The Indian freedom struggle comprised of an innumerable set of actions. Yet, the most unique and important among the actions, was the contribution of the Indian revolutionaries, the handful of youth who had a clear vision of universal brotherhood and equality.
Exactly 87 years ago on this day, freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar were hanged to death in the Lahore jail, a death sentence they earned for the failed Ghadar conspiracy of 1915. Among all, Bhagat Singh stands out to be one of India's greatest and most loved revolutionary freedom fighter.
Here we celebrate his martyrdom highlighting some lesser known facts about the revolutionary
- Bhagat Singh, a Sandhu Jat, was born in September 1907 to a Sikh family in Banga village, Jaranwala Tehsil in the Lyallpur district of the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan). His family had earlier been involved in revolutionary activities against the British rule in the country
- As a child, Bhagat Singh often spoke about growing guns in the fields to fight the British.
- Bhagat Singh was a great actor in college and took part in several plays. Most notable plays he was praised in were 'Rana Pratap', 'Samrat Chandragupta' and 'Bharata-durdasha'.
- When Bhagat was only 14, he took part in a protest against the killing of a large number of unarmed people at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib.
- Bhagat Singh left home for Kanpur when his parents tried to get him married, saying that if he married in slave India, "my bride shall only be death" and joined Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
- He along with Sukhdev planned to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai and plotted to kill the Superintendent of Police James Scott in Lahore. However, in a case of mistaken identity, John Saunders, the Assistant Superintendent of Police was shot.
- Although a Sikh by birth, he shaved his beard and cut his hair to avoid being recognised and arrested for the killing. He managed to escape from Lahore to Calcutta.
- Bhagat Singh devoured books and was an avid reader. Charles Dickens, Lenin and Maxim Gorky were among his favourite authors.
- The revolutionary was inspired by ideas of socialism at an early age and greatly inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution. He was inspired by the ideas of socialism and socialist writers and leaders like Lenin, Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky.
- Bhagat Singh was also a prolific writer and contributed to many newspapers of the time. He wrote around four books while in prison alone, although besides his diary, nothing else survives.
- He coined the phrase 'Inquilab Zindabad' that became the slogan of India's armed freedom struggle.
- Singh was hanged an hour ahead of the official time when the death sentence was to be commuted and was secretly cremated on the banks of the river Sutlej by jail authorities.