Born on 28th September 1907 to a Sandhu Jat faimly to Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. His faimly was an active member during Independence and his birth coincided with the release from jail of his father and two uncles. Unlike many Sikhs of his age, Singh did not attend the Khalsa High School in Lahore. Hes tudied in Arya Samaj School, Dayanand Anglo-Vedic High School.
Bhagat Singh became disillusioned with Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence after Gandhi called off the non-cooperation movement.He also joined the Hindustan Republican Association, which had prominent leaders, such as Chandrashekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil and Shahid Ashfaqallah Khan.
His Parents propelled him for an arrange marriage and to avoid it Singh ran away to kanpur (Cawnpore) in which he wrote:
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.
Start of Revolutionary Activities:
- In 1919, when Jalianwala Bagh massacre took place, Bhagat Singh was only 12 years old. He was deeply disturbed by the incident. On next day, went to Jalianwala Bagh and collected soil from the spot and kept it as a memento for the rest of his life.
- In 1928, , the Simon Commission was headed by Sir John Simon to address the political issues in India. Lala Lajpat Rai led a march in protest against the Commission as it did not include a single Indian as its members. The superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordered the police to lathi charge on the protesters which consequently led to death of Lala Lajpat Rai. He died on 17 November 1928.
- Deeply affected by the death of Rai, Singh made a conspiracy with revolutionaries like Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar and Chandrashekhar Azad to kill Scott but the plant couldn’t be excuted properly and they killed John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police.
- Though Singh fled but later Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and 21 others wereght and cau charged with the Saunders murder.
- While he was in Jail, he noticed discrimination between European and Indian prisoners. Then, they demanded equality in food standards, clothing, toiletries and other hygienic necessities, as well as availability of books and a daily newspaper. They finally land up to Hunger’s Strike. The hunger strike inspired a rise in public support for Singh and his colleagues
- Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case and ordered to be hanged on 24 March 1931. The schedule was moved forward by 11 hours and the three were hanged on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 pm.
- Singh’s ideal was Kartar Singh Sarabha, Bhai Parmanand. They both were the founders of Gandhi party.
- He was attracted to anarchism and communism.
- His favorite authors were Mikhail Bakunin and also read Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.
- He was an Atheist. He said one of his friend who questioned his Atheism.
he said, “When your last days come, you will begin to believe.” I said, “No, dear sir, Never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.” Reader and friends, is it vanity? If it is, I stand for it.
- He died on 23rd March 1931.
- Singh was cremated at Hussainiwala on the banks of the Sutlej river.
Tribute and Memorials:
- On 15 August 2008- an 18-foot tall bronze statue of Singh was installed in the Parliament of India.
- A portrait of Singh and Dutt also adorns the walls of the Parliament House.
- The place where Singh was cremated became the property of Pakistan. However, On 17 January 1961, it was transferred to India in exchange for 12 villages. The National Martyrs Memorial was built on the cremation spot in 1968 and has memorials of Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
- The shaheedi Mela is also celebrated every year on 23rd March in the state of Punjab.
- The Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Museum opened on his 50th death anniversary at his ancestral village, Khatkar Kalan.
- In September 2007, the Governor of Punjab, Pakistan, Khalid Maqbool, announced that a memorial to Singh would be displayed at Lahore Museum.
- He was voted the “Greatest Indian” in a poll by the Indian magazine India Today in 2008, ahead of Bose and Gandhi.