Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and his Hanging during the Raj

M G Singh By M G Singh, 6th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/168x0yr0/
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Bhagat Singh a revolutionary challenged Gandhi for the leadership of the independence movement. Gandhi would not allow it and refused to raise a finger to save Bhagat Singh. Some opine he may have conspired in this matter

Bhagat Singh and Gandhi


Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British on 23 March 1931 and Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu patriot on 30 Jan 1948. When Bhagat Singh was hanged he was only 24, in contrast to Gandhi who was over 70. A comparison between these two men arouses deep passions. But now that over six decades have elapsed we can look at these two characters dispassionately and access what drove Gandhi to be luke warm to Bhagat Singh’s hanging and martyrdom.
Gandhi is universally recognized as an apostle of non violence. Much of this myth is propagated by Richard Attenborough in his film Gandhi.Bhagat Singh by comparison has had a number of films made about him, but none by a foreigner. One of the reasons could be that Bhagat Singh took a violent stand against the British rule, while Gandhi was more accommodating.

The Challenge to Gandhi


Bhagat Singh was a serious challenger to Gandhi’s leadership. This was perhaps the reason why Gandhi failed to intervene decisively for Bhagat Singh and his companions with the British. In fact at the Karachi convention of the Congress party 3 days after Bhagat Singh’s hanging, Gandhi had the mortification to be greeted with black flags by the people.

It is on record that Pattabhi Sitaramayya, a top Congress leader and Gandhi loyalist, conceded: 'It is no exaggeration to say that at the moment Bhagat Singh’s name is as widely known all over India and is as popular as Gandhi’s'. This was in real terms an understatement, as at that moment Bhagat Singh was more popular than Gandhi.

Threat to Gandhi

The real issue at stake was the question of popularity and the threat to Gandhi’s leadership. What if Bhagat Singh had not been hanged? There is every chance that he would have galvanized the youth and weaned them away from Gandhi. This was what Gandhi wanted to avoid, a challenge to his ideas.

Much later he wrote that he did not agree with the concept off Bhagat Singh, as violence was not a creed he could accept. This was the difference that led to the charismatic Subhas Bose breaking away from Gandhi in 1939. Mind you, he had defeated Gandhi’s nominee Sitaramayya in the poll to the office of the Congress President.

Last Word


Bhagat Singh was too young to understand that an organization was necessary to channelize a movement and thus his act was a sporadic act of violence that was doomed to failure. On the other hand Gandhi mindful of the future could not allow Bhagat Singh a place in the sun, where he may have been eclipsed. Hence his luke warm stand on the hanging of Bhagat Singh.
There is some research which also shows that Gandhi almost conspired with the British in the hanging of Bhagat Singh

Tags

Bhagat Singh, British Rule, Gandhi, Hanging Bhagat Singh, Lahore Assembly, Viceroy

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author avatar M G Singh
A man who spent his early years in Air Force. An avid writer with over 6000 articles and 60 short stories published.Two novels on the anvil for publication.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
6th Oct 2013 (#)

what a fascinating read this is Madan...thank you for researching so well...

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you Carolina

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6th Oct 2013 (#)


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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
6th Oct 2013 (#)

A very interesting topic.Comparision about both styles of Freedom fighting is justified if placed on context.The time of Bhagat Singh and centuries before was basically not the same in the 1940's.A more military/violent approach in the earlier centuries was acceptable at that time because non-violent methods would have not worked,let's put this way,'fighting fire with fire'.The British then,simply did not care if you went on a starvation strike.It only started to work in contemporary times because the world started slowly to globolise and this meant a lot of countries was watching the activities of the British and wanted them to loose their grip on India.Here's a quote I made for one of the freedom fighters,'Having a passion is important.But having a passion to see that man is not chain to ignorance but held high in knowledge no matter what army rules,no matter what odds are against him is a true freedom fighter,a sepoy,a Mangal Pandey'.
Randhir Bechoo

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you Randhir. Gandhi spent many years in South Africa as well. He made a pact with Gen Smuts, where in he agreed that no more Indians would be allowed in South Africa. I think it was a very stupid thing.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
6th Oct 2013 (#)

Well Gandhi practised Caste System and even visited Jagjeevan Rams place for a politicized discourse taking his own goat and drinking only it milk out there for all of his stay, also created an image denouncing adultery by locking his grandson because he caught him sleeping with anothers wife. Boy escaped and ran to America and three generations later was the same family that came and immersed his ashes somewhere in the 90's.
Gandhi was a diplomat who knew how to manipulate the English as he had studied them whilst in Africa and caused a lot of issues out there because of the class issues resulting in him being thrown out of the bogey of the train leaving one slipper behind. Well this what motivated the freedom struggle although he instigated the partition of Bengal because of the muslim concentration. He also gave Stafford Cripps the hint for the making of the new constitution but creating the partition of Pakistan because he didn't want Jinnah as the Prime Minister but supported the Nehru family especially Jawaharlal who was incidentally sleeping with Lady Mountbatten which enhanced his candidature and of course Gandhi's assassination.
Baghat Singh could have speculatively eliminated him to shoot to prominence because he shot to prominence after this with the Round Table Conferences especially the Second Round Table Conference held in winter featuring Gandhi in his hand woven loin cloth using two women to keep him warm while he left his real wife to instigate the Indian community because of the high Salt Tax etc. Well, Baghat Singh would have proved his mettle if tamed and given direction but when betrayed by a fellow Indian who knew the language of both sides and the intricacies surrounding it, he stood no chance. Its the game of politics you always sail on two boats until you see which sides benefits you most.
His teachings are great but would never have him as a role-model as he practised Domestic Violence too.
Do you hit your wife too??? Just because you have affairs and sidekicks around???

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author avatar Kingwell
7th Oct 2013 (#)

Another interesting read. Blessings.

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you Kingwell

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Oct 2013 (#)

I feel Bhagat Singh's ways would have led to much bloodshed as he did not have an organisational structure behind him. Had also Netaji taken command the situation could also have resulted in much bloodshed. But there could have been wheels within wheels in the way Gandhi distanced himself in this matter - siva

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you Siva. After Bhagat Singh Gandhi feared Bose and hounded him out of the Congress party.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Interesting post!

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you Fern

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