Shaheed Bhagat Singh: Selected Speeches and Writings: Book Review/ Rather Book Effect
I always misunderstood one statement from Bhagat Singh which said ‘I am not a terrorist, these means are never successful’. I used it to support Mahatma Gandhi. I was all wrong. While reading this collection of speeches, letters and writings, I realized Bhagat Singh has to be among the most educated freedom fighters we have had. And his statement about terrorism isn’t built on some ideals, it’s about a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge he gained.
What came out very clearly is that the Hindustan Socialist Republican Party had strong opinion about everything, and it had much more solid principals and beliefs than some of the modern day parties. They had well thought of plans and demarcations for everything. And they were extremely clever bunch. Amazingly honest, hardworking, didn’t fear to lay down their lives. But most important, they were practical.
They never believed in getting freedom in a year or so, Bhagat Singh in one of the addresses mentioned that as impossible, and a daydream. He had mentioned about a struggle for about twenty years.
Originally, he was part of Gandhiji’s Non-Co-operation Movement. He supported it completely. Then, when on some instances of violence Gandhiji decided to call-off the movement. Before continuing it, I do have two questions a)does one person, as a leader, has right to rule over a movement of lakhs of people whether or not they want to continue it or not b)does 95% or 90% success doesn’t amount to success? If only perfect things were accepted, we wouldn’t have any invention. Probably no human either, babies will have to be killed on birth because they’re not perfect.
There is a clause in the manifesto of Hindustan Republican Party, Right to Recall, something we’re discussing even now. Bhagat Singh believed mental labor and manual labor be judged equally, wasn’t happy with plight of farmers, laborers, with the situation of education etc. We have all these problems even today. Much worse than before. Might be a blasphemous thought, but had Bhagat Singh got equal popularity as a Gandhi, and had Gandhiji got death sentence, India might have been better, more practical.
Mahatma Gandhi was an idealist. Shaheed Bhagat Singh, and Hindustan Socialist Republican Party were practical. Probably biased towards Socialist, but even socialist would’ve been good for today.
Anyway, coming back to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, all he committed was one murder, and no other real crime. His letters to the British weren’t considered probably because they didn’t understand the argument, and the sarcasm, and even though English was their language, they had someone making a mockery of them in their language. Pen is mightier than sword, even in case of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
I feel saddened by the loss of four books that Bhagat Singh wrote, and were lost. I am thankful for the collection brought along, and at a very nominal price. It cleared many conceptions, made me a fan of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, an amazing icon for education, despite his death at the age of 23. That is education, when you acquire an amazing knowledge of the history of your field of expertise, awareness of happenings around the world, and your own practical inputs.