Bhagat Singh – The Most Celebrated Hero, Yet, Unknown

A boy, who was about to be executed, when asked “what is your last wish”, replied astoundingly and unpredictably, “I am reading about Lenin, I want to finish my reading.” A 23 years old boy, who knew that he was going to die in a couple of hours, still, was trying to gather some knowledge which he could spread to others. Whenever I go through this story, it always blows my mind off, and I am pretty sure it can leave anyone’s mind frozen over this imagination.

Most of us know that Bhagat Singh was born in 1907 (there are three different dates reported in various sources). He assassinated a British police officer, John Saunders. Later, he exploded bombs in the British parliament and chanted “Inquilab Zindabad”. Further, he was tried, convicted and finally executed on the 23rd of March in 1931. We have watched, read and listened to these stories several times. However, these stories are about the life of Bhagat Singh, not who Bhagat Singh was, his idea for his country and what he wanted. 

This Martyr’s day, let’s start with an activity and try to remember any one of the views of Bhagat Singh which we like the most. I am afraid, not many of us are lucky enough to be even aware of Bhagat Singh’s views. This is how much we know about Bhagat Singh!

At the age when most of us argue with our parents to get a motorbike or get a new smartphone, Bhagat Singh chose to get himself hanged for some ‘good cause’. ‘Good cause!’ What was that ‘good cause’? Was that ‘good cause’ fulfilled for which he opted death over life? Well, I would say, the ‘good cause’ still needs to be accomplished.

I wonder how people from right wing celebrate and market Bhagat Singh’s name for their political benefits when Bhagat Singh himself was an atheist. One of his friends once told him that his atheism was out of his popularity and vanity and, eventually, on his last day, he will start praying. To reply to his friend, Bhagat Singh wrote a remarkable letter in Oct 1930 titled ‘Why I am an Atheist’. Here, he explained the rationale behind his atheism. One should read this brilliant piece of writing to get his view on religion. A 23-year boy writes:

Do you really know the most cursed sin in this world is to be poor? Yes, poverty is a sin; it is a punishment! Cursed to be the theoretician, jurist or legislator who propose such measures that push man into the quagmire of more heinous sins. Did it not occur to your All-knowing God or he could learn the truth millions had undergone untold sufferings and hardship? What, according to your theory, is the fate of a person who, by no sin of his own, has been born into a family of low caste? He is poor, so he cannot go to school. It is his fate to be shunned and hated by those who are born into a high caste. His ignorance, his poverty, and the contempt he receives from others will harden his heart towards society. Supposing that he commits a sin, who shall bear the consequences? God, or he, or the learned people of that society? My dear friend, these theories have been coined by the privileged classes. They try to justify the power they have usurped and the riches they have robbed with the help of such theories.” (translated from Urdu; Source: http://www.shahidbhagatsingh.org).

Apart from being an atheist, Bhagat Singh was a great supporter of Marx and Lenin’s ideology. This is something which is always covered up by all the political leaders who hail Bhagat Singh’s name now and then for their political advantage. Yes, Marx and Lenin! Some history scholars dare to call Bhagat Singh as the first communist of new India.

In the letter ‘To Young Political Workers’, which Bhagat Singh wrote on 2nd February 1931 (7 weeks before he was executed), he advocated Karl Marx’s ideology and suggested young Indians to adopt Marxist philosophy. In the same letter, he criticised all the leaders including Mahatma Gandhi (without disregarding him), but, he praised Pt Motilal Nehru and spared Pt Jawaharlal Nehru from criticism. In his view, the freedom struggle was bound to be drawn in the deep sea and that because, in his opinion, the revolution was only dependent upon the funds of businessmen and capitalists who can never risk their jobs, properties or funds at any cost. Therefore, they will always find ways between the revolution meadow and their marketplace. The real armies are the factory workers, farmers and labourers. He suggested organising these forces for the revolution. But, the leaders will never use these forces, and here they lack and therefore, the revolution is incomplete.

In his last petition (where he requested the then Punjab Governor that he should be executed by gunshot instead of hanging as he considered himself a war prisoner), he mentioned that the capitalists and bureaucrats are like parasites who exploit Indian resources and Indian toiling mass. These capitalists can either be Britishers or Britishers and Indians together or just Indians alone. So, even after getting freedom from English, it will be impossible to get freedom from the capitalists and bureaucrats. This letter was written on 7th Oct 1930. Yet, it is relevant to today’s world. Nothing has really changed except the skin colour of the rulers. A few decades back a bunch of English people were ruling us and now the country is ruled by our own Indian people with the same kind of attitude.

Bhagat Singh had a great vision which is still applicable in the current circumstances. Let’s remember Bhagat Singh by imbibing his ideas in us this year on 23rd of March instead of sharing ridiculous and nonsense pictures on social media. Let’s see the world with Bhagat Singh’s eyes this Martyr day. Let’s dream the way Bhagat Singh dreamt for his country. This will be the true remembrance of Bhagat Singh.

 

Inquilab Zindabad

Ankit

 

Disclaimer:

I have learnt from the knowledge imparted by Gautam Buddha in ‘Anguttara Nikaya’ which says “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything just because it is found written in your religious book. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teacher and elders. Do not believe in tradition because it was handed down for many generations. But, after observation and analysis, when you find anything to be reasonable and is for the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

Following Gautam Buddha’s teaching, I would like to request everyone or anyone reading this post; please do not trust what is written just because someone has written it. If this brings a question mark in your thoughts, pulls out you from your comfort zone and makes you insecure then verify the facts, vouch for the accuracy, analyse the upshots and make your own outlook and believe in your own vista.

 

“A guilt free Diwali Celebration”

This blog post tells a story… a story of contentment… a story of celebration. It brings to you a new way, a new definition of celebration. Follow the story to get to know about our unique way of celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights…

 

Our pledge taken this year will continue forever…

It wasn’t intentional, but a spontaneous decision to go eco-friendly this Diwali. Of course, some of our sub-conscious concerns drove us to celebrate the festival this way. We couldn’t keep the promise up to 100% but managed 98% for this Diwali. We have no idea what would be the situation in the future, but we will try to go eco-friendly as much as possible in the coming years (not saying 100% because there is nothing like 100% in terms of the practical things we do; trying to be a little bit scientific :-P).

So, here is our story of ‘remodelling the celebration of Diwali’. The story began last year when we were looking for Ganesh-Lakshmi murtis. We were very particular about the make of the idols. We only wanted idols made of clay not PoP (plaster of Paris) or any other non-degradable substances. After a week-long wild goose chase, we decided to make one by ourselves. The next question was, from where we will get the clay? Clearly, finding ‘kumhaar ki mitti in England was not easy. Thanks to “eBAY”, which is constantly making life much effortless, for proving a boon this time as well. We searched for ‘terracotta clay’ and with the click of a button ordered 1 Kg of it straightaway.  In the next few days, the clay was delivered and we were ready with the clay in our hands. The next question that popped up was how to make the idols? Well, the answer was again internet ‘’YouTube’’ (although we are not the “i-generation kids”, but still we are catching up with them pretty well ;-)).

We watched a couple of videos of idol making tutorials on YouTube, and realized that it was, as a matter of fact, a challenging task. But we were all set to face the challenge and were ready to make our first ever handmade ‘’Ganesh-Lakshmi murtis’’. Once the idols were ready we were so appeased and full of joy with the handiwork. Believe me, I never had the same feeling of contentedness before, and the very moment, both of us decided to do it again next year.

This year, we had clay left from the last year so, we only needed some stuff to decorate the idols. The ‘Dhanteras’ day was chosen for getting all the essentials needed, not just because it was Dhanteras, the traditional Diwali shopping day, but most likely because it was a Friday. Friday evenings mark the end of a busy and stressful week and the beginning of a relaxing and thoughtful weekend. Most of our tea-time discussions on science, religion, humanity, culture, tradition and politics etc. usually take place on these evenings. Although we never discussed ‘idol-making’ as such, the root of the idea behind the making of the idols, surprisingly, lies behind those Friday discussions. After coming back from our work, we directly went to the shopping place. We were looking for the decorative materials and suddenly Arohi’s eyes picked some ‘food grade’ glittering colours and we bought them immediately. We couldn’t find more food-grade glitters, so we don’t claim that all the glitters that we used were bio-degradable. That is the reason why, I said 98% eco-friendly, and not 100%, in the beginning.

 

Here comes the time for making the idols, the ‘Chhoti Diwali’ Day. We refreshed ourselves with tutorials and videos and were now ready to express our imagination with the clay.

Although we already had a year experience in this artisry but the making of the idols was still not a piece of cake for us. For the initial 45 minutes we found ourselves wrestling with the mud, we teased each other of our artistic skills and the very next moment supported each other for our intentions and efforts so that we don’t lose the motivation. Music was the other factor which kept us working. The same day we discovered that we can listen to “radio mirchi” here in the UK through “gaana.com”. We first tuned in some party songs and then switched to ‘bhajans’. Thank you guys for your help in our mission of ‘making murtis’. Gradually we were in the flow, we spent some time moulding the clay to give it a proper shape. After investing a couple of hours, we could make the idols look reasonably like ‘Ganesh and Lakshmi’.

Once we were satisfied with the contour, we were ready to display our talent of creativity in decorating the idols. Frankly speaking, we were a bit anxious to hold the brush and make the first strokes. By the time we decided to give it a go, we were hungry!  And we needed a coffee break. We explored the fridge and managed to find some leftovers to eat with coffee, Bhujiya namkeen made the leftovers more delicious. Believe me, bhujiya namkeen (known as spicy savoury noodles in the UK) can make any leftover delicious. I think, most of you (if anyone reading this story) would agree on this point. If not, try it!

OK, now I will continue the story without getting distracted (I will try my best).
So, the next part of the mission was to decorate the idols. All the arms and ammunitions were spread on the table now. With the first stroke of the brush, the heart was filled with the joy and the mind was like, it’s gonna be amazing and we felt like we had already celebrated half of our Diwali in the true sense. Once started we didn’t stop for a minute before completing the idol. We struggled to paint the fine lines but managed to do it quite adequately with the thinnest brush and kajal pencil (kohl) we had. Ganesh-Lakshmi Ji’s idols were ready with the sweet little Mushak (mouse). We kept them at a safe place for drying.

It was dinner time and we were hungry again, but this time our hunger resulted from a feeling of immense satisfaction rather than our previous anxiety. We made some quick dinner to quench our hunger ASAP. While making dinner and during post dinner clean-ups, I passed through the place where the idols were kept and each time I couldn’t resist to stop by and silently gaze at the idols for at least 5 minutes and every time I was accompanied by Arohi.  As we looked at each other we smiled and praised the outcome of our efforts and felt proud of ourselves. This was the joy of contentment with some sense of achievement and the real flavour of festivity. We also made a few ‘diyas’ with wheat flour dried them and then coloured them with ‘kumkum’ (red coloured powder made of turmeric and lime) and food grade glitters.

On the Diwali day, the morning and afternoon were spent in cleaning the home and preparing some food as we invited some of our friend at our place for Diwali celebration. In the evening, we decorated the house with flowers, buntings and diyas, worshipped the idols and then enjoyed the food with lots of spicy chats and gossips with friends.

IMG_20161030_184029389[1].jpg

I would not discuss here whether or not we should celebrate eco-friendly Diwali or why some people become environmentalists on the Diwali day and then don’t bother for the rest of the year. Without going into it, I would say since last year we are experiencing an eternal bliss, and at least 100 folds more satisfaction than buying and worshiping PoP idols and bursting crackers.

IMG-20161030-WA0062.jpg

Ankit & Arohi