact that the bomb was thrown away from people. Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb. He and Dutt were sentenced to 'Transportation for Life' for the bombing on June 12, 1929.
While in jail, Bhagat Singh and other prisoners launched a hunger strike advocating for the rights of prisoners and undertrials. The reasons for the strike was that British murderers and thieves were treated better than Indians of equal infamy, or even better than Indian Political Prisoners, who, by law, were meant to be given better rights. Their aims in their strike was to ensure a decent standard of food for political prisoners, the availability of books and a daily newspaper, as well as better clothing and the supplial of toilet necessities and other hygienic necessities. He also demanded that political prisoners should not be forced to do any labour or undignified work. During this hunger strike that lasted 63 days and ended with the British succumbing to his wishes, he gained much popularity among the common Indians. Before the strike his popularity was limited mainly to the Punjab region
Shortly after his arrest and trial for the Assembly bombing, the British came to know of his involvement in the murder of J. P. Saunders. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were charged with the murder. Bhagat Singh decided to use the court as a tool to publicize his cause for the independence of India. He admitted to the murder and made many anti-British statements during the trial. At the time the Congress were bidding for Dominion Status. As Singh grew immensely popular, they decided to act more aggressively towards the British and changed their bid to one of Total Independence. This change in events had an effect on the British government, which ordered the case to be carried out without Bhagat Singh and his comrades present at the hearing. This refusal of rights created uproar amongst Singh's supporters as he could no longer publicise his views. On March 23, 1931 Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. His supporters, who had been protesting against the hanging, immediately declared him as a shaheed or martyr.
Bhagat Singh was known for his fearlessness of death and his appreciation of martyrdom. His mentor as a young boy was Kartar Singh Sarabha and he eventually was hanged for avenging the death of martyr Lala Lajpat Rai. In the leaflet he threw in the Central Assembly on 8th April 1929, he stated that It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived. He hoped his death would inspire the youth of India to unite and fight the British Empire.
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