Bhagat Singh is one of the most celebrated revolutionaries of India. He is fondly and famously known as “Shaheed Bhagat Singh”. Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907 in Village Banga, Tehshil Jaranwala, District Lyallpur, Punjab (in modern day Pakistan). When he was born, his father Kishan Singh, uncles Ajit and Swaran Singh were in jail for demonstrations against the Colonization Bill implemented in 1906.
In the month of December in the year 1928, Bhagat Singh and an associate, Shivaram Rajguru, fatally shot a 21-year-old British police officer, John Saunders, in Lahore, British India. They shot him believing that he was the British police superintendent, James Scott, whom they had intended to assassinate. They wanted to kill Scott as he thought that he was responsible for the death of popular Indian nationalist leader Lala Lajpat Rai. Saunders was felled by a single shot from Rajguru, a marksman. He was then shot several times by Singh. Upon his postmortem, the report showed eight bullet wounds. Another associate of Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, shot dead an Indian police constable, Chanan Singh, who attempted to pursue Singh and Rajguru as they fled. Bhagat Singh initially attended Dayanand Anglo Vedic High School, which was operated by Arya Samaj (a reform sect of modern Hinduism), and then National College, both located in Lahore. He began to protest British rule in India while still a youth and soon fought for national independence. He also worked as a writer and editor in Amritsar for Punjabi- and Urdu-language newspapers espousing Marxist theories. He further took up to popularize a catchphrase “Inquilab zindabad” (“Long live the revolutions”). In 1928 Bhagat Singh conspired with other freedom fighters to kill the police chief responsible for the death of Indian writer and politician Lala Lajpat Rai, one of the founders of National College, during a silent march opposing the Simon Commission. Instead, in a case of mistaken identity, junior officer J.P. Saunders was killed, and Bhagat Singh had to flee Lahore to escape the death penalty. In 1929 he and an associate lobbed a bomb at the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi to protest the implementation of the Defence of India Act and then surrendered. He was awarded a death penalty at the age of 24 for the murder of Saunders. Bhagat Singh became a popular idol to contribute to freedom after his death. In still later years, Singh, an atheist and socialist in life, won admirers in India from among a political spectrum that included both Communists and right-wing Hindu nationalists.
By: Anuja Arora