Bhagat Singh was one of the most influential and charismatic figures in the Indian independence movement, especially within the more radical currents that sought to resist British rule through direct action and revolutionary methods. His involvement in the independence movement can be traced back to a combination of personal experiences, political ideology, and historical events:
1. Family Influence: Bhagat Singh hailed from a family of freedom fighters in Punjab, India. His family was involved in numerous activities against the British Raj. From a young age, Singh was exposed to the freedom struggle and the sacrifices made by his family members and others in the community.
2. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919): The brutal massacre of hundreds of innocent civilians by British troops at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar was a turning point for many Indians. Bhagat Singh, who was only 12 years old at the time, visited the site shortly after the massacre. The event left a deep impact on his young mind, further fueling his resolve against British rule.
3. Simon Commission (1928): The British government set up the Simon Commission without any Indian representative, leading to widespread protests across India. During one such protest in Lahore, police lathi-charged the protesters, and veteran leader Lala Lajpat Rai was injured. Rai later died of his injuries, which many attributed to the police assault. As a response, Bhagat Singh and his associates planned to take revenge on James A. Scott, the police officer responsible. However, due to mistaken identity, they ended up killing James P. Saunders.
4. Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA): Bhagat Singh was deeply influenced by socialist ideals and the need for a revolution to overthrow colonial rule and establish a just society. He joined the HSRA, a radical group that believed in achieving freedom through revolutionary means. Within this group, Singh emerged as a leader, articulating a vision that combined the fight against colonialism with the struggle for socialist transformation.
5. Assembly Bombing (1929): To protest against repressive laws and to gain attention for their cause, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw non-lethal bombs in the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi. They were arrested, but used the trial as a platform to promote their revolutionary ideals.
6. Writings and Ideology: Bhagat Singh was not just an activist; he was also a thinker. He wrote extensively about his vision for India and the need for a revolution. His writings, such as “Why I am an Atheist,” offer deep insights into his beliefs and the philosophical foundations of his actions.
Bhagat Singh’s courage, commitment, and vision made him a symbol of youth resistance against British rule. He was executed at the age of 23, but his legacy lived on, inspiring generations of Indians in their fight for freedom and justice.