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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 43, October 10, 2009

Gandhi should have Led a Nationwide Movement to Save Bhagat Singh

Sunday 11 October 2009, by Bharat Dogra


In the important debate in Mainstream on Gandhiji’s efforts to save the life of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru (the latest contribution to which has appeared in the September 12, 2009 issue), various points of view have been well articulated. Some participants in the debate have said that Gandhiji made as much effort as he could under the circumstances, while some have said that he failed to make adequate effort.

However, my view is that the issue of saving the life of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev was so important that Gandhiji should have launched a nationwide movement with this demand as the main focus. The most important thing to remember here is that this was possible within the Gandhian framework of non-violence if it is agreed that capital punishment is also a form of violence which needs to checked. The movement against capital punishment has spoken against death sentence even for the worst criminals. But in the case of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev it was the question of saving the most beloved freedom fighters of India.

So very much within the framework of Gandhian non-violence, a nationwide movement should have been launched demanding that the life of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru should be saved and capital punishment should be abolished in all cases if possible, at least in the case of all freedom fighters.

Such a movement would have united all sections of the freedom movement and India would have achieved independence within five years or so, and there would have been no partition.

Bharat Dogra

C-27, Raksha Kunj,

Paschim Vihar,

New Delhi-110063

Ph.: 25255303

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