It was moving to read a news report that the local administration of Lahore has decided to name an intersection or chowk after Bhagat Singh, the young revolutionary who was hanged by the British in that city on 23 March 1931, along with his comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. A public acknowledgement of his sacrifice was long overdue, especially in the city from which he had waged his struggle.
Bhagat Singh was only 23 years old when he was hanged but his struggle against British imperialism reverberated throughout the subcontinent and his name became a household word. He hailed from a family of revolutionaries. He was fluent in many languages, was extensively well read, wrote prolifically and was remarkably clear-headed about his ideological leanings. He was impressed by the doctrines of anarchism and Marxism. Whether he was justified in using violence to promote the cause of independence depends on one’s view about the imperatives of achieving freedom. Of his passionate patriotism there can be no doubt because of which, in spite of his youth, he is regarded as one of South Asia’s great freedom fighters. Continue reading