The Indian freedom struggle comprised of an innumerable set of actions. Yet, the most unique and important among the actions, was the contribution of the Indian revolutionaries, the handful of youth who had a clear vision of universal brotherhood and equality. They stood for economic, social and political independence.
Organisations like Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS), Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) were the pioneers behind the vision. The whole idea of building a socialist India was inspired by Russia’s socialist revolution, whose leader V.I. Lenin made a great impact on the minds of the leaders of HSRA. The inclination and commitment towards the communist and Marxist doctrine can easily be traced if one goes through the writings of Bhagat Singh on the problem of Punjab’s language and script, the problem of untouchability, communalism and the writings of comrade Ram Chandra, a man associated with the Naujawan Bharat Sabha and Shiv Verma.
In India, it has become a regular trend to play with historical dates and their significance. The recent past has seen a series of attempts to play with the history of the Indian revolutionary movement and it is being undertaken by the so-called self-proclaimed nationalists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiv Sena and other Hindutva groups. Followers of Savarkar are in a state of pain as they don’t have their own icon who gave up their life during the nation’s liberation movement. A huge deficit and bankruptcy prevail.
Let us have a look at a few attempts at anachronism. Seven years ago, the saffron brigade gave a public call in the state of Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) to recruit 10,000 Hindu youths for the mission to establish a Hindu rashtra. To do so, they issued a poster with pictures of Savarkar and Shivaji. Notably, in the poster, one could find pictures of Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. They were being portrayed as ‘Hindu’ revolutionaries. It is really idiotic to show Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad as symbols of a Hindu rashtra. In reality, they were against communalism and favoured a secular state.
They went ahead even further, to bend history, insulting common sense through the medium of mass communication. On the eve of Valentine’s Day in 2011, some people spread a rumour that Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged by the British government on February 14. Isn’t it surprising and condemnable? The zealots went ahead to spread this misinformation through Wikipedia, the preferable encyclopaedia for the net savvy, to know who is who and what is what. According to a news report in The Hindu, “The Wikipedia page on Bhagat Singh underwent many editing changes on February 13 and 14, Valentine’s Day.” The date of his hanging had been changed from March 23, 1931, to February 14, 1931. Similarly, on Twitter, this misinformation had spread like a fire.
Shiv Sena (Punjab) also propagated the same rumour, only due to its hatred towards Valentine’s Day.
These actions prove very clearly that hardcore Hindutva fringe elements are trying their level best to hijack heroes of the freedom struggle. Particularly, young revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. By portraying them as agents of a Hindu rashtra in posters. These people distort history very smartly. Yet, they have failed. The death warrant for Bhagat Singh was issued on October 7, 1930, and he was hanged on March 23, 1931. They are unaware of the fact that in his last letter to young political workers dated February 2, 1931, Bhagat Singh wrote, ‘Social reconstruction on new, i.e, Marxist, basis’. In the same letter, he strongly pitches for the formation of a communist party to carry out the task of revolution.
This insane approach and hatred towards Valentine’s Day by religious fundamentalists end up creating misunderstanding amongst us, regarding our own proud legacy of sacrifice. Bhagat Singh and his comrades logically advocated the idea of independent India which was to be inclusive in nature, with strong bonds of commonality and rejection of religion in matters related to the state. In simple terms, they were against the formation of any Hindu rashtra or an Islamic state.
The above-mentioned mishappenings put greater responsibility on us. The responsibility of not believing in distorted facts, but to keep alive the belief of what these revolutionaries had lived and died for. In order to pay real tribute to these fearless visionaries, we must counter the propaganda of communal forces loaded with lie and animosity at various levels, within our own capacities. We must stand against this injustice done to our historical legacy of struggle, sacrifice and service.