Graphic Novel | Bhagat Singh: From Man to Martyr
Bhagat Singh was hanged to death on 23 March 1931 for crimes against the British government, eventually resulting in him being given the name Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
On Martyrs’ Day, The Quint looks at what influenced Bhagat Singh to join the struggle for Indian independence? Read on.
Bhagat Singh’s Youth
Bhagat Singh was born on 27 September 1907, in Banga village, near the Punjab province which now falls in Pakistan. On the day of his birth, Bhagat Singh’s father Kishan Singh, and two uncles, were in jail. The three had been imprisoned for protests and opposition against the British Government. His father and one of his uncles were freed shortly after Bhagat Singh’s birth.
Bhagat Singh’s drive to fight for India’s independence and liberate the people from foreign rule, one could say, was ingrained in him from a very young age.
The young Bhagat studied first in his village school in Banga, and then in DAV High School in Lahore. During his childhood, Bhagat Singh’s uncle Ajit Singh was forced to leave India, reportedly escaping to Iran to avoid the wrath of the British Government.
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
When Bhagat Singh was 12 years old, he bore witness to the brutal aftermath of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. In April 1919, Colonel Reginald Dyer ordered British police forces to open fire on Indians who had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, to celebrate Baisakhi.
The dead numbered anywhere between 379, according to The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer written by Nigel Collett, to well over 1,000 according to End of Empire by Brian Lapping.
The sight of the massacre, is believed to have been instrumental in Bhagat Singh’s mounting anger against the British empire.
The Bombing Of the Central Legislative Assembly
On 8 April 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt hurled two “small” bombs in the corridors of the Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi, yelling slogans of, “Inquilab Zindabad.”
The bombs were small, and not meant to kill, but simply meant to send a message to the British empire. The two men surrendered to police in the assembly, immediately after the bombings.
They were arrested and sent to prison for committing treason against the British government.
Shaheed Bhagat Singh: Death and Legacy
In October 1930, Bhagat Singh was told by the public prosecutor that he’d been handed the death sentence. On 23 March 1931, at approximately 7.30 pm, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru were hanged to death.
The three were believed to have been cheerful and upbeat till their last moments, singing anti-British songs, and raising slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad.’
They are remembered in India’s history books as The Revolutionaries, believing that revolution was important to protect the country when the law stopped being an expression of what people wanted.