Biography: Tribute to Shaheed Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh was a revolutionary who fought against the British rule and laid down his life in the freedom struggle. He is considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian Independence Movement.
Bhagat Singh's revolutionary actions, primarily the firing at British police officer John Saunders and exploding bombs inside the Central Legislative Assembly, led British authorities to hang him on March 23, 1931. Bhagat Singh was only 23-years-old when he was executed.
Bhagat Singh was born on September 27, 1907, in a Sikh family in Punjab's KhatkarKalan village. His grandfather Arjan Singh, father Kishan Singh and uncle Ajit Singh, were all active in the freedom struggle.
In 1919, when he was 12 years old, Singh visited the site of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre hours after thousands of unarmed people gathered at a public meeting had been killed. After that, several incidents in India at that time drew him towards violent means to achieve India's freedom and became disillusioned with Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence.
In 1923, Singh joined the National College in Lahore, where he founded the Indian nationalist youth organisation Naujawan Bharat Sabha. He later also joined the Hindustan Republican Association, which had prominent leaders, such as Chandrashekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil and Shahid Ashfaqallah Khan.
In 1928, Lajpat Rai led a silent march to oppose the Simon Commission, set up by the British government to report on the political situation in India. The opposition was based on the fact that the Commission, headed by Sir John Simon, did not include a single Indian in its membership.
When the Commission visited Lahore on October 30, 1928, Lajpat Rai led a silent march in protest against it. The superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordered the police to baton charge on the agitators in which Lajpat Rai was grievously injured. He did not fully recover from his injuries and died on November 17, 1928, of a heart attack.
To avenge Lajpat Rai's death, Bhagat Singh and two other revolutionaries Sukhdev and Rajguru shot dead British Police Officer John Saunders as he was leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on December 17, 1928.
After killing Saunders, the group escaped even as the police launched a massive search operation to catch them.
On April 8, 1929, Bhagat Singh threw bombs in the Central Assembly Hall while the Assembly was in session. Singh, accompanied by Batukeshwar Dutt, threw two bombs into the Assembly chamber from its public gallery while it was in session. Both men were arrested and subsequently moved through a series of jails in Delhi.
Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on 24 March 1931. The schedule was moved forward by 11 hours and the three were hanged on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 pm in the Lahore jail.