How politicians misuse Bhagat Singh's name to fool people

The best way to honour the revolutionary is to realise his vision about making an India of his ideals, not through deceptive sloganeering like 'Make in India'.

 |  3-minute read |   28-09-2015
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Bhagat Singh's ideology is more relevant today than any other time before. Many problems which engulf our society today can be addressed by following Bhagat Singh's ideas. The biggest threat to our nation is of communal fascist forces expanding and threatening social peace, creating terror in the minds of minorities and other oppressed sections of the society. The rampant land grabbing by the state for the benefit of big corporates, oppression of workers, students, Dalits, not to forget the saffronisation of education, destroying the minds of the young with irrational, unscientific moral ideas obscurantists like Dinanath Batra, are such serious developments, which can be countered and addressed only by following and referring to enlightened ideas of political thinkers like Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar and Periyar.

Bhagat Singh's ideas on communalism expressed in his essays like Communal riots and their resolution, Religion and our freedom struggle, "Why I Am An Atheist" can liberate the youth's mind from obscurantist, divisive ideas. His Letters to Young Political Workers, addresses the problems of workers and peasants. Now is the most crucial time to follow Bhagat Singh's ideals to save India from falling into a deep pit of divisive communal fascism, which can destroy the very fibre of the Indian nation.

Today, Bhagat Singh's name is being used by ruling parties to fool the people and for political gains. It is hypocrisy on the part of these parties, who practically go against the ideals of Bhagat Singh, yet try to use his name to emotionally blackmail voters. Neither can his contribution to the Indian independence struggle be forgotten nor its significance be undermined. However, ruling political parties try to distort his image and ideas for their vested interests and reduce him to a "brave patriot". Instead, they suppress his revolutionary transformatory ideas! None of these major power holding parties can really claim Singh's legacy, they are rather killing his ideas. His legacy has been taken forward by leftist parties and to some extent some sections and young followers of AAP-like parties. These, however, still do not fully have the claim to the legacy of Bhagat Singh or other revolutionary freedom fighters.

Bhagat Singh was just 23 years old when he was awarded the death sentence. His sacrifice for the nation turned him into an icon for the youth. Though many may compare Hardik Patel, an upstart youth to be the modern-day counterpart to Singh, it is an insult to revolutionary's memory. Singh would have never misled youngsters to such a disharmonious movement as one led by Hardik Patel. His message to the youth today would have been to organise workers, peasants and students of the country to revolt against all communal and pro corporate parties. In his Letters to Young Political Workers, Singh had been critical of industrialists like Purshotam Das Thakkar and prominent lawyers like Tej Bahadur Sapru who replaced Lord Reading and Lord Irwin as powerful figures in the political system but continued with the same exploitative system, which Bhagat Singh and his comrades wished to overthrow completely. And in its place build a new socialist India of working people and not one of corporate feudal parasites!

As we commemorate him on his 108th birth anniversary today, the best way to honour Singh is to honour his vision about making an India of his ideals and not through deceptive sloganeering like "Make in India". It is necessary that Bhagat Singh's ideas through his writings should be made part of school, college and university courses, by which youth should get acquainted with the real Bhagat Singh and not the filmi or media distorted version of the revolutionary.

(As told to Ursila Ali)


Chaman Lal Chaman Lal @profchaman

The author is a retired professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the author of Understanding Bhagat Singh.

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