I had no idea who Bhagat Singh was, except for the mentions in the popular press. This didn’t amount to much, and I pictured him as a young man, full of fevour and zeal, who tried to prove he was a patriot, and ended up killing a British man to prove that.
How wrong I was.
I am glad I picked up Kuldip Nayar’s “Without Fear” – a book about Bhagat Singh, and his life, and the trial that convicted him. The book is well written, and captures the essence of Bhagat Singh and his views.
I was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of thought, purpose, and articulation in Bhagat Singh’s writings.
He turned out to be a well-read young man (he was 25 when he was hanged) with an unwavering objective – initiate a revolution, rid the British from India, and make India a socialist country – and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a socialist, and an atheist.
Bhagat Singh’s concern for people, as individuals, and his expressed love for his family – especially his last letter to his brother – brings his humanity, and big-heartedness to the fore.
His conflicts – of ideas, methods, and philosophy – with that of Gandhi, as detailed in their writings about, and to, each other, were an eye-opener too.
I intend to read a bit more of his writings, and the books that he recommends (Books by / about Marx, Lenin, Trotsky), to understand the ideas of this man, and his humanity better.