Shaheed Bhagat Singh, an Indian youth nationalist and the most influential revolutionary during the struggle for Independence of India was hanged to death on 23 March 1931 in Lahore jail. His death led the nation mourning and boiling the blood of the citizens against the British rulers. Grief and sorrow for this young hero was evident as procession throughout the country was taken out, shops and businesses were closed as a gesture to pay tribute to this 23 year old martyr.
How and why was Bhagat Singh captured by British administration?
In December 1928, Bhagat and Rajguru intended to assassinate James Scott, a police superintendent. They intend to this as they believed that Scott was responsible for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, by having ordered a lathi charge in which Rai was badly injured. Instead, they mistakenly killed John Saunders, a British police officer who was still in probation period. He was shot dead with single shot from Rajguru but Bhagat Singh still shot seven more bullets to him. They all escaped then and were on a run for many months.
In April 1929, they resurfaced again, by exploding two improvised bombs in Delhi’s Central Legislative Assembly. They were then arrested by the authorities for shouting slogans, showering leaflets and exploding bomb.
Bhagat gained public sympathy after he joined defendant Jatin Das in a hunger strike in which they demanded better condition in jails for Indian prisoners. After Das’s death in September 1929, Singh was sentenced to death in March 1931 when he was convicted for Lahore Conspiracy case and Delhi case.
Indians believed that Gandhi ji would definitely bring three young heroes back from the jail as people believed their main motive was same as that of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi of seeing India independent from British rule. However, Gandhi had another reason for not supporting Bhagat Singh and his associates and didn’t advocate their freedom from death sentence. As a result of which the nation lost the three young and patriotic revolutionaries as named Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar.
Could Gandhi have saved Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev from being hanged?
It is said that if wanted, Gandhi could have saved the three men. But due to collapse in ideology of them, Gandhi didn’t save them. The three men used extremism in the form of violence, and Gandhi cited this as the reason for not intervening to save the three young heroes of the nation.
Gandhi yet wrote a letter to the viceroy for commutation but he felt that commutation for Singh was not much in the interest of general public. In his own writing in ‘Youth India’ he stated, “I might have made the commutation a term of the settlement. It could not be so made. The working committee had agreed with me in not making the commutation a condition precedent to truce. I could, therefore only mention it.” In the conversation with the viceroy, he could have pleaded for Singh and associates but several reports claim that he didn’t do much.
Reports available in reference to the case claim that renowned Freedom Fighter and Chief of Azad Hind Fauj, Subhash Chandra Bose, told Gandhi that they should break the viceroy for the three. “Because the execution was against the spirit, if not letter, of the Delhi-Pact.” He further added, “It must be admitted that Gandhi did try his very best.” said Bose after the three young men left the world.
Thus, Gandhi’s own writing in ‘Youth India’ and the statements from other leaders gave Indian public an instance to criticise Gandhi for not saving the young hero who sacrificed his life for a happy and independent India. People say that though being on the same path of getting independence for the nation, one didn’t save the other from being hung.
What only survived later was the diary which this martyr wrote in the jail. Full of poems, notes, messages, this diary was passed on to his family after March 1931. Topics range from socialism, capitalism, legal jurisprudence, etc in the diary. Basically, his diary indicated how well informed he was about everything, and his deep readings.