September 28 – Bhagat Singh's Birthday

Posted on September 28, 2015

Bhagat Singh is considered by some to be one of the heroes of the Indian Independence Movement.

These two photos of Singh
have been used over and
over and over again, on
posters and t-shirts and
memes and book covers
and and and....
However, Singh's actions included violence, revenge, and even murder – and that is one reason that some uplift the pacifist Gandhi as a hero but consider Singh more of a villain.

Some people just shrug and say that, like everyone else, Singh did good things AND bad things. He is not so easy to categorize, and it is interesting that many different and contradictory movements have tried to use his popularity to further their own agendas.

Bhagat Singh was born in British India on this date in 1907. His family had been involved with revolutionary activities against the British even before Singh was born, and when he was a teenager he dabbled in ideas of anarchy (having no government at all) and Marxism (an attempt for a “classless society” by getting rid of capitalism).

An author and politician named Lala Lajpat Rai was leading a non-violent protest against British rule and was badly injured by British police officers. He ended up dying from those injuries. It was Rai's death that caused Singh to seek revenge, and he murdered a British police officer and cut his hair in order to escape capture. He also threw non-lethal bombs – along with leaflets – inside the Central Legislative Assembly. That time, he didn't elude police; he allowed himself to be arrested. He ended up gaining a lot of public support among Indians while fasting for 116 days in jail!

Singh was convicted of murder, and he was hung. He was just 23 years old.

Like I said, Bhagat Singh's legacy is mixed. He inspired a lot of Indian youth to fight for independence, back in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Even today, Singh is an idol for some, and there are memorials, statues, and movies devoted to keeping his memory alive.

..and even on money!

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