O mera rang de basanti chola mera rang de,
O mera rang de basanti chola maai rang de basanti chola…

When one hears/reads these lines, the one name that comes to everyone’s mind is that of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. On the fateful day of March 23, 1931 Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore, with fellow revolutionaries Rajguru and Sukhdev.
Such was the popularity of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev that the British Government was afraid of public outrage. In a very strategic manner, the hanging of the three was preponed. According to then SP of the Lahore Jail, V N Smith: “it was decided to act at once before the public could become aware of what had happened…At about 7pm slogans of Inquilab Zindabad were heard from inside the jail…a signal that the final curtain was about to be dropped.”Since his childhood, Bhagat Singh was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s views. As a child of 13, he would should slogans against the British and promote the Non-Cooperation Movement of Gandhi. But when Gandhi called off the movement he was disheartened. He was deeply affected by the Jalianwala Bagh massacre in Punjab. After witnessing the death of Lala Lajpat Rai at the hands of the British Police Chief Scott, Bhagat vowed revenge.
Along with fellow revolutionaries Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar and Jai Gopal (who identified Scott) Bhagat planned to kill Scott. However, in a case of mistaken identify, Gopal signaled at J P Saunders and they shot at DSP of Police Saunders instead of Scott. They went underground. Bhagat shaved off his beard and cut his hair (against the tenets of Sikhism) to escape the police and left Lahore.Later, Bhagat Singh and Batukehswar Dutt (B K Dutt) were sentenced to ‘transportation of life’ for bombing the Assembly in 1929. The British Government came to know of his involvement in the Saunders’ murder case, and nabbed Rajguru and Sukhdev also. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were prosecuted for the murder charges and were given life sentence and were hanged on March 23, 1931.

Bhagat Singh was an outstanding revolutionary and martyr of the Indian anti-colonial movement. He represented the youth who were dissatisfied with Gandhian politics and groped for revolutionary alternatives. Bhagat Singh studied the European revolutionary movement and was attracted to anarchism and communism. He became a confirmed atheist, socialist and communist.

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