Story of Bhagat Singh- a poet or a revolutionary?

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On 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh along with his friends Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru were executed for shooting a British police officer John Saunders in Lahore. They were also involved in the explosion of two bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi. Each year 23 March is observed as the Martyrdom Day or Shaheed Diwas to commemorate our respect to the sacrifice and valor of the heroes.

You would be surprised to know that apart from being a ferocious revolutionary, Bhagat Singh was also an extraordinary poet. When he was arrested and kept in the Lahore Central Jail in 1930, he penned an essay called ‘Why I Am An Athiest’. This essay was essentially a reply to a man who thought that it was his self-regard that had made his an atheist. This was not the only letter that we wrote while he was in jail, in fact during his two-year stay there, he wrote numerous letters to the British Authority and his friends and relatives.

In one such emotional letter in Urdu to his brother Kultar Singh, he has asked him to keep the faith and has penned down a beautiful poem. This letter reveals that apart from being violent in his actions, he was an avid writer who had a passion for poetry.

He is often thought to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. Maybe this is why his execution took place at the end of an unexpected chain of events.

Initially, he was ordered to be executed on 24 March 1931. However, it was preponed by 11 hours and the three Indian heroes were hanged on 23 March 1931 at 1950 hours in Lahore Jail. It is also interesting to note that no magistrate was willing to supervise this execution as required by the law. An honorary judge supervised this execution. Jail authorities had to break a wall of the jail to remove and cremate their bodies. It is believed that the authorities threw their ashes into the Sutlej river.

Our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru once wrote about him, “Bhagat Singh did not become popular because of his act of terrorism but because he seemed to vindicate, for the moment, the honour of Lala Lajpat Rai, and through him of the nation. He became a symbol; the act was forgotten, the symbol remained, and within a few months each town and village of the Punjab, and to a lesser extent in the rest of northern India, resounded with his name.

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