ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On Bhagat Singh

I came across the following errors in the article ‘Revolutionary Legacy of Bhagat Singh’ by Chaman Lal (September 15). (1) Chaman Lal writes: “Prior to that [joining the National College, Lahore] he had welcomed the protesting Akali workers in his village…”. Bhagat Singh joined National College in 1921 and left it in 1923. Thereafter he went to Kanpur. After returning from Kanpur in 1924 he organised the welcome to the Akali jattha in his village Banga. (2) Chaman Lal writes: “…a demonstration [was] organised by the NBS [Naujawan Bharat Sabha] against the Simon Commission on October 28, 1928. Bhagat Singh himself was not present at this demonstration.” The date of this demonstration against the Simon Commission was October 30 and not October 28. According to his biographers Virendra Sindhu, Gurdev Singh Deol and Hans Raj Rahbar, Bhagat Singh was present at this demonstration. (3) Chaman Lal has twice mentioned in the article that Jatin Das came to Lahore for imparting training in bomb making. All sources are unanimous on the matter that the first bomb factory of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) was established in Agra (not Lahore) where Jatin Das came to train HSRA members. (4) A well known personality such as Asaf Ali is wrongly spelt not once but thrice as Asif Ali. (5) According to Chaman Lal, “Bhagat Singh did plan to write a full-fledged book on ‘The Science of the State’...”. This “discovery” of Chaman Lal is not supported by any other authority or source. (6) Chaman Lal writes: “He had almost become a committed Marxist through his contacts with the Kirti group of Ghadarite revolutionaries of Punjab”. Sohan Singh Josh, who was the chief editor of Kirti, in his books My Meetings with Bhagat Singh and On Early Revolutionaries and My Tryst with Secularism, has elaborated on the persisting differences between the Bhagat Singh group and the Kirti group (Marxist group) in the Naujawan Bharat Sabha. (7) Chaman Lal claims that “Bhagat Singh was part of communist movement in India since its very inception”. He is completely wrong here. According to Sachindra Nath Sanyal in Bandi Jeewan, Bhagat Singh had refused to join Sardar Gurmukh Singh’s organisation, run on Bolshevik lines, in the early 1920s. Chhabil Das had stated that he belonged to the Irish group rather than the Russian group in the Naujawan Bharat Sabha. Ajoy Ghosh is also on record that it would be an exaggeration to call Bhagat Singh a Marxist. Bhagat Singh himself had never mentioned the Communist Party in his writings and statements.

C P Singh

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