Mainstream, VOL LIV No 14 New Delhi March 26, 2016
Preserve the Legacy
Monday 28 March 2016, by
Today is March 23, the eightyfifth anniversary of Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom. On this day in 1931 three intrepid revolutionaries—Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru—were hanged in Lahore Central Jail by British imperialism, an event that left a deep scar in the minds of our people. As Ajoy Ghosh, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (the last topmost leader of the united Communist Party), a close associate of Bhagat Singh and one of the accused in the Lahore Conspiracy Case alongwith him, wrote in his memoirs of the immortal hero of the Indian youth in the 1930s and 1940s,
Always passionately fond of studying, Bhagat Singh spent most of his time in prison reading socialist literature. Perhaps the first among us to be drawn towards socialist ideas, he was an avowed atheist and had none of the religious beliefs of earlier terrorists....
Like a meteor Bhagat Singh appeared in the political sky for a brief period. Before he passed away, he had become the cynosure of millions of eyes and the symbol of the spirit and aspirations of a new India, dauntless in the face of death, determined to smash imperialist rule and raise on its ruins the edifice of a free people’s state in this great land of ours.
Today also happens to be the 106th birth anniversary of the stormy petrel of the Indian socialist movement, Dr Rammanohar Lohia. But since his birthday coincided with the day of martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and his comrades, Lohiarji directed his followers not to observe or celebrate the occasion.
As we remember those outstanding freedom fighters today, we cannot but recall the rich legacy of our national movement which is currently being sought to be tarnished by the present crop of leaders running the country. They are hell-bent on changing our Constitution to destroy our pluralist ethos. A series of developments since mid-2014 when these persons assumed power at the Centre bears testimony to their vile attempts on this score.
The objective is to weaken and undermine the foundation of secularism that has given a distinct identity to India and reinforced its national unity and cohesion while further strengthening the democratic character of society. In essence these eleements want to establish a Hindu Rashtra based on religious fanaticism that would turn India into a Hindu Pakistan thus besmirching the ideals that have guided the nation since the dawn of independence whose seventieth anniversary we are due to observe in a year’s time.
The assault on secularism accompanied by vicious attacks on the minorities has been the dominant characteristic of the current dispensation. A false sense of patriotism is being sought to be forcibly imposed on the people at large by those who never had any record of having participated in the national movement; this is being done not for the purpose of strengthening nationalism as is being claimed but only to invent the ‘enemy’ to settle petty political scores. The myopic vision of the persons in power today is bound to recoil on the country in the long run unless it is replaced by a clear-sighted comprehension of the real problems before the nation. That is precisely why all secular democrats need to unite to reverse the present-day rulers’ suicidal course which is in direct conflict with the freedom fighters’ idea of India.
The legacy of freedom fighters of the Bhagat Singh mould must be preserved at all cost if India has to advance in the days ahead and become the beacon of hope for the international community.
March 23 S.C.