“Jis marne te jag dare, mere man anand. Marne te hi paye pooran parmanand” – Bhagat Singh
On the 14th February, 1931 , Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya submitted an appeal to then Indian Viceroy Lord Irwin, requesting him to use his prerogative of mercy in commuting the death sentences to transportation for life on the grounds of humanity against the decision of Special Tribunal on 7th October, 1930 the day the death sentence was pronounced of Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev , charged in Lahore conspiracy case.
Mahatma Gandhi also raised the question commutation of the death sentences of Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev with Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India who had the right to commute the sentences. Irwin expressed his inability to help, Mahatma Gandhi did not make it a condition of the settlement, though he could have done it. Gandhi felt that it was not in the larger interests of the country. In that connection,
Gandhi himself wrote in his Young India, “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. “It shows that if the Mahatma Gandhi had wished, he could have insisted and got their commutation agreed to. But a leader who could go to the extent of stating to the Viceroy, that “if the boys should be hanged, they had better be hanged before the Congress (Karachi) Session, than after it “, could hardly be expected to secure the commutation of the death sentences of Bhagat Singh and his comrades.
Although the murder of Saunders was condemned as a retrograde action by Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress leader, others were more understanding of the motivation.
Jawaharlal Nehru wrote that :
“Bhaghat Singh did not become popular because of his act of terrorism but because he seemed to vindicate, for the moment, the honour of Lala Lajpat Rai, and through him of the nation. He became a symbol, the act was forgotten, the symbol remained, and within a few months each town and village of the Punjab, and to a lesser extent in the rest of northern India, resounded with his name. Innumerable songs grew about him and the popularity that the man achieved was something amazing.”
To pronounce the decision of State TribunalState advocate along with the Superintendent came to the barracks in the jail where Bhagat Singh and his co-workers were sitting. Addressing Bhagat Singh, he said “Sardar Bhagat Singh, very sorry the court has awarded you the death sentence”. To which Bhagat Singh replied, “there is no need to feel sorry, and quoted Bhagat Kabir”…….
After the rejection of the appeal to the Privy Council , Congress party president Madan Mohan Malviya filed a mercy appeal before Irwin on 14 February 1931 . An appeal was sent to Mahatma Gandhi by prisoners to intervene.
In his notes dated 19 March 1931, the Viceroy recorded:
“While returning Gandhiji asked me if he could talk about the case of Bhagat Singh, because newspapers had come out with the news of his slated hanging on March 24th. It would be a very unfortunate day because on that day the new president of the Congress had to reach Karachi and there would be a lot of hot discussion. I explained to him that I had given a very careful thought to it but I did not find any basis to convince myself to commute the sentence. It appeared he found my reasoning weighty.”
The Communist Party of Great Britain expressed its reaction to the case:
“The history of this case, of which we do not come across any example in relation to the political cases, reflects the symptoms of callousness and cruelty which is the outcome of bloated desire of the imperialist government of Britain so that fear can be instilled in the hearts of the repressed people.”
Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on 24 March 1931. That schedule was moved forward by 11 hours and he was hanged on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 pm in Lahore jail with his comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev. It is reported that no magistrate of the time was willing to supervise his hanging as was required by law. The execution was supervised by an honorary judge, who also signed the three death warrants as their original warrants had expired. The jail authorities then broke the rear wall of the jail and secretly cremated the three men under cover of darkness outside Ganda Singh Wala village, and then threw the ashes into the Sutlej river, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Ferozepore.
Criticism of the Special Tribunal and method of executionSingh’s trial has been described by the Supreme Court as “contrary to the fundamental doctrine of criminal jurisprudence” because there was no opportunity for the accused to defend themselves. The Special Tribunal was a departure from the normal procedure adopted for a trial and its decision could only be appealed to the Privy Council located in Britain. The accused were absent from the court and the judgement was passed ex-parte. The ordinance, which was introduced by the Viceroy to form the Special Tribunal, was never approved by the Central Assembly or the British Parliament, and it eventually lapsed without any legal or constitutional sanctity.The execution of Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were reported widely by the press, especially as they were on the eve of the annual convention of the Congress party at Karachi. Gandhi faced black flag demonstrations by angry youths who shouted “Down with Gandhi” . The New York Times reported:
” A reign of terror in the city of Cawnpore in the United Provinces and an attack on Mahatma Gandhi by a youth outside Karachi were among the answers of the Indian extremists today to the hanging of Bhagat Singh and two fellow-assassins.”
Subhas Chandra Bose said that “Bhagat Singh had become the symbol of the new awakening among the youths …”.
Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged that the popularity of Bhagat Singh was leading to a new national awakening, saying:
“He was a clean fighter who faced his enemy in the open field … he was like a spark that became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to the other dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere.”
Four years after Singh’s hanging, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Sir Horace Williamson, wrote:
“His photograph was on sale in every city and township and for a time rivalled in popularity even that of Mr. Gandhi himself.”
Shaheed Bhagat Singh :
“As regard the origin of God, my thought is that man created God in his imagination when he realised his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings. In this way he got the courage to face all the trying circumstances and to meet all dangers that might occur in his life and also to restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God, with his whimsical laws and parental generosity was painted with variegated colours of imagination. He was used as a deterrent factor when his fury and his laws were repeatedly propagated so that man might not become a danger to society. He was the cry of the distressed soul for he was believed to stand as father and mother, sister and brother, brother and friend when in time of distress a man was left alone and helpless. He was Almighty and could do anything. The idea of God is helpful to a man in distress.”
He believed that :
The ultimate goal of Anarchism is complete independence, according to which no one will be obsessed with God or religion, nor will anybody be crazy for money or other worldly desires. There will be no chains on the body or control by the state. This means that they want to eliminate: the Church, God and Religion; the state; Private property.
“My life has been dedicated to the noblest cause, that of the freedom of the country. Therefore, there is no rest or worldly desire that can lure me now …” – In a letter he left behind, Bhagat Singh stated and ran away from his house to Cawnpore to avoid getting married by his family.
(The Indian youth celebrates it as a happy day valentines day blah blah blah…Rather it should be seen as a Black Day or a Shame Day not bcoz the martyrs were hanged but bcoz we have forgotten what they did for us at a age when we are busy celebrating these “important” days…!!!!( Only one camera photograph of Bhagat Singh is available. It was taken in Lahore jail. This is a poor copy of the photograph, some paintings are based on this photo which has also been retouched and hand colored as well.)
JaiHind !! Jai Bharat !!