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Long Live Revolution: The Story of Sardar Bhagat Singh (2)

Long Live Revolution

Long Live Revolution

It is not the purpose here to trace the history of the revolutionary movement in India. Up to 1914 there were scattered secret organizations, mostly in the province of Bengal, but some outside it also. On the outbreak of the World War, the various organizations saw an opportunity to raise the standard of rebellion throughout India. With this purpose, such eminent revolutionaries as Rash Bihari Bose, Jatin Mukherjee, Sachin Sanyal, V. G. Pingley, Sardar Kartar Singh, Thakur Prithwi Singh, Baba Sohan Singh and others joined together and made elaborate plans in conjunction with some Sikh and Rajput regiments to bring about an armed revolution in India.

But as destiny ordained it, the whole plan tailed through inner treachery, except a formidable rising at Singapore which was subdued by means of Japanese warships and Japanese mariners. As soon as the authorities got scent of the plan of the revolutionaries, the regiments suspected of complicity in the contemplated risings were disarmed and disbanded, and armed European pickets were posted around them. These soldiers were then sent over to the severest fighting zones in France. The Defense of India Act was at once proclaimed, and more than 7000 persons were arrested in the Punjab, U. P. and Bengal.

By 1916, the revolutionary organizations were scorched, though not actually killed. By this time another influence had appeared in the field of Indian politics in the person of M K Gandhi. His idealism and his sacrifice appealed greatly,to the minds of the youths, many of whom began to join in his non-cooperation movement. But the “Bardoli Retreat,” .as it was termed by the revolutionaries, and the subsequent set-back in the non-cooperation movement again gave impetus to the revolutionary movement. By 1924 we again see the springing up of secret revolutionary organizations. In Bengal, as usual, the old revolutionaries began to organize again, but a heavy blow was dealt to them by the Bengal Ordinance of 1925.  In U. P. and the Punjab, the different parties organized by Sachindra Nath Sanyal, Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil etc., combined and formed one party.

At a meeting at Allahabad, a constitution was adopted and the name of the party became “Hindusthan Republican Association.” It was this organization that Bhagat Singh joined when he shifted to Cawnpore. His party name then became “Balwant,” under which name he used to contribute articles occasionally to the magazines .Cawnpore was then the headquarters of Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, or Mr. Roy as his party-name was, was the Chief Organizer of the party and it was under Jogesh Chatterjee that Bhagat Singh began to work.

In 1926 (August 1925 is the date)  occurred the well-known Kakori train dacoity, in which the members of the H. R. A. held up a running train at Kakori near Lucknow, and looted the government cash that was being carried in that train. Vigorous police investigations into this affair led to ramifications of a wide-spread revolutionary organization, and the subsequent Kakori Conspiracy Case revealed many of their secrets. It was at this time that Bhagat Singh went back to Lahore.

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The Real Story of M.K. Gandhi

Nathuram Godse is often a misunderstood character. He is referred to as a Hindu fanatic. It is often hard to understand Godse because the Government of India had suppressed information about him. His court statements, letters etc. were all banned from the public until recently. Judging from his writings one thing becomes very clear – He was no fanatic. His court statements are very well read out and indicate a calm and collected mental disposition. He never even once speaks ill about Gandhi as a person, but only attacks Gandhi’s policies which caused ruin and untold misery to Hindus. Another interesting point to note is that Godse had been working with the Hindu refugees fleeing from Pakistan. He had seen the horrible atrocities committed on them. Many women had their hands cut off, nose cut off, even little girls had been raped mercilessly. Despite this Godse did not harm even single Muslim in India which he could easily have. So it would be a grave mistake to call him a Hindu fanatic.

Let us start by studying the motive behind Godse’s act. By seeing the nature of the assassination in public space and Godse’s act of turning himself over to the Police, we can see that Godse did not do this for personal reasons. He very well knew that he would be hanged and his name would be disgraced as Gandhi was considered a saint. And again Godse could have ran away and escaped punishment. But he did the reverse. He called a police officer and courted arrest. Before we proceed it would be wise to understand the backdrop of the assassination.

The central government had taken a decision — Pakistan will not be given Rs 55 crores. On January 13 Gandhi started a fast unto death that Pakistan must be given the money. On January 13, the central government changed its earlier decision and announced that Pakistan would be given the amount. On January 13, Nathuram decided to assassinate Gandhi.

Nathuram Godse was a learned man, very sharp and intelligent – editor of “Agrani” (one of the most famous newspaper of that time – with Nana Aapte). In his last editorial of “Agrani” which he changed overnight – he said:

 “Gandhi must be stopped – at any cost” and he justified why Gandhiji’s assassination was not only inevitable but also a delayed action, something that shud’ve happened LONG AGO.

In Nathuram’s words – ” I don’t refute Gandhi’s theory of non-violence. He may be a saint but he is not a politician. His theory of non-violence denies self-defence and self-interest. The non-violence that defines the fight for survival as violence is a theory not of non-violence but of self-destruction.The division of the nation was an unnecessary decision. What was the percentage of the Muslim population as compared to the population of the nation? There was no need for a separate nation. Had it been a just demand, Maulana Azad would not have stayed back in India. But because Jinnah insisted and because Gandhi took his side, India was divided, in spite of opposition from the nation, the Cabinet. An individual is never greater than a nation.

In a democracy you cannot put forward your demands at knife-point. Jinnah did it and Gandhi stabbed the nation with the same knife. He dissected the land and gave a piece to Pakistan. We did picket that time but in vain. The Father of our Nation went to perform his paternal duties for Pakistan! Gandhi blackmailed the cabinet with his fast unto death. His body, his threats to die are causing the destruction — geographical as well as economical — of the nation. Today, Muslims have taken a part of the nation, tomorrow Sikhs may ask for Punjab. The religions are again dividend into castes, they will demand sub-divisions of the divisions. What remains of the concept of one nation, national integration? Why did we fight the British in unison for independence? Why not separately? Bhagat Singh did not ask only for an independent Punjab or Subhash Chandra Bose for an independent Bengal?

I am going to assassinate him in the open, before the public, because I am going to do it as my duty. If I do it surreptitiously, it becomes a crime in my own eyes. I will not try to escape, I will surrender and naturally I will be hanged. One assassination, one hanging. I don’t want two executions for one assassination and I don’t want your involvement, participation or company. (This was for Nana-Apte and Veer Savarkar as they were against ghandhi’s policies too, Godse wanted to assassinate gandhi all by himself and took promise from Nana Apte that he will continue helping Veer Savarkar in rebuilding India as a strong free nation.)

On January 30, I reached Birla Bhavan at 12 pm. Gandhi was sitting outside on a cot enjoying the sunshine. Vallabhbhai Patel’s granddaughter was sitting at his feet. I had the revolver with me. I could have assassinated him easily then, but I was convinced that his assassination was to be a punishment and a sentence against him, and I would execute him. I wanted witnesses for the execution but there were none. I did not want to escape after the execution as there was not an iota of guilt in my mind. I wanted to surrender, but surrender to whom? There was a good crowd to collect for the evening prayers. I decided on the evening of January 30 as the date for Gandhi’s execution.

Gandhi climbed the steps and came forward. He had kept his hands on the shoulders of the two girls. I wanted just three seconds more. I moved two steps forward and faced Gandhi. Now I wanted to take out the revolver and salute him for whatever sacrifice and service he had made for the nation. One of the two girls was dangerously close to Gandhi and I was afraid that she might be injured in the course of firing. As a precautionary measure I went one more step ahead, bowed before him and gently pushed the girl away from the firing line. The next moment I fired at Gandhi. Gandhi was very weak, there was a feeble sound like ‘aah’ (There are proof that Gandhi did NOT say “Hey Raam” at that time – it’s just made up stuff ) from him and he fell down.

After the firing I raised my hand holding the revolver and shouted, ‘Police, police’. For 30 seconds nobody came forward and I scanned the crowd. I saw a police officer. I signalled to him to come forward and arrest me. He came and caught my wrist, then a second man came and touched the revolver… I let it go…”