What Bhagat Singh should mean to us
Bhagat Singh was a light lit against the storm, he was the ripple against the wave, though he knew he would not survive for long, but it did not stop him from raging like a wildfire.
What Bhagat Singh should mean to us
Sardar Bhagat Singh was a rare star to have shined upon India during the freedom struggle. He was one of the few young men of his age and time to have a clear vision of his purpose and conviction to put his words into action. The awe of his personality stems from the fact that by the young age of 23, when he was martyred, he had already baffled the world with his courage and ‘had dared all earthly power to curb his spirit’. He was a light lit against the storm, he was the ripple against the wave, though he knew he would not survive for long, but it did not stop him from raging like a wildfire.
He was a convinced man, with a belief that his life was meant for Mother India, his purpose was to fight the British and win freedom for the country, even if he had to die for it. More importantly, violence for him was not just for the sake of it, rather the operational purpose of violence was to ‘make deaf ears hear’. This purpose and rationale of violence that he gave, put him in a league of his own, away from the lone extremists, who would indulge in violence without pondering over its purpose. It also points towards the fact that had the situation been favourable he would not have opted for violence in the first place, since it was the atrocious and exploitative British regime that forced people like Bhagat Singh to take up arms.
The philosophy of Bhagat Singh is Patriotism, suitable for all ages and times. During the British colonialist regime, Bhagat Singh took to arms because the imperial British were not going to listen to the words of Indians, they were in India to exploit and ravage Mother India and not for the welfare of our country. To protest against such a cruel regime, it would necessarily require to use all the might that one can muster, and to people like Bhagat Singh this might also included the ‘the philosophy of the Bomb’ as conceptualized by Bhagwati Charan Vohra. His point was that when the alien government has no interest in hearing the pleas of the destitute millions of people being trampled beneath their cruel feet, it becomes contingent upon those who can, raise their voice, wherever they can, in ways which are at their disposal. What Bhagat Singh and his associates did was to use the means available to them to eliminate the British regime from India.
This was in the pre independent era. However, in the post Independent India situation has changed. The British have left and now it is our responsibility to resurrect India to even the greater heights than before. People have argued that Bhagat Singh was a socialist and an atheist, hence his relevance in free India is essentially in terms of the socialist revolution. But this is not the case, Bhagat Singh’s philosophy outrightly was patriotism. He lived and dies for India and we must not forget this crucial fact. Had he been born in our times, almost a hundred years after, he might have seen the importance of nation building. He would have certainly pitched for making India a global power, where India is atma nirbhar and can contribute to the welfare of Humanity with her extensive expertise in vaccine manufacturing.
In this context, the question today before us is, what should be the duty of a patriot in India today? First and foremost, the duty of a patriot in India should be to use his potential to contribute in the national service. We do not live in revolutionary times like Bhagat Singh did, hence we can not go on saying Inqilab Zindabad. What we can do is to excel in our respective fields and contribute in making India developed, addressing the chronic problems like poverty, malnutrition, lack of innovation etc. Real patriotism lies in national service. In this sense, various schemes of Government of India provide apt avenues to contribute to the national development. From Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, to Make in India, to IMPRESS to Institutes of Eminence are the avenues of national service, these schemes and institutions are the fountainheads of the National Development, ranging from manufacturing sector to the path-breaking research in various areas.
The significance of the Indian contribution to the world was recently on full display in the Vaccine Diplomacy, based on the state-of-the-art vaccine production units in India, that have given the noun ‘Pharmacy of the World’ to India. This example of the national service is the reminder of the fact that there is more than one way to express one’s patriotism. What is important is the idea that one should have the belief that the work he does in his respective field is the real service to the Nation and the patriotism is the guiding star, and with that he will be able to pay his real homage to the Mother India.
As Bhagat Singh wrote in his last letter to his brother Kultar Singh:
Mere Hawa mein rahegii khayal ki bijlii
Yeh musht-e-khaak hai faani, rahe rahe, na rahe