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Bhagat Singh’s Enduring Revolutionary Vision

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Modern Indian History: Indian Revolutionaries


Source: The Tribune

 Context:  Bhagat Singh’s revolutionary career, though brief, left an indelible mark on the struggle for freedom and remains relevant in today’s world


About Bhagat Singh:

Who was Shaheed Bhagat Singh?Shaheed Bhagat Singh was an Indian nationalist and revolutionary who sacrificed his life for India’s independence from British rule.
Early Life and InfluencesBorn on 27 September 1907 in Banga, Pakistan Punjab. He studied at Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School and later at Lala Lajpat Rai’s National College. Influenced by family’s involvement in progressive politics and British atrocities like the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Role in India’s Freedom StruggleHe defied British rule by burning their textbooks and supported Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement
Member of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1924
Founded Naujawan Bharat Sabha (1925) to rally peasants and workers against British rule. He was also associated with the Kirti Kisan Party
Involved in protests, assassination of police officer Saunders, and bombing of Central Legislative Assembly (1929)
Held hunger strike in jail for better conditions
Advocated socialism, and secularism, and opposed capitalism and imperialism.
IdeologyPolitical Ideology: Bhagat Singh embraced Bolshevism and anarchism to advocate for militant nationalism in the 1930shevism and anarchism.
Social Ideology: He endorsed Gadar Party members’ ideas and opposed Capitalism and Imperialism. He envisioned an anarchist society devoid of state control, religion, and private property, advocating for socialism and communism.
Religion: He identified as an atheist, viewing religion as an impediment to the revolutionaries’ fight for independence
Controversial Trial and ExecutionConvicted in Lahore Conspiracy case, given a death sentence (along with Sukhdev and Rajguru). He was executed on 23 March 1931, criticized for a one-sided trial and secret execution.
Literary WorkWrote “Why I Am an Atheist” in Lahore jail.
Famous Quotes“Revolution is an inalienable right of mankind. Freedom is an imperishable birthright of all. Labour is the real sustainer of society”
“Bombs and pistols do not make a revolution. The sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting stone of ideas”
“Force, when used violently, is ‘violence’ and is, thus, morally indefensible, but when it is used in support of a righteous cause, it has its moral legitimacy”
Last line of Bhagat Singh: In his last letter, Bhagat Singh wrote, ” I have been arrested while waging a war. For me, there can be no gallows”
LegacyEvery year, the 23rd of March is observed as ‘Martyrs’ Day’ or ‘Shaheed Diwas’ or ‘Sarvodaya Day’ to honour Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev
National Martyrs Memorial was built on the cremation spot of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in 1968. It also contains memorials of Rajguru and Sukhdev.
Shaheedi Mela is held annually on 23 March when people pay homage at the National Martyrs Memorial


Relevance of his ideas in today’s World:

Role in anti-colonial struggleBhagat Singh’s dedication to India’s freedom and socialism inspires those advocating peace and justice today
Advocacy for socialismHis belief in socialism and mass movements aligns with modern calls for social justice and equality.
Non-violent mass movementsSingh’s shift towards non-violent mass movements as the core for change resonates with the need of today’s world for non-violent peace settlements esp. in the current Russian-Ukraine conflict, the Gaza War, the ongoing conflict in Yemen and parts of Africa
Rejection of individual actionBhagat Singh’s rejection of individual heroic actions in favour of broader movements mirrors contemporary strategies for social change.
Criticism of religious exploitationHis critique of religion’s misuse in politics reflects current concerns about religious polarization
Promotion of critical thinkingBhagat Singh advocated for critical thinking, urging people to challenge established norms
Vision for an egalitarian societyHis vision for an egalitarian, pluralist India resonates with modern aspirations for social equality and inclusion.
He favoured a World Federation, which could be compared to the Indian idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum
Support for student participationBhagat Singh’s support for student political involvement aligns with contemporary calls for youth empowerment and political engagement.
Embrace of diversityHis commitment to inclusivity and unity serves as a guiding principle in today’s diverse societies.



Bhagat Singh’s legacy endures as a beacon of courage, social justice, and ideological clarity. His revolutionary spirit continues to inspire generations, reminding us of the enduring pursuit of freedom and equality.


Mains Link:

 Since the decade of the 1920s, the national movement acquired various ideological strands and thereby expanded its social base. Discuss.


Prelims Link:

The Ghadr (Ghadar) was a (UPSC 2014)

(a) revolutionary association of Indians with headquarters at San Francisco

(b) nationalist organization operating from Singapore

(c) militant organization with headquarters at Berlin

(d) communist movement for India’s freedom with headquarters at Tashkent