Bhagat Singh or Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh was an Indian socialist and one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian Independence Movement.
He was born to Kishan Singh and Vidyavati on 28 September, 1907 in Punjab (now Pakistan) to a Sikh family. As a child, he often spoke about growing guns in the fields to fight the British.
In 1919, when he was 12 years old, he visited the site of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre hours after thousands of unarmed people gathered at a public meeting had been killed.
He quit school at thirteen to devote his life to Indian Independence. He became disillusioned with Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence after he called off the non-cooperation movement.
Inspired by the Young Italy movement of Giuseppe Mazzini, he founded the Indian socialist youth organisation Naujawan Bharat Sabha in March 1926. He also joined the Hindustan Republican Association.
He wrote for Kirti, the journal of the Kirti Kisan Party and briefly for the Veer Arjun newspaper, published in Delhi. He often used pen name, including names such as Balwant, Ranjit and Vidhrohi.
In December 1928, Singh and Shivaram Rajguru, fatally shot a 21-year-old British police officer, John Saunders, in Lahore, mistaking him as Scott, whom they had intended to assassinate.
Surfacing again in April 1929, he and another Batukeshwar Dutt, exploded two improvised bombs inside the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi and got arrested without any resistance.
At the time of his trial, he didn’t offer any defence, rather used the occasion to propagate the idea of India’s freedom.
After trial, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, and 21 others were charged with the Saunders murder, conspiracy to murder Scott and waging a war against the King.
Awaiting trial, he had fasted for 116 days in jail, in protest of the prejudiced difference in treatment of the white versus native prisoners and demanded to be recognised as ‘political prisoners’
During prison time, he wrote an essay titled ‘Why I am an Atheist’ in 1930 in Lahore Central Jail.
Bhagat Singh was hanged along with Rajguru and Sukhdev an hour ahead of the official time on March 23, 1931.
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