“It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived.” The aforementioned lines are taken from the leaflet thrown by Bhagat Singh and his counterparts when they threw a bomb in the central legislative assembly in 1929.How true this line is! Many years after his death, Bhagat Singh still remains in hearts of many Indians and is one of the most appealing youth icons of the country.While he is popularly known for his patriotism,it is his romanticism which is much more fascinating than anything else.Contemporary India where the average age of population is around 27 years should therefore do a careful reading of Bhagat Singh’s short but eventful life.
In order to understand Bhagat singh’s ideas one needs to study his decisions and his writings.The first decision ,which was of significant importance, was to choose Dayanand Anglo Vedic School rather than choosing Khalsa high school which had patronage of Britishers.In days of freedom struggle, this may seem as an obvious decision.But Bhagat Singh belonged to no normal family.His family was highly political and they could have chosen like many others to send their child to any foreign institution. In fact, even after more than seventy years Indian political elite still considers foreign institutions as their first choice.How many political family’s children study in India? I am sure the figure will be very dismal.It shows that Bhagat Singh and his family had more confidence in Indian Institutions than even today’s Indian elite class have. The young Indians should appreciate the fact that once we have confidence in our institutions , only then we will think of making them better else these institutions will follow their own curve of decay.
Bhagat Singh’s life also reveals that pursuit of knowledge is not caged in formal institutions.In this era of learning, coaching and tutoring, Bhagat Singh’s passion for knowledge should be an example for young students and learners. Bhagat Singh had read hundreds of books and many foreign revolutionaries before he attained martyrdom.The following lines from the essay ‘Why I am an atheist‘ show his appreciation for knowledge and role of knowledge in refining one’s viewpoint.
“Study was the cry that reverberated in the corridors of my mind. Study to enable yourself to face the argument advanced by opposition . Study to arm yourself with arguments in favour of your cult. I began to Study. My previous faith and convictions underwent a remarkable modification. The romance of the violent methods alone which was so prominent among our predecessors , was replaced by serious ideas. No more mysticism , no more blind faith. Realism became our cult.” He further writes that, “The most important thing was the clear conception of the ideal for which we were to fight. As there was no important activities in the field of action I got ample opportunity to study various ideals of world revolution .”
After so many years also India is still lost in debate of communism and capitalism when ultimate aim of any ideology is to benefit mankind.So much so , Bhagat Singh himself is labelled as communist and rejected by some quarters of the society.However, those who label him as communist are ignorant of romanticism of young age.Undercurrents of socialism were very strong at that time and one of the reason for this was egalitarian philosophy that lies in the heart of socialism.Anyone who is living in society full of inequality and discrimination is bound to get fascinated by Idea of socialism.The world’s practical experience with socialism has not been great but Bhagat Singh hardly got any time to experience those side effects.In fact one should appreciate that Bhagat Singh had the ability to choose an ideology on its merit not because of any borrowed knowledge.
Borrowed and half baked knowledge has confused Indians and left them warring on the basis of ideologies. Communism for many means China and capitalism for many means America.Such a binary classification of communism and capitalism is very unhealthy for any nation. In fact, most of the societies need a combination of multiple ideologies and this exactly India also requires. Any in depth study of contemporary world would show that real world is far away from the world of ideologies. Bhagat Singh’s writings inspire us to develop our own original viewpoint about these philosophies and to enter into realm of realism.
Bhagat Singh symbolized youthfulness at its best.He showed exemplary mental, emotional and physical courage.He challenged the Britishers with all his might.Inside him was a man with an imagination of a free and better India.He romanced with Idea of a nation which will be free of Inequality and would provide equal opportunities to all.He dreamt of a society that will be able to provide a dignified life to every Individual who is a part of it.Such an idealism is missing in today’s India. Bhagat Singh’s social imagination should inspire Indians to imagine a better life for themselves and work towards that goal.
Bhagat Singh’s ideas were beyond his years.At very young age, he had got in depth knowledge of society and its multiple facets.More than that he epitomizes what a young person full of dreams and imagination can do.Young age should be an age of wild imagination.It should have dreams of progress and advancement.It should have passion and courage to follow those dreams.It should refresh the society with fragrance of progressive ideas.India is at cusp of change.It just requires its contemporary generations to fuel the fire of betterment of our society akin to what young hereos like Bhagat Singh did in the previous century.